This morning I made a mad dash to home depot for paint and a roller, determined to try to push the can of our kitchen remodel down the proverbial road… I pulled into the parking lot, while scanning for the perfect parking spot. In doing so, I noticed, again, the special parking spot designated in honor of veterans. I love that about Home Depot… Smiling to myself I pulled into the spot two down, left my car glancing at the sign one more time as I passed by. Out of nowhere, a little blue Toyota squealed into the space, slamming on its breaks and nearly leaving me flat as a pancake. I quickly gave the 20 something a “really?” glance and continued to the door. Seconds pasted before I heard said 20-year-old yell to me, “I have a right to park there, you know.” In which I stopped and turned to look at him. I thanked him, genuinely for his service, and shared that my two oldest have earned that right too… however, I added, I doubt that they would run over their mother to get there, in which he looked down and we entered the store each going our own way.
With my paint can in hand, now in search of “frog tape”, I felt a tap on my shoulder…. “ma’am” I heard a voice say, as I turned around it was my twenty-something veteran friend….”I am glad that our still here,” he began, “I wanted to apologize for almost running you down earlier.” As my new friend and I continued to visit, he shared, “my mom died while I was deployed… of cancer.. I didn’t know she was even sick, I am having some issues… anger issues, even those that love me, don’t want to be around me. I know I am not o.k. ” My heart stopped. I couldn’t help but to notice that this kid was younger than even my own two sons that have come home from “seeing the world.” I asked if I could pray with him.. he declined. I asked him if he was talking to anyone, and he said no, that he was finding his solace in building things… hence his trip to the home depot …… I left him my cell number, and an invitation to help him find a pastor to talk to if he ever felt that he was ready. Now through the check out line… we said our good-byes… as I walked away, I heard him yell out again, “thanks for the talk.”
On my way home, my mind couldn’t shift off this kid. I heard myself ask out loud, WHY? Why did he have to lose so big while serving so selflessly? HOW? How was he going to get the help he needed? Why was he put into my path today…. ???
Often times there are questions in which answers may never come. As I got closer to home, I remembered the C.S Lewis Quote that I have quoted more times than I can remember… “Hardships often prepare Ordinary people for an extra ordinary destiny.”
I don’t know why God put this guy in my path today, but I choose to believe it is because he needed a prayer warrior…. and quit possibly even just a “mom” to remind him that he isn’t invisible. Maybe, it was to remind me that “everyone has a story that is worth knowing.” Whatever the case.. this morning was all about paint, rollers and reminders…….