There was a smile on my face and a spirit in my heart. All the lights seemed to lined up perfectly to the full parking lot. I sighed a little at the overflow of cars, and I smiled at the Valet as the thought crossed my mind, but then I laughed it off after considering to valet for groceries. Non-sense.
I drove around a little more remembering the days in Tallahassee. You'd spot someone walking through the parking garage doors and stalk them like a Black Friday Sale. You'd drive about 1 MPH on the tip of their heels telling the rest of the drivers, "This one is mine, back off."
And there it was, a new found friend loading their groceries and they were gifting me their spot. On went my turn signal and I waited.
Cohban and I were making small talk as I unloaded my little out of the car. He was determined to be my helper, and I was determined to keep him interested. Every mom knows the joys in grocery shopping immediately after church and during nap time. But food has got to be bought and the kids have got to go for the ride.
As we walked closer to the doors of Trader Joes a mother and her daughter were caught in the corner of my eye. They walked out of the doors as we walked in and my instincts told me to look back at them once again. She looked panicked. I took a few more steps forward and then looked back again. At that moment she was on the phone with tears streaming down her face. "Toby!" her daughter yelled. "Toby, where are you!!" she screeched a little louder than the first time.
My heart sunk, and little did I know the sermon I just listened to was being unfolded right before my eyes.
How love looks. Love starts with looking. Then love feels. Then love acts.
There have been many times where I've looked but walked away. I've seen the signs of the one's on the side of the road and drove away. I've seen the dog running along the road and kept driving. I've seen a mom hurt and I've shut down because the thought of "going there" was too much for me in that moment.
In this moment, I couldn't even think of looking away. I was already hurting with her.
"My son is 8 years old, and he was sitting outside the doors reading a book."
"I can't find my son."
"He's wearing blue shorts and Mickey Flip Flops."
I began to search. My eyes moved all around the store and then to the road. If you live in Winter Park you know that 1792 is a busy street, and the corner where Trader Joes is not the greatest to lose your 8-year-old son. It took everything not to cry with her.
Immediately the store went into shut down mode and they blocked off all entrances as everyone sprinted in different directions. One clerk ran to the main road searching for him. A few others immediately ran to the lake that the store just so conveniently rested along. [No, not the lake- I thought.]
And then I remembered the Valet guy that I already had seen. I told them I'd go see if he had seen him outside. Fail. He had no idea but promised to keep an eye out.
"Mommy, can we just go shopping now?" Cohban asked.
"Buddy, no honey, we have to help this lady find her son. I just can't even imagine."
I paced back and forth for a moment. I tend to do this in moments of emergency. [What can I do? What can I do?- I thought over and over again.]
And then it came in all so clearly. Pray.
I couldn't think of much in that moment, and the girls in my bible study would be proud because we just learned about the 3-word prayers, and in this moment all I could think of was 2 words.
I ran back into the store and watched the chaos unfold. I was shaking for her. I was breaking for her. My heart literally ached.
"He's inside!" a clerk yelled.
I've never seen someone run as fast as she did in that moment.
"Mommy, can we just go shopping now?" Cohban asked again.
It literally took me ten minutes to re-gather my thoughts.
Three Winter Park Police came in to confirm all was good and hung out for a few moments later.
How love looks. Love looks, feels, and then acts.
It starts with looking at those around you, and I don't just mean glance. Actually look. Try to see beneath the surface. I promise you there's something there worth looking at.
We live fast paced lives. We get from point A to point B, check off our lists, send a quick text, make plans, cancel plans, sign up for meal trains, drop off our meals and then move on to our next to-do. When did we lose the meaning behind actually pausing to look?
Through my experience, I've been learning about the looking. I'm no pro at it because there are days that I shut down and beg God for someone to just look at me. We're all human right?
But maybe, just maybe if we start with looking at those around us, the void will be filled. We'll find the joy in looking vs. being looked at.
And then once you see beneath the surface you're destined to have compassion. I mean how could you not? Every single person has a story, and with Christ-like hearts, we're created to just break in the moment with the person who is feeling broken. We can feel their pain and live in that moment with them so they don't have to feel alone.
Have you ever pictured Jesus sitting next to you in a dark moment, and He's just sitting there not giving you a lecture, or turning his back on you, He's just sitting and hurting with you so that you don't have to feel alone.
Finally, love acts. As Zach mentioned in our sermon at Summit, there are times that we feel like we don't have much to give. Our bank accounts are low so we can't share our cash with those we drive by all too often, our schedules are too full to actually sit and hear someone talk, or groceries have got to be bought, right?
In these moments we ask, "What can I do?" And Jesus says, "What do you got?"
Even if all you have is a two word prayer, it's enough. It's more than enough.
Do you know someone that needs to be looked at? Do you know someone who needs to feel like they're not alone in their brokenness? What do you got?