My purse got stolen Wednesday morning.
And if that sounds like a familiar sentence at this blog, that would be because it's the second time it's happened to me in eight months.
The lesson in this would be that if you have something that is valuable to you, DO NOT ASK ME TO HOLD IT IN MY PURSE FOR YOU.
This time, I was making a quick dash-in to a building--I was going to be inside for under three minutes and reasoned that I could just lock my purse in my car. But in the blink of an eye somebody actually broke my car window and grabbed the purse. In broad daylight. In a full parking lot. Right next to a building. On a busy street.
From now on, I will never ever be leaving my purse in my car. I will also, at my friend Queen B's suggestion, consider investing in a Knight Rider-type vehicle that can beat the bat-snot out of the next person who tries to take my purse.
Oh, I joke now, in sort of a laugh-or-go-crazy kind of way. But Wednesday morning, my outlook was a little different.
As soon as I discovered the broken window and missing purse, I called my husband (who instantly began canceling credit cards/checking accounts) and then the police. I filed an incident report with the business who owns the parking lot.
And I tried really, really hard to hold it together. It's just a purse--I know that. But the truth is that this little incident was the final straw in what has been an unusually difficult couple of weeks.
I choked up a little when I talked policeman, and I fought back a hefty sob when my husband showed up to help me with all the broken glass. But I mostly kept my cool. While Hubs and I were both making frantic phone calls to the insurance company, credit card companies and bank, a woman from a car several rows away approached me.
"Excuse me," she said gently. "I couldn't help but overhear your conversation. You looked like you could use some flowers."
And then she handed me this:
And the floodgates, how they opened.
I burst into tears, grabbing this sweet stranger's hand, wailing something about "thank you" and "God bless you" and "restoring my faith in humanity". Undaunted by my blubbering, she offered Corrie and me some cold bottles of water from an ice chest in her van, and she even offered to go get Corrie some lunch.
I don't know who she was. I don't know why she had flowers and cold bottled water in her mini-van. I only know she was paying attention to what was going on around her, and she had the courage to step out in kindness. And I cannot even express how profoundly that simple gesture ministered to me, in an otherwise crummy week. It was a little bit of Jesus, right there in a broken-glass-filled parking spot.
So I've learned many lessons about purses and cars, but I've been reminded of something even more important: a little kindness goes a very, very long way.
Find somebody who needs you today.