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“It’s okay, Miss Anne.” The pharmacist—Lynn, according to her name tag—spoke calmly to her current customer as she glanced an apology to me. The senior citizen in front of me was digging through her purse, displacing half-used tissues, loose change, and cough drops to find her coupons. It soon became clear that Miss Anne was not only having a hard time finding her coupons; she was also unsure of her prescription benefits.
I smiled my understanding to Lynn even though I didn’t feel very kind at the moment. I was quite grumpy for being forced to show up in person to submit my prescription at my neighborhood pharmacy. Oh, the injustice!
As Lynn patiently explained copays and deductibles, my frustration waned. I understood what it meant to be shuffled from doctor to doctor for a diagnosis, how it felt to try drug after drug with no real relief, and how confusing everything insurance-related could be. Then Miss Anne said something that caught my attention.
“I don’t mean to be trouble. It’s just. . .three dollars is a lot of money.”
It’s been a while, but I clearly remembered crying one day when I dropped my son off at daycare and was asked for ten dollars for a field trip they were taking. It is true that everything’s relative. I know what it’s like to have a few dollars matter.
So by the time Miss Anne was squared away and moved to wander the aisles to wait for her prescription, my empathy had kicked in. I turned in my order and asked for a call when it was ready. On my way out, the gift card rack caught my eye and I obeyed the nudging to do something for Miss Anne. I loaded a pharmacy card with forty dollars and took it back to the “drop off prescription” window.
“Do you have a way to give this to Miss Anne when her order is ready?”
It took a moment for Lynn to comprehend what I was doing. When she did, her face softened. She told me that she could and that it was very kind of me.
“I remember what it’s like for three dollars to be a lot of money,” I explained with a smile as I left.
Our Bible study group had been talking a lot about obeying nudges from the Holy Spirit to help others. We shared times when we did this without hesitation. Other times we had ignored the call because of fear, laziness, or selfishness. Unanimously, we agreed that it was the times we failed to help that caused regret. The decision to help was never regretted even if it resulted in more inconvenience, time, or money than we originally imagined.
This day, I had obeyed. I was happy for Miss Anne. I was grateful that I had enough money to easily give and that I was able to give anonymously.
The automated service called to let me know my order was ready about fifteen minutes after I got home. When I got to the pickup window, there was one lady waiting. A small pile of merchandise lay on the counter beside her. After she received her prescription, she left. I was about to ask if she had forgotten her merchandise when Miss Anne came from behind me with a few more items to add to the pile.
She was joyous as she added the small container of Oil of Olay to the items on the counter and began tearing coupons from the in-store flyer. “I know it’s expensive,” she sheepishly explained to Rob, the pharmacist helping her checkout. “But I haven’t had any in so long and it really helps my skin. Oh my, I just can’t believe someone would do this for me.”
Rob was grinning broadly because Miss Anne’s glee was contagious. Lynn was giggling from the other end of the counter. Even the people behind me in line who had no idea what was happening were smiling. Miss Anne barely breathed between praises for the gift and questions to Rob. “This is just the most wonderful thing. Can I pay for my medicine with that, too? I can? That’s wonderful. Who would do such a thing? God bless them whoever they are.”
So many thoughts were going through my head as my heart rejoiced for this sweet lady. Part of me wanted to reveal my identity so I could give her a hug, but I didn’t want to take any glory. She was already giving that to God, where it belonged.
Rob told her she had money left on her card that she could come back and use anytime. She was bouncing around like child on a sugar high. “Really? I just can’t believe this. Thank you Jesus! God bless whoever blessed me like this.”
I smiled to her as she talked her way out of the door with her precious bulging plastic bags. God had blessed me. . .greatly. Allowing me to see her joy for what I thought was a small gift humbled me and lifted my spirit.
This has been a difficult blog to write because I really do not want to be commended for obeying an inspiration. Please don’t tell me what a good person I am. When I’m honest enough to write about my less-than-worthy moments, you’ll understand. Tell me, instead, about a time when you helped someone anonymously or when you received an unexpected gift that raised your spirit or saved your day.
Opportunities to help surround you every time you leave your home. Most of the time, we don’t even have to look for them. We simply have to resist averting our eyes. Today, tomorrow, this week, obey that nudge to do something to help someone who can’t do anything to help you in return. I believe those nudges come from God. When we obey, it gives Him glory. We don’t always get to see the result of our actions. When we do, it’s priceless.