"Go dancing tonight," the doctor told me yesterday afternoon at the end of my appointment. Yes, he wanted some more tests, but in general he agrees with me that I have been blessed with better health than my attention to taking care of myself deserves. So, I went dancing. Well, not literally dancing, but the effect was the same.
Donnie and I decided to grab a Subway sandwich and take it back home to San Ignatio (which has no fast food joints). We had some new movies from Netflix that had arrived in the mail and decided that after a hard week we deserved a relaxing evening. And that is just what we did -- after taking care of one of God's children.
When we arrived at Subway, we encountered a girl in her early twenties who asked us for a dollar. Well, being a mother, I have to know some things from kids in their twenties.
"What do you need it for?" I asked.
"Food," she replied.
Ah, in that case, I had a better solution that a dollar bill. I handed her one of my $10 McDonald cards. She could buy a couple meals with that. She thanked me and seemed sincere about it. Hollister has a 22% unemployment rate right now, so there are many hungry people looking for help.
AS Donnie and I stood in line, we had second thoughts. McDonald's was on the other side of town, and here we were at a place selling FOOD. For heaven's sake, we could buy her a meal on the spot and not make her trek somewhere else. Then she would have the card for a meal the next day.
So, I went back outside to talk to the young lady. She had started to walk off, ostensibly to go to McDonald's. "Excuse me," I called after her. "What's your name?"
She approached me. "Mary," she answered. Now there's a name that makes you think twice!
"Well, Mary, would you let us buy you a meal?" I asked.
She agreed with a wide smile, and in we went. We talked a little about the kinds of sandwiches we wanted while waiting in line, and she seemed a little awkward. That made sense, I thought. She did not know us. However, the real reason soon came to light.
"I don't know how to ask this," she started, then continued. "I feel guilty about accepting a meal for myself and then going home to my family who are also hungry. I was trying to collect money to buy food for them all. Could I get something for them, too?"
"How many of them are there?" I asked.
"Six," she responded. "Two children, my mother, my sister, and my brother-in-law, besides me."
"Okay," I told her. "We can manage that." Of course, we could manage that. I had God's credit card with me. ( I had originally set up a $250 credit card to carry with me for those times I ran into people needing help when I was without cash. The credit line on that account has been raised without my request to $500, then to $750, then to $4500. Yikes! I wonder if God has a big spending request pending for me. Not to worry; every time I have used the card for someone God has put in my path, within a month the amount of money needed to pay off the card has dropped into my lap. I run a zero balance on it.) So, here we were, God's credit card where it always is -- in my pocket, and a young lady in need of six meals.
Mary excused herself briefly to use the bathroom. The lady in front of us in line had overheard everything and suggested that we save money by getting six footlongs that were cut in half. That way it would only be $15 and would still be enough for six people. I considered it briefly and decided to leave that decision to God. It was, after all, His credit card.
Mary came back just in time to order. She immediately asked for four footlongs and two children's meals. As she darted back and forth between the person handling the bread and meat and the person handling the toppings, I remembered so many times doing the same thing with our kids. Sometimes, I had ordered as many as ten, depending upon who was home at the time. It was always quite an experience for the sandwich makers when my family came to dinner or I stopped by to bring them home. I got involved in the information passing to the sandwich makers, helping Mary. What joy! What fun! It was just like the old days, and for a brief few minutes, through Mary, it was like being back with my kids in younger years.
Finally done, we packed up all the sandwiches, chips, drinks, and headed out the door. "How far do you have to walk?" I asked Mary, eyeing her multiple bags.
"Oh, I live nearby," she said. "Near the dollar store."
"That's more than a mile away!" I protested. "We will drive you."
So, we drove her there, talking along the way about her family, current situation, boyfriend -- and the, yikes, fact that she might be pregnant.
"Okay," Donnie, now the dad again, brought up. "How are you going to feed the baby?"
"Well, if I am pregnant, my boyfriend has agreed to pay for the baby and get married. He has a job."
That seems like a backward way to do things, but I guess the modern days are different from the days in which we grew up. Nonetheless, both Donnie and I slipped right back into the parent role, discussing the implications of these kinds of things. She seemed to accept that even though we are not her parents. Somehow, it just all seemed so natural.
All too soon, we arrived and let her out. She started to walk away, then set down her bags and came back to me, as I was about to get back into the car after helping her with the bags. She reached out and gave me a big hug and smile. "Thanks," she said. And that was it.
Yesterday, I followed the doctor's orders. I went dancing -- but not in the literal sense.
4 days ago