Friday, March 21, 2008

A glimpse from the front line

Busy busy busy in my own little world, I almost didn’t notice the young woman as she unloaded her groceries onto my belt. It’s towards the end of my day and I’m a little tired, but I’ve decided to make the effort to make meaningful eye contact with each person I take money from. It seems only fair. When I looked up at her, I almost cried. One eye was swollen shut. She had a deep scratch on the side of her nose that should probably have been stitched and bruises on her neck and upper arm. And she had two of the most beautiful little girls I’ve ever seen with her; a toddler in the baby seat and a little one at her side. Both had thick, dark curly hair and sweet blue eyes.
“Dear Jesus,” I prayed silently, “Let me minister to this woman.”
I put on my friendliest smile and asked, “How are you doing today?”
“Fine,” she nearly whispered her answer.
“Did you find everything you were looking for today?”
“Yes,” she muttered, keeping her eyes and head turned down. Her emotions were as swollen shut as her bruised eye.
Any further efforts on my part to make conversation were thwarted with one-syllable answers and downcast, angry eyes.
She paid for her groceries with WIC checks and food stamps.
Still thinking I might start weeping for her right there in the store, I turned my attention to the toddler as I paced her groceries in the cart. “Hi, Sweetie,” I said. “Those little overalls sure look pretty on you.” The tot answered me with a cute little grin and when I turned around, her mama was smiling.
When I handed her the receipt, she finally looked up and said, “Thank you.”
I don’t know her name, but if you are a praying person, please ask God to get this family away from who ever did this to this precious mother.


Jim said...

Can do, Janell, now. That must have been really hard for you, it makes me feel so bad just read your account. We humans are so cruel for no good reason, there can't be any good reason.

I am proud for you tonight. We will pray for those kids too, they will always remember.

LaDawn said...

This breaks my heart. My prayers of strength go out to that woman. My prayers of protection go to her children. And a prayer of gratitude to you for caring so much.

Paul said...

Will do.

Happy Easter to you and your family.

Cliff said...

Yes a prayer goes out to her and the children. It's hard for me to pray when finding my shotgun also crosses my mind. NO ONE has the right to do that. I've always wondered where Dads go in these situations. Although I'm sure Dad either has never been in the picture or doesn't know about it.
Your last blog was clever. You might enjoy a previous post of mine from two years ago.

Scarlet said...

This is such a heartbreaking story, but I love how reached out to this woman and now we are, too. Prayers do wonders. I hope she pops in again (in better spirits).

Have a wonderful Easter!!

Janell said...

Jim; thanks. It tears my heart up to think that some people have been led to believe that cruelty is an element of love. I knew I could count on you to pray.

LaDawn - thanks for all your comments! I appreciate you so much.

Paul; Happy Easter to you, too. This is my favorite holiday. The most meaningful to me. The Empty Tomb means SO MUCH.

Cliff; My feeling is that the man who sired these children has not earned the right to be called "Dad." That noble title is reserved for people like you who love, respect and care for their wives and children.

Scarlet; I know our prayers will be answered, even tho we may never witness the result in this life.

On an added note, if it's okay with my new managers, I am getting a stack of business cards from my friend Melissa who is manager at a homeless shelter in Fremont. If the mom (or anyone like her) comes through my checkout line again, I intend to hand them out. I'm sure the store has to be careful(legally and politically speaking) about the information that is distributed to the public through them and etc. and yada yada yada...

Shirley said...

Okay. Will do.

Flip Flop Momma said...

man thats awful..

well we can always hope she slipped on ice, or maybe was in a fender bender a couple days ago..I hate to think someone was beatig her..

This angers me....

Im gonna say a little prayer for her and her little tots..

Joe B said...

Janell, I almost cried reading it. My prayers go out to her. Thank you for Sharing!

Mary Connealy said...

As sad as this is, what worse is that her children are living this and have a huge chance of growing up and passing on this kind of madness to their own families.

Jamie Dawn said...

I prayed for her. How awful that in this day and age there are still women who feel they must stay in abusive situations.
Years ago, just after we got married, I got hit in the eye with a softball while playing on our coed church team.
I went to the grocery store and the cashier said, "You shouldn't let him treat you like that." I told him I was hit in the eye with a softball, but I could tell the cashier did not believe me. I was so glad when that black eye went away!!

I hope your Easter weekend was a goody!

Sue said...

The waiting area for customers here at CF is right in front of my desk. A lot of people come in with their kids or families. You can always tell which ones might be a little too physical with their kids by the way the talk and act while waiting. Really do feel for some of the little ones.

One time I had an upper tooth filled and the dentist left fingerpring bruises on my cheek. It really looked like someone slugged me. Didn't happen. No one would ever hit me more than once and still be in my life.

Added the lady to my prayer list.


Janell said...

Shirl; thanks.

Momma; Yeah, let's keep praying for them.

Joe; thanks for adding your prayers. Are you back in the US now or still in China?

Mary; I know. That's the most heartbreaking thing about it. And this mom's devotion to those little girls was so obvious. I know that if she thinks it through she'll get them to where they can all be safe.

JD; Ouch on the softball to the eye! I believe you, but the sad thing is that abused women tend to lie about how they got their bruises.

Sue; thanks.