By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published October 18, 2022
It was just another ordinary day with another to-do list. One item meant a return to the optician’s office, because my new eyeglasses weren’t as clear as I’d hoped. When I arrived, I immediately noticed a little blonde-haired girl in a bright jacket studded with flowers and butterflies, who was looking at glasses with her mother.
When the optician took my glasses back to adjust them, the child sidled over to me while her mother was on her phone, and shyly struck up a conversation. She asked me why I was there, and when I told her, she said she was getting new glasses.
Inevitably, the conversation steered toward a short discussion on grades.
“I’m in second grade,” she said. “What grade are you in?”
After I jokingly told her I was in the “biggest” grade of all, she giggled, and we continued chatting. In short order, she told me she had two fish and two snails, plus a dog, who, she confessed, “is a mutt.” As for the fish, a third one had died not too long ago.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” I said.
“Oh, it’s alright,” she replied. “My Dad and I put him in the freezer.”
Her mother looked up from her phone and gave the child an inquisitive look.
“We’re going to make him a grave and bury him,” the child explained. Then she looked at me and asked the most heart-breaking question ever.
“Were your parents divorced?” From that question, I concluded that her parents had split up, because what 7-year-old child would know that word otherwise?
I told her no, and then realized why the mother was unaware of the fish in the freezer. The freezer was probably in the father’s house.
We chatted a bit longer, and then, just as I stood up to go, the child hurled herself at me and gave me a big hug. I was very moved by this and thanked her profusely.
“I’m a good hugger. I ask kids at school if they need hugs.”
There were tears of joy in my eyes, as I headed to my car. As a widow, I can attest that hugs become mighty precious once they are no longer readily available at home. I decided, right then and there, to pray for this little girl and her parents.
Pulling out of my parking space, I noticed an elderly woman, very frail, struggling to get her walker out of the back of her car. My first impulse was to help her, but I was concerned she might get offended.
Then I remembered the psalmist’s words: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” I pulled down my car window and asked the woman whether she needed a hand, and she was so grateful.
The walker was heavy, and I wondered how in the world she would’ve gotten it down without help. She thanked me and then slowly and painstakingly made her way to the entrance.
I thought about all the things our glasses help us to see, including books, road signs and computer screens, but also the things we may miss. Even if my physical sight is failing, maybe there’s still hope for me in a different sense.
“Though seeing, they do not see” were the words of Jesus. How often we may miss what’s right in front of us. Lord, help me to see your hand in every moment of every ordinary day.