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everyone has a story

So, sweet friend, March has come and gone! Maybe I feel it has passed me by because I have been cooped up in my house for six weeks with a healing broken ankle! I usually get out all of our Easter decor and do fun springy activities but this year I have not been able to do much of anything! Hopefully I'll be walking soon!

So this past week at one of my favorite local restaurants, I sat down with an employee on her break. I have talked to her before because we frequent this place a lot. Crutching down the aisle on my way to wash my hands, I saw her and was going to come back by, but I felt I needed to sit down with her right then instead of waiting. She shared how someone had just been rude to her during the ordering process but she was having a difficult week. She and her husband are waiting to hear test results on the health of their child and it will determine many decisions for them, so things have been extremely stressful. She mentioned that customer was concerned about a food item to the point of rudeness, but her biggest concern right now is her child's well-being. She pointed out that although she may be smiling at work, there is more going on in her life. I agree. I understand.

I find it vitally important to remember that everyone we meet has a story. That person who cuts us off in traffic, who snaps at us in customer service, who does not smile back, who disrespects us at school or work, who seems to have it out for us! There is a reason behind that behavior. I don't mean an excuse because the behavior is still not okay but behind that is a hurting person. That knowledge can help us keep the attitude in perspective and take away the hostility in it and help us feel compassion instead of anger. After all, Jesus loves us even on our bad days. As Easter Sunday comes and we remember the sacrifice of His life that Jesus gave for us on the cross, we must remember He did that for everyone - even those who are rude, mean, and selfish. Each person is someone's father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, friend...each person's life is valuable to God.

So, to make it real for us, what does this mean? How can we make a difference out there in the world?

1. Be aware: This is the beginning! Simply being aware will present opportunities. We cannot fix a problem we do not know exists. Compassion matters! When we become aware, God will show us. Look for people in classes at school, on your sports teams, people at work, people working where you shop...

2. Look for opportunities: Even simply being respectful while ordering a meal in a restaurant can make a huge difference in someone's day. Pick up the trash when you leave. Smile at people around you. Leave a place better than when you found it. Take time for the person nobody else wants to be around. Take time to have relationships with people you see often around town, like at the gym, library, school, and wherever you find yourself. You have a unique opportunity to share God's love where you go that is different from others.

3. Pray for them: You may never expect to see that person again, but a prayer can make a difference. Pray for your coaches, the cashier at the gas station, your school bus driver, the lady who cleans your house, the mailman, the babysitter...

We all have messed up. We all have bad days. We all have struggles we like to hide from the world. Others do too. We are no better than anyone else. We are just as important as everyone else. Jesus gave His life for us so we have HOPE! Have a fantastic rest of the last day of March! Make today count! Redeem the time! Compassion matters!

But he was pierced for our transgressions,he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. - Isaiah 53:5-6

P.S. I believe everyone should work in food service and/or retail. It will make you a different customer :) I have worked in both :)

Love,

Charis

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