Outshine the Dark
Images courtesy of Pixabay.
I was third in line at Sam’s Club behind two other women, and the line was taking even longer than the usual inch-forward-one-decade-at-a-time pace. At first I was preoccupied, trying to keep my two-year-old from wreaking havoc while we waited. (She likes to peakaboo dance on the boiled peanuts near the registers. Boiled peanuts, you ask? A glorious Southern food, though you should never buy it canned—only from roadside stands, or at football games.)
At last I realized the reason for the delay: the customer attempting to pay for her groceries was having trouble with her card. Trouble of the no-money-in-the-bank-account kind. She didn’t speak much English, so the embarrassed cashier was having difficulty explaining the problem.
And that’s when it happened.
The woman in front of me waved to the cashier and mouthed, “I got it. Take my card.” And just like that, she handed her card to the astonished cashier and paid for the other woman’s groceries.
At the end of it all, I couldn’t decide who was smiling bigger—the woman who received an unexpected gift from a stranger, the woman with the heart of gold, or the woman behind them, watching the scene unfold.
I know the world is full of heartache and darkness, but there’s light, too. Kindness. Generosity. Sacrifice. And it’s all around us, if only we take time to see.
In coffee shops.
In grocery store lines.
As Dostoyevsky wrote, “The darker the night, the brighter the stars. The deeper the grief, the closer is God.” I’m not blind to the evil in the world, but I choose to keep my eyes on the stars, the people bright shining . . . and the One who put them there. Won’t you join me?
In him was light, and that light was the life of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. –John 1:4
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Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.