by Maria Mize
An encounter I'll not soon forget.
A BITTER OLD WOMAN
bristling with hatred
While out on my evening walk, I passed a woman looking weary and worn, clutching her purse in one hand and a sack of groceries in the other --- a sad rendition of Lady Justice. The scene brought to mind another time when I, along with my eleven-year-old, struggled to walk home lugging several bags of groceries. Though our car was out of commission, we needed food.
With empathy for this stranger, in kindness I said, “It’s a lot heavier on the way home, isn’t it?”
She was silent, “Maybe she didn’t hear me,” I thought as I continued on. I have a soft voice. People are hard of hearing.
Then she turned in anger, “How would you know?”
With the wind knocked out of me, I turned toward her.
“I’ve carried heavy bags before.”
More belligerently she smirked, “Yeah, I bet a whole hell-of-a-lot.”
Like a hot iron… a momentary sizzling with lingering pain.
As I continued on, I weighed her words in light of my week, financial issues --- reflections urging a suicidal resolution. We really cannot fathom what someone is or has gone through when we look at them.
Even those who drive luxury cars and live in million-dollar homes have problems. A wealthy couple I know recently lost their nine-year-old grandson to cancer. How dare we judge someone simply by what we see?
Now I remember a bitter old woman --- probably not much older than me. I won't forget what I learned from my brief encounter with her.
I'm rejuvenated and comforted as His Word echoes through my mind:
Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. ~~Matthew 11:28 (KJV) [emphasis added]