Jordan, Jonah and I were standing in line at a grocery store in Vernal. As we moved forward to buy our groceries the checker looked at Jonah, smiling and swinging his legs. Of course he starred intently at her, as he did with all new faces. Our typical grocery store conversation began.
"What a beautiful girl" she said.
"Thank you...actually he is a boy, this is his hearing aid, not a headband. Everyone thinks he is a girl so don't feel bad."
I went on to explain a little about his hearing aid and his syndrome. I had this conversation almost every time I went to the store. Then the conversation changed. She began to tell me about her own son as she passed our produce over the scanner. He had special needs, but she loved him intensely. Speaking of him, she became emotional and told me that he passed away 13 years ago in a tragic accident.
Why is she telling me this? I thought. But I replied "I'm so sorry to hear that", not really knowing what to say, or what to do. She wiped her tears, we both smiled at Jonah, then we paid and walked away.
As we left the store a nagging feeling began to pull at my heart. I should go back and tell her something, something that would make her feel better. I quickly ignored this feeling and carried Jonah to the car. I thought to myself I don't even know this woman, I don't know what she believes. Again the feeling came. Again I ignored it. I buckled Jonah in his car seat while Jordan put the groceries in the trunk. We began to drive away. I felt a sickening regret pour over me as I continued to ignore the intense feeling. Out of the blue I told Jordan to stop. I felt so stupid. This woman's life is none of my business, who am I to preach to her, who am I to tell her what to feel.
I explained the situation to Jordan, and he turned around to park the car. I began searching for a piece of paper and pen so I could write a message. I tore a blank margin out of the Vernal Express and began writing...
I want you to know that I never do this kind of thing...
But as I left the store I had such a strong feeling that I needed to tell you something. I want you to know that I believe that you will be with your son again. I believe that even though life is hard God loves you and he knows you.
There was no more room on my small scrap of paper. I signed it and for some reason gave her my phone number. I quickly jumped out of the car with my scrawled note. Once inside, my stomach churned. What am I doing? I found the cashier busy working. I tapped her on the shoulder and said "here, I want you to have this." She looked confused, understandably. I smiled, turned, and bolted out of the store to the comfort of my car. I felt relief. Relief that it was over, and relief that I wouldn't be nagged by my sympathetic heart for the rest of the day. We drove away and I soon forgot about the stress induced by my simple note.
But after Jonah's funeral I remembered. I remembered the words I had penned about eternal life, and about the love of God. At the time I fully believed what I had written, as it applied to this humble woman. Why had I felt so compelled to share my beliefs with her? Why was I remembering this experience now?
I have given a lot of thought to this memory and moment. I will probably never know if or how it impacted her life. She may have thrown the note away, she may have been angry, or it may have given her peace. I hope it is the latter.
Most of all I think that note was for me. I think God knew that I would need reassurance in the months ahead. He knew that I would need to be reminded of the depth of my belief. He knew he should remind me that at some point in my life I believed in Him so much that I felt compelled to share His message of love and eternal families with a total stranger. That little scrappy note and the simple message it bore has helped me remember that I believe that God knows and loves me, and that I will be with Jonah again. I cannot wait for that day.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Jonah's first time in the grocery cart.
Click here to read one of my favorite messages about remembering.