Righteous Mind with Rev. Cynthia T. Turner
  • Righteous Mind with Rev. Cynthia T. Turner
  • Righteous Mind with Rev. Cynthia T. Turner
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    Soul Rythem

    Righteous Mind with Rev. Cynthia T. Turner

    Last night I bought a tired old woman some hotdogs so she could feed her child. That’s what she told me. Standing there in the narrow aisles of the Safeway in downtown Silver Spring, she interrupted my shopping and my phone conversation to whisper her situation to me.

    “Under normal circumstances,” she said, “I’d never ask this. And I’m not asking for myself. I don’t have to eat. But I’m just trying to get something to take home to feed my child.”

    Her red watery eyes lowered my defenses but not before a flood of images raced through my mind. What if her eyes are drug-red and not because she’s been crying? Why did I stop at this rinky dink store with its narrow aisles and dim lighting? I never shop here. All I wanted was a watermelon. And now I’ve got a cause to deal with. What if her kids are home like baby birds awaiting the worms their mom will feed them with? What if it were me? Oh, there but for the grace of God.

    After maintaining eye contact for a moment, I instructed her to get something and I’d take care of it. Off she went. She returned with two packs of jumbo off-brand hotdogs and held them before me asking with her eyes if that was okay. I nodded and told her to put them in the basket. As she walked away, I said “Don’t you need some buns with that? You can get buns.” She hurried off and returned some time later with two loaves of white bread and added them to the cart as well.

    I checked out, and handed her the bag with the bread and another bag for the hotdogs. As luck would have it, the lunch meat that I purchased for my own child’s lunch next week must have gotten mixed up in there too, because I noticed it missing from my supply. That’s grace.

    It’s a day later and I cannot help but wonder what happened to those jumbo hot dogs. Did they make it home to her child/ren? Or did she trade them on some black market around the corner? Should I have offered her some fruit or vegetables, too? Growing bodies need more than just hotdogs and white bread. I recently saw a piece on elder abuse where the son and his wife made his elderly mother stand on the street corner and beg for food to buy drugs for them. She began dealing her prescription pain killers and had a real racket going.

    As I think about it, there are lots of things we wouldn’t do “under normal circumstances.” When we recognize a move of God, it’s seldom under normal circumstances. I feel good regardless of how the hotdogs and bread were used. Rather than giving money, I gave food and maybe helped feed another woman’s child.

    Today I was my sister’s keeper. And I feel good she took the liberty to get what she could from me, not one pack but two. Not one loaf but two, preying on my generosity. That made me feels good too, because I believe God models generosity to us to help us be generous in our giving to others. .. I pray it was a blessing. Who knows, maybe this was Divine intervention. Perhaps this was God’s way of answering my morning prayer where I asked God how I could be of use in the Kingdom. And because I know it’s not about me, perhaps God used me that day to feed this woman and her children and to be an answer to her prayer. If that’s the case, keep using me, Lord.


    The Rev. Dr. Cynthia T. Turner, pastor of the Dayspring Community Church in Lanham, MD,  writes occasionally about the “Righteous Mind” on the Soul Rhythms blog. Click here to read other pieces by Rev. Turner.


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