One of the stories that really hit me was how she decided one day to buy a bunch of red balloons, because who doesn't love red balloons? One by one, she handed them out to other patients before her treatment.
She gave away joy.
While I was reading this book, I thought of a precious young woman I've never actually met, but have been praying for. Melanie (not her real name) is a friend of a friend who was brutally attacked in broad daylight and in a public park. She was raped, strangled and left for dead. Someone found her and called 911. On top of this, Melanie has been fighting cancer. She's feeling defeated and alone.
I kept thinking, "Melanie needs to read this. I'm going to give her the book. And I'm going to give her a red balloon!" I decided to go get a balloon and give my friend both the balloon and the book tomorrow at church, and she could pass them on to Melanie.
I zipped out to the party store. They were closed! What? Maybe they never opened because of the snow. Then I realized that I could get a balloon at the supermarket! But of course, there was no one in the floral department, and there were no red balloons!
Meanwhile, I spotted a yellow smiley face balloon. It was perfect! Better than the red balloon!
I grabbed the smiley face balloon and continued my
I turned around to see a young girl with special needs smiling at the smiley face.
"Balloon!" she announced.
"Yes." I smiled at her.
"Yes, it is!"
She pointed to the other balloons by the checkout. Balloons that embodied the Frozen movie.
"Yes," I said, "That's Elsa."
Her father interrupted, pushing her along. "Come on!"
"Yes! From Frozen. I see them. They're pretty too."
"Come on!" her Father urged her on. Then to me, "I'm sorry."
"Oh, no, it's okay. No need to be sorry." I said.
After all, I was supposed to be spreading joy! And that's exactly what this young girl was spreading to me.
Then I thought,
Why do people feel the need to apologize for the childlike behavior of their children with special needs? Why does anyone feel the need to apologize for their children interrupting another's space? When did we all become so introspective that we can't allow interaction from others, especially those who haven't yet learned all the "rules"? How sad.
When I got to the checkout, the girl and her family were at the checkout next to me. As I waited my turn, I felt the nudgings of the Holy Spirit. I knew what was coming.
Give her the balloon.
"What? No, God. That's Melanie's balloon."
Just a word of advice...don't ever use No and God in the same sentence.
My stomach tumbled and my heart raced. That's how I knew it was God. Sure, I could say no, but I knew from past experience that I'd feel terrible later for not having listened.
So I went back to the floral department to find another balloon, even though I knew there wasn't one. Nothing. I went back to my spot in line, and the family was still there next to me.
And there it was again.
Give her the balloon.
My turn came and the cashier rang up the balloon. While she was ringing up the other items, I said, "I just need to make a little detour. I'll be right back."
I walked over and tapped the father on the arm. When he turned around, I asked, "Is it okay if I give this balloon to your daughter?"
"Well, sure!" he replied. She turned to me and I handed her the balloon. "Here, I want you to have this because you're so happy." And I went back to my checkout next door.
She took the balloon and shoved it at her father's chest.
"I don't want it! You take it!"
Hey, you have to want it! That's Melanie's balloon and God told me to give it to you, so you have to want it!
Oh, now who was the child?
Just because God tells you to give something away doesn't mean it will always be received. Do it anyway.
The father said, "Sometimes she just gets a little shy." It was obvious that she didn't know what to do with the attention that was given her. But I smiled and said, "You take it home and later you'll enjoy it." The father and daughter both thanked me.
Meanwhile, the cashier wasn't sure what to make of it. She told me, "That was a really nice thing to do."
Did I tell her that God told me to give it to her? No. I just said, "I felt that it was something I had to do. Sometimes you just have to do that."
Well, maybe my boldness in declaring whose idea it really was will come in time.
While I was pondering all of this in the car, a song was playing. It wasn't until I turned the corner to my street that I realized what the song was saying. Have a listen to Big Daddy Weave's Love Come to Life:
I was debating whether or not to even share this because we are supposed to do things and not boast of them. My purpose is not to boast, but to encourage you to listen when God speaks. When you feel His nudging to do something that seems unusual, do it anyway. Don't hesitate, because if you wait too long, the moment may be gone. And you'll wish you had acted when you had the chance.
When we give joy, we get joy.
Now, what about this red balloon for Melanie? Well, all in God's timing. I have to trust that this trip to the grocery store wasn't ever really about Melanie's balloon.
Blessings Along the Path,
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