Outshine the Dark

A story of hope in the everyday, via @lizzylit

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.)

kids in grocery stores via @lizzylit

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.

At home.

At work.

In coffee shops.

On playgrounds.

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

Seeing the good in the world via @lizzylit

If you enjoyed this story, you might also like:

When Kids Know God Better than We Do

Keep Dancing

On Pinkeye, Lice, and Love

One Day, Somehow (A Promise for a Grieving Friend)

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Author: Elizabeth Laing Thompson VIEW ALL AUTHORS POSTS

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.


  • Vivien April 5, 2016 at 9:58 am

    This story warmed my heart. It simply inspires me and reminds me to slow down and think of ways to be kind and generous and let our light shine. Too many times (especially in a grocery store) I find myself being busy and only thinking of this list in my hand that I have to accomplish. Recently, I was checking out at the grocery store, and someone randomly bought me a bouquet of tulips, put it in my cart and said “Happy Spring”, smiled and walked out. That just brightened my day and taught me to slow down, and remember to pass random acts of kindness and love to others.

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson April 5, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Oh what a wonderful moment! I absolutely love that story! I want to be a person who spreads joy and kindness like that!

  • Geri Laing April 5, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Beautiful!! Thank you!

  • Jessica April 6, 2016 at 4:15 am

    That was refreshing to read! Thank you for sharing!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson April 6, 2016 at 11:13 am

      The scene was refreshing to watch, too, ha! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed!

  • Christine Carter April 6, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Oh what a beautiful story!! I am sharing this one on my page. Thank you for reminding us that there truly is light in this world. I am so grateful for the many lighthouses that keep flickering in the darkness. <3

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson April 6, 2016 at 11:31 am

      Thank you so much, Chris! <3

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