Maybe, it’s a disease or a disorder….either way- I cannot pass a bookstore without going in. I can’t go into a bookstore without buying a book. (or maybe 5…)
So- yesterday, that’s what I did. I went in to the bookstore as I passed it on my way to the salon, at the mall. And, since I had to pass the bookstore yet again, on the way out of the mall.. I went in again. Miraculously the first time I left with nothing. I was searching for a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Book for Noah.. (Yes, I use my children as an excuse to book-shop- who doesn’t?) and couldn’t find one. When I returned, I did and then…somehow, I accidently ended up in the (woefully stocked) “Religious” book section. (Funny how that happens, isn’t it?)
As I paced the aisle, staring at the shelves trying to make more books (to choose from) appear, a voice caught my attention: “Just let me know if you need me to move.” I looked up, to see long straight, blonde hair framing a smiling face. “Oh, I’m just wandering- no need to move.” I replied. “You’re in a good aisle to wander.” She said. I agreed.
She picked up a book and asked me if I’d read it, and what I’d thought. I had, and well- let’s just say it’s not among my favorites. I was torn how to respond.. and then just went with the truth: “Well- I kind of feel like all of his books are the same.. read one and you’ve pretty much read them all.” I immediately regretted what I’d said. What if she loved that author and I offended her?
I held my breath and waited for her to respond… ready with an apology if necessary…. (I tend to speak my mind- and so, I need to have apologies ready- at all times…) “Oh- I read another book by his wife and was wondering if this one was like a pre-quel or something. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.” I let out my breath. Whew. one less offense to worry about. “No, I think they cover a lot of this in that book- it might be redundant.” “Good- I really want this other book I heard about, but I can’t remember the name…”
We talked for a few minutes, trying to figure out the title. We searched the shelves… nothing. I pulled out my iphone and googled the info she had about the book… Princess something or other…(FYI: there are a LOT of Princess something or other books on the market- just sayin.) we found the title, but, it wasn’t at that store. Her smile faded. “I went to a conference this weekend and I really want this book- they quoted it and it really touched me….” “I’d go across the street, to Family Christian.. I know they have it over there…”
Her head drooped just a bit. “I have a gift card for this store.”
Oh, that I get. Shopping on a gift card and wishing that the thing you REALLY want would magically appear… and fit your giftcard budget. Been there. Done that.
Which is when I decided to take a risk and (maybe) look crazy at the bookstore. (It wouldn’t be the first time…)
“Ok, so this may sound weird… but, I’d really like to bless you (yes, I actually said: “bless you.” I mean, who says that? Well..apparently- me.) with that book… is it ok if I give you some cash so you can go to Family Christian and pick it up?” I held my breath. I waited to see if I’d offended her… Had I assumed too much? I mean this chick could have been loaded and was just trying to dump that giftcard before it expired…. what had I done?
Tears started to well up in her eyes. She blinked them away. “Really? You’d do that? You don’t have. to…..” I didn’t wait- that was all I needed.. I slipped a $20 out of my purse and into her hand. We hugged. (I wondered what the heck the college kid looking at manga at the end of the aisle was thinking..) She took it graciously and with a big smile. Then she looked at a book on the shelf… then at me… Have you read this one? I still have that gift card….” “I did and I loved it—- get that one too!” I smiled.
I tried not to cry.
I’ve gotta say….It feels amazing when you take a little risk to look silly.. and end up in the middle of a divine appointment… used by God- to yes… “bless” another’s heart.
Tomorrow- (or maybe even today) I challenge you to open your eyes to the people around you….is there a little risk you could take? Take it! It’s more than worth it….. you’ll be glad you did.
Dear Lord- Thank you for using my weird book-store addiction to help meet the heart need of another woman. I pray that the words she finds in those pages will grow and change her and fill her with the knowledge of your love…. I pray that you’d continue to grow me and stretch me to take risks and reach out in love… even when I may look crazy… Oh.. and Lord– I also ask you to help me not use weird-irrelevant- semi- archaic words like “bless” in public…. it’s.. just weird. I love you Lord- amen.