Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Mother’s Day Special: In Search of Faith

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I ran into Walgreens, frazzled. The day before,  I’d picked up my older daughter and a thousand pounds of dorm room detritus. In a couple of hours, I was leaving to catch a flight to the other daughter’s school. Both daughters – thriving, mostly – nonetheless worried me to death most of the time. I’d just taken the dog to the kennel and was making a quick stop at the drug store before dashing home to finish packing.

At the register, all rung up, I found that I had a stack of things waiting to be paid for – and no wallet. What? I had probably left it in my other purse.

I tried to pay with my phone. I’d seen my husband pay with his phone at Walgreens before and thought maybe I had Apple Pay set up on my phone as well. I couldn’t figure it out, nor could the cashier, and the line grew longer behind me. The cashier asked if she should call the manager.

I felt close to tears for no good reason. “Would you please hold these things for me?” I asked her. “I’ll just run home and get my wallet and come back. I’m leaving for the airport and changed purses and didn’t get my wallet in this one – how stupid of me!” I could have left the things, but they were for the daughter at home, and I had told her that I would get them  before I left town.

A young mom stood in line behind me. Her 3 or 4 year old daughter played around her cart. “Let me get those for you,” she said.

What?

“Just let me get them for you. You’ve got to get to the airport,” she said.

I was stunned. “I can’t let you do that – it’s too much -“

“I can do it. You do it for someone else another time.”

“It’s too much, really it’s too much – “

“It’s not too much. Let me do this for you.”

I was perhaps shedding a tear or two at this point – from her kindness. I was in such a rush, so tired and anxious, and she was so kind.

“I have three kids, I’m busy all the time, I know what it’s like to run around,” she said, comforting me.

In my car, I dug through the glove box and the storage area between the front seats. I came up with about half of what she had spent, found her in the parking lot, and tried to press some cash into her hand.

“No,” she said. “It’s a God thing. I wanted to do it for you. The world would be a better place if people would take care of each other a little more. Do it for someone else.”

Which made me start to cry again.

“What’s your name?” I managed to ask her.

“Faith —- ,” she told me. I didn’t quite catch her last name.

What I did catch? A certain spirit.

There are many ways to be a good Christian (or Muslim, or Jew, or agnostic) in the world. She reminded me of one of them.

There are many ways to be a good mother in the world. She reminded me of one of them. I want to be like Faith – someone who walks into a Walgreens and mothers someone who – at that moment – really needs it.

*      *      *

Happy Mother’s Day, Faith!  Seegals? Seegers? Nashville friends, please forward this post if you think you know her.

And: Happy Mother’s Day to my own dear mother and sister and Bacon friends!

Pepper at rest. May you get a nap today if you need one!

 

58 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful message!

  2. Happy Mother’s Day. Thanks for a wonderful message!

  3. Beautiful !
    Tad

  4. ❤️❤️❤️

  5. Jennifer,you’ve already given back that kindness a thousand times over with the generosity of your writing. Happy Mother’s Day to you too, Bacon friend.

  6. I love this story, Jennifer. It reminds us all how much of an impact we can have by offering a simple act of kindness to a stranger.

  7. What a strong message to share for Mother’s Day—brought a tear to my eye! Thank you, Jennifer.

  8. Wonderful post & I am forwarding to a very familiar sounding Faith that I know! Happy Mother’s Day!

  9. Beautiful message from a beautiful friend. Thank you, sweet Jennifer, and Happy Mother’s Day!

  10. This makes me miss the H.G Hill stores so much more with this story. You could’ve gone on your trip and come back to pay a week later!

  11. At the end of the day, it is the small gestures that make our world a better place. Letting someone in on a busy street, talking to the guy selling the Contributor or sending a friend a quick text to say that you are thinking of them. Thanks so much Jennifer for sharing this story. Happy Mother’s Day to all.

    • Charity takes so many forms, charity and love. And the small gestures either knit us together, or don’t. Thank you so much for being in touch, Elizabeth!! I love hearing from you!! Xoxo

  12. Reading your FAITH story with morning coffee gave me pause… I’m thankful for the many angels appearing when we need them!

  13. Lovely message my dear friend. Grace is a powerful gift that always comes unexpectedly & makes one feel confused but then most grateful. Giving grace is what motherhood is at its core..receiving it is a gift to savor. Happy Mother’s Day to you my dear friend ❤️

    • Loved this post immensely, Jennifer. In addition to the beautiful, relatable story you told, it reminded me of how we each make choices all the time. If we could only lead with kindness more often….

