Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

My son's first school production. He was very excited and had been practicing 'Santa Claus is Coming To Town' for weeks. The day had finally come!

Off my son eagerly went on his school bus to school and I hurriedly packed up child #2 and away we went. The snow was coming down at a pretty good clip, and knowing that there isn't much parking at the school, I gave myself 45 - 45 minutes. This I thought was a very generous amount of time.
As I drove down the main road, it didn't take long to notice that these 'flurries' were already accumulating and making for very slick roads. Driving was slow going, but not too bad. I got to the end of the school road, and it was at a stand still! Here is where the fun began! (please note the sarcasm)
There was no parking at the school so I turned down a side street. It was absolute grid lock! Long story short, I had succumb to tears as realization hit that my son's class would be starting their performance any moment. I had promised him I'd be there!! I cried out "God, please let me at least get off this street!". It was no sooner out of my mouth, than a man came out of his home and waved to me (I was one of a stream of cars) and asked if I'd like to park in his drive way. "Oh my goodness, yes, please!!" (Kindness #1)

We parked and off I ran with younger child in stroller through the slushy streets. We finally made it into the building, only to see my son's class marching back to their classroom as their part of the 'Winter Concert' was done....
Soaking wet with a bright red nose, I stood dejected in the hall... The assistant teacher in his classroom very kindly invited me back to class where they put on a private concert just for me! I have it all on video! (Kindness #2)

After the kids did their songs for me, I headed back out into the messy weather and absolute mayhem in the streets (at this point, the police and fire departments had now arrived and are shaking their heads) to go back to the car. I get there to find another car parked behind me (I really don't mind at all - the owners of the home were so kind to let me park there to begin with!!). The man comes out (who I now know is named Tom) and invites us to come in and wait since the woman parked behind us has a child in a higher grade and will therefore be a while longer. I thanked him but declined as I could see that the little man was tired, and I thought he may snooze in his car seat.

After we read a book or two, had a snack of raisins and watched the kids on video, there was a knock on my window. It was the lady who lives in the home, who came out to ask if we'd like to come in and have some coffee and a snack (can you believe this - how amazing this couple is!! - her name I discover, is Pam). Again we declined as we knew it wouldn't be much longer. (I was right, we were out a couple of minutes later).

As we pull out, I spot a friend and say a quick 'hello'. She tells me that my back tire is almost flat. 'Excellent', I say to myself. Off I go to find an air pump.
Thankfully the first service station I come to has a pump, and hey, it's free. Not sure it's working. Ask a gentleman who is pumping his gas who tells me to check inside. The clerk assures me it is working but gives me a tip on using that particular pump. Go back out... can't get the cover off of my tire.... Very kind man I had asked about the pump working, comes over, takes the cap off, pumps the air for me and then wishes me a 'Happy Holiday'. (Kindness #3)

After this, I feel overcome. It has actually been a pretty rotten morning.. but with every challenge/disappointment, I had been met with a kind stranger (or not so strange) to help. This Christmas season had been riddled with challenges for us. Yet I never let it overtake me, as we encountered each hurdle, God was there with a help, an unexpected blessing or a sense of peace that washed over me.
Yet another reminder.. Although this season can completely knock us on our butts with stress, over packed schedules, financial pressures and the like - The real focus on this holiday needs to be remembering the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ! He is the ultimate gift!!! Clinging to Him and being thankful for His coming to our rescue should never get lost in the gift wrap, or put on the back burner because we can't fit Him in our schedule amongst the Christmas parties... He should come first, and be in everything we do!!
Thank you Jesus for coming to my rescue - yet again!!!

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