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Baby clothes were on sale at Target, and I couldn’t resist buying some for Delila, my two-year-old granddaughter. I enjoyed my time picking out things I thought she would like. I waited my turn in the checkout line behind an older gentleman who appeared to be in declining health. As I placed my items on the belt, I heard him tell the clerk that today was his birthday. She warmly congratulated him and started singing happy birthday to him. I joined in, as did a clerk who was walking by. The man’s countenance changed; his eyes brightened, and he smiled.

“Thank you,” he said. “I spent the day at the dialysis center.” He lifted his arm, revealing a big bandage. “You’ve made my day.”

The clerk shared some sweet words with him, and he paid and left. She began ringing up my items, talking to me as if we’d been friends for years. I was so moved by her kindness that on my way out I asked a young man at the customer service desk how I could leave a comment about a wonderful employee. I pointed in the teller’s direction. Without looking at who I was pointing at, he asked, “Do you mean Lisa?” I nodded. “She amazing, isn’t she? Everyone loves her.”

Once home, I sat on the deck and sipped lemonade, and thought about Lisa’s kindness. “God, she spoke to strangers the way I’d expect Jesus to speak to someone.”

“Lisa knows how to love,” He said. “Her heart is undefended.”

I nodded. “Yes, that’s it. Her heart is wide open.” I thought about the world today, the brutal headlines: war, mass shootings, hate, and anger.  “We need more Lisas in the world.” I paused for a moment, remembering how she had made me feel. “It was beautiful, God, the kindness of a stranger.”

“That’s the purest love there is,” He said

“Because it’s your love,” I whispered the realization.

I sat for a while in stillness, savoring the kindness of a stranger who is no longer a stranger, but rather, a gift from God.

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