    • It is strange how grace can be confusing, and how it can be hard to receive. Yes grace is the core of motherhood – beautifully said, dear friend. Xoxo

  14. Thank you for sharing this uplifting story, Jennifer. Such a great way to start this day!

  15. This is a wonderful story. Have you identified the mystery Faith yet? Happy Mother’s Day.

  16. In tears…thank you for another lovely post, Jennifer. And much love and peace to you this Mothers Day.

  17. Love this story! Thank you for sharing it. Here is one of my own….my daughter had been struggling. We were trying to make it to some practice, probably soccer. She fell apart. I fell into a spiral of shame about not being able to get my daughter to her practice. And then I just took a deep breath and realized that what she needed in this moment was just to have some nourishing food and not be forced to do what she wasn’t able to do in that moment. So we drove to Chik-fil-a (well, let’s say comforting more than nourishing food!) and made it through the double drive-through in the exact placement that we landed in. As I pulled up to pay, the surprised employee said, “the customer in front of you wanted to pay for your food and asked me to give you this $50 gift card.” I was stunned and asked if this happens very often. He said he had never seen it happen. Although I didn’t “need” the financial support, I honored receiving the gift by paying for our food with it, and then asked him to pay it forward to the next customer. I told my daughter that it felt like a God moment, magic from the Universe that I had made the “right” Mommy decision in that moment. Happy Mother’s Day!

  18. Beautiful and inspirational faith practice!
    How much nicer the world would be if we all practiced random acts of kindness.

  19. Jen, this made my day! A perfect story for the truth of our world: there are good and loving people everywhere, instruments of One who loves us always. Amen!

  20. Love this message Jennifer!

  21. Jennifer,
    You are one of the most giving-est people in Nashville! I am so glad that someone was there to help carry your burden for you. What a delight that her name is Faith.
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  22. Thank you Jennifer, this is such an inspiring story that is so needed these days.. how much better would the world be if we all shared a little more grace with our neighbors and practices ced random acts of kindness as a rule of thumb. Xo

  23. Thank you for sharing this kind story with all of us- brought a tear to my eye and food for thought in reflecting on how we live! Happy Mother’s Day!

  24. Someone asked me what my “favorite store” in Nashville is and I said Walgreen’s…mainly because it’s where I shop the most. This was such a refreshing reminder to be aware of others and to remember that you don’t always know what someone is going through and that they might just need a break – a kind word, a place in line ahead of you, change for their coffee. Faith is inspirational! I hope I bump in to her one day at Walgreens!

    • Laughing! You must be in the Walgreens as much as I am, Elizabeth!! I’m shocked that we haven’t seen each other there! Thank you so much for being in touch, that is also an encouragement. Xoxo

  25. So beautiful Jennifer!!! Thank you for sharing and I hope you had a very Happy Mother’s Day!!!

    • Hello, Claire! I am delighted to hear from you! Mother’s Day was lovely. Come on back to Nashville for a visit before too long! The beautiful bluebird you gave me greets me each morning in the kitchen window. Xoxo

  26. Thank you, Jennifer.

    When I was in the throes of chemo, bald, and often flustered and confused, things like this happened to me all the time–at Trader Joe’s when my card didn’t work, at the Post Office when I had mistakenly brought a package that needed to go the UPS, at Kroger when I was crying in line inexplicably, at the nail salon for no reason at all. I would never wish cancer on any soul, but I wish everyone could feel, and everyone could bestow, the kindness that I felt every day from strangers as I just tried to get through Ordinary Life. Because everyone needs it sometimes; everyone has moments where it just gets to be too much–not just the bald girls crying in line at Kroger.

    • Dear Keltie – thank you so much for sharing this. I do believe we are surrounded with love and goodness in addition to everything else. I so hope I can be one of the people spreading light and love. Your story encourages me (as did Faith’s actions) – xoxo

  27. How beautiful and kind. May we all be sensitive and spread love and help each other. Jennifer, this is so special.

  28. J, love your blog. Your kind words made my day. I had a friend forward this to me on Mother’s day . It brought me so much joy to give, and it definitely was a God thing. Hope to see you soon out and about in Nashville.

    • Dearest Faith – I am so happy to hear from you! So many people have asked me if I have “found” you! I will keep sharing your love and generosity in every way I can. And I also hope our paths will cross again soon at the Walgreens or otherwise… I stop in there a lot, and I bet you do, too!! Xoxo

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