This Saturday marked the start of my 37th year on this planet. My single request wasn’t cake or gifts or a party. I got none of those things. I wanted to road trip three hours away (by myself!) and visit one of my oldest and dearest friends.
On Saturday, I kissed my husband and kids goodbye and began my adventure! I gave a few dollars to a man with a cardboard sign, stopped at a chocolate store (yum), and chatted with a stranger while I ate my lunch. I was making a conscious effort to get outside of myself and connect with other people. It was lovely.
But wait, there’s more…
This is one of the most beautiful, bizarre things that’s ever happened to me.
In town, as I drove