“What can I do?” She asked me.
“I don’t know,” I replied.
It was the simple truth. I had no idea what she could do.
But just asking was enough.
How many times have you felt helpless and lost when confronted with a friend or perfect stranger who is obviously struggling with something in their life.
I went through a divorce and many of my friends stopped calling me. In some instances they saw me approaching at the mall or on the street and they went the other way.
When cancer entered our lives both times, people we expected to hear from never called.
One woman told me that when her husband was dying his best friend and best man at their wedding never stopped by to see him.
“I don’t know what to say.”
That’s usually the reason for doing nothing and in their minds it’s justified. So, on black Friday when Marianne and I went shopping, we stopped for breakfast about half way through. As expected, the restaurant was packed, the service a bit slow and checkout slower.
I had just gotten in line when my phone rang. It was Keith. His voice still reflecting the pain of the news the day before, he said, “It’s official. We just got back from the doctor’s office and the test confirmed that we will not be having a baby.”
Although the news already took its toll on me, hearing it again, hearing him again, made it fresh and cutting.
“Okay, buddy. We’ll see you later,” I said. “I love you!”
Now, try and convince me that God didn’t plan this.
Just then I stepped up to the register and the clerk began to ring up our check and a few other items we wanted.
“Oh, no!” She said. “It shut off. I lost everything.”
The computer failed and shut down.
She nervously looked around for help. She asked the woman next to her, and she called for the manager while trying desperately not to look upset.
It didn’t work. She looked up and said, “This had to happen just when I stopped crying. This man got me so angry.”
Then she began to cry again.
I assured her that everything was okay.
“I’m in no hurry to get back out there shopping. Take your time. These things happen.”
“Sorry you have to wait. “What can I do?” She asked.
“You’re doing it,” I said.
The people behind me weren’t so understanding.
“What’s wrong?” A woman asked the man nearby.
“She doesn’t know what she’s doing!” He replied. Immediately I turned and said, “You’re wrong. She knows perfectly well what she’s doing. The computer failed. She didn’t.”
I turned back and she was smiling.
“I’m so glad I had you when this happened,” she said softly.
After a few minutes everything was up and running. She totaled the sale, I handed her money and as she began to give me my change I reached out with both hands and held hers.
She appeared slightly startled as she looked up at me.
“Thanks, you did a great job. I hope things get better.”
Her eyes welled with tears as she whispered “Thank you.”
“What can I do?” The timing was perfect. I was struggling with my own issues and God gave me the perfect chance to touch someone else who was struggling, too.
Someone is in pain and hurting today. Someone’s marriage is falling apart. Someone just found out they have cancer. Someone is dying. “What can I do?” Stop and ask them that. It’s a start.
Bob Perks [email protected]