As long as I live, I will never forget him.
He was a big man, probably about 6‘5” and would probably weigh in at well over 300 pounds. His left arm appeared to have been amputated just above his elbow, where he was now sporting a mechanical prosthetic hook. I’m guessing that he was a farmer, because he had obviously put on his best pair of new denim overalls to come to town and take the little woman to Sunday brunch. This big, gruff guy honestly looked somewhat out of his element in this elegant restaurant, with its crystal chandeliers and upholstered high-backed booths.
The kids and I had just come from church and were all dressed up in our Sunday go-to-meetin clothes. We had just survived one of the most difficult years of our life. Their dad and I had divorced, we had moved to a new town, the kids were adjusting to new schools, and I was adjusting to being a single mom working 12 hour days to make a living. The time I had with the kids had become very precious to me, and I tried to do special things with them on the weekends, so every once in awhile we would splurge and come to this fine restaurant for Sunday brunch. I was completely unaware that we were being watched. My son was only about 8 at the time, and every time he returned back from the buffet table with his latest whipped cream creation, the expression on his face would reveal his obvious delight. My daughter was about 11, and spent her time filling me in on what she and her best friends were doing at school and generally making fun of her brother’s food choices.
I hardly noticed the man sitting three tables down before he and his wife stood up to leave. As they passed our table, he stopped and took the time to smile and look each of us in the eye. All he said was, “Y’all have a nice day.” I thanked him.
Later (after a few more waffles and whipped cream) I asked for our check. The waitress told me it had already been taken care of by the man in the overalls. I was speechless. I was so touched by his kindness and generosity, that I couldn’t keep the tears from welling up in my eyes. I don’t know why he picked up our check. Perhaps he sensed my loneliness or simply noticed the obvious absence of a husband and father in the picture, but to me, he was an angel.
What he couldn’t have known, was that I couldn’t have felt more alone in the world that morning. My heart was in a million pieces, and it took every ounce of strength I could muster just to get out of bed every day and keep going. I had been abandoned by the man I loved, and as a result I had made a personal vow to never need a man for anything again. I even found it hard to hug my own father (whom I adore) at that time in my life, simply because he was a man. So, when this man picked up our check, he couldn’t have known the magnitude of what his kindness meant to me. It was as though God was reminding me that even in the depths of my hurt and despair, that He hadn’t left me. I had been touched by an angel.
This year at Christmas time I am reminded of all the single people out there that feel more alone during the holidays than at any other time of year.
I was just reminded last night by a dear friend that said she hates to go to church on Christmas Eve because everyone is always there with their families. To someone alone at Christmas, this loneliness can cut like a knife. I remember it feeling like an empty hole in your soul that never completely goes away. Some single parents are struggling to make a Christmas for their children. Most would give anything just to know someone notices them. I have to confess that it’s very easy to make our plans with our families, and never give one thought to those that don’t have the love they long for. I wouldn’t have known how hard it can be to be single unless I had walked that path myself.
So my Christmas wish this year is that God will show me someone that needs to feel loved in a very special way, and then show me what to do about it. I hope you will join me and reach out to someone alone at Christmas this year, too. You might share a card or a cup of coffee. The most important thing is that you share a bit of yourself through a random act of kindness with someone that feels alone at Christmas. Don’t think for a moment that you can’t make a difference. You may just be the angel they’ll never forget!
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
I hope you have the Merriest of Christmases!Leave a Comment