Wednesday, December 11, 2013

All Choked Up

I pull into the store's crowded parking lot, a quick stop to pick up some bananas and onions and yams and celery.  But first I have more important business to tend to. 

As I open the car door, the bell's familiar tones begin to beckon me, the hanging red bucket awaiting my visit.  A bill is folded in my hand and I approach the bell-ringer.  A warm smile spreads over his weary face.  I can tell with one glance that life has not been easy. 

He smiles as he watches me slip the bill into the bucket and bids me a Merry Christmas.  I look him square in the eyes as my throat closes tight and tears spring up from somewhere deep.  I smile and thank him, and say 'God bless you.'

And I mean it. 

Because even though his life path has most likely been quite different from mine and our opportunities and cultures and families wildly divergent, it matters not one iota.  We're still coming from the same place.  Along the journey, we've both been wounded, broken and bruised, cast aside and rejected.

Like that dear sweet Man of sorrows, so terribly acquainted with grief.

An unbidden stray tear slips down as I grab my cart.  The door swings wide and I head to the huge displays of fresh produce that await my visit.  I know that each time I head to the store in the next few weeks, the bell-ringer and I will repeat this brief interchange 'til January when he will head back to his pre-holiday life.  And I will always, always get choked up.  And he'll never ever dream how much he has gifted this woman's soul.

* you can be a bell ringer, too
* photo from
* Choking up at Emily's  .  Lyli's


  1. "Along the journey, we've both been wounded, broken and bruised, cast aside and rejected."
    Yes, Linda. We all have more in common than we realize!

  2. And best of all, Lisa, our Redeemer, truly gets it. He absolutely does. He's been there, done that.

    Praising Him today ...

  3. Replies
    1. You're a sweetheart ... your encouragements bless me and propel me on!

      Hugs ...

  4. I loved this, Linda. Loved this. I love holy moments like this one.

    1. You're so right, Aliza. The holy is interwoven into the dailyness of our tasks. Now ... for eyes that see, hearts that are grateful for His super-active presence.

      So good to see you again!

  5. Dear Linda
    I wonder who blessed whom the most of you and this gentleman! It also rips my heart apart when I see people so broken, yet still smiling with the love of Jesus. I wonder if people will recognize Jesus if he was walking amongst us between the glitz and glamour of Christmas. Blessed are the poor in spirit for they will inherit the Kingdom of God.
    Blessings XX

    1. mmm, Mia ... yes, the love, the joy never leaves when it's a fruit of the Spirit. Happiness will come and go, sorrow will flood in, and discouragement seems to call way too often. But the fruit of the Spirit stays because He's not going anywhere. The love, joy, peace is ours forever through Christ's love. How cool is that!

      Thank you for continuing to write and encourage others even while you're living with your own pain. You are a living example of Christ's love shining even when times are excruciating. I so admire you ...

  6. What a poignant post! Thank you for sharing . . . especially about the tear slipping down - it shows so much of your tender spirit!

    1. My heart-rending encounters with bell-ringers is nothing new ... it's been going on for years. I thought it time to put pen to paper. I have a feeling I'm not the only one ...

  7. Linda, your story touched me deeply. Such Beauty in brokenness!

    1. Only the Redeemer can bring beauty from ashes. I am filled with gratitude that He doesn't grow weary in doing so.

      Thanks for stopping in on this oh-so-freezing day, Lyli ...

  8. I had the same experience today--my bell ringer was singing Carols---Blessed me---in the hustle and bustle of my day--reminded me---I thought of the Why of the season and I too teared up. Glad you are back with us, Linda. Merry Christmas, Dear Sister!

    1. It's so good to be back in the saddle again ... and I am so happy to hear from you, Lulu! I hope that your advent season is going wonderfully ... and I am glad to know that I'm not the only one who needs to reach for the tissues in the grocery store parking lot!

      Let those carols ring out ...



Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...


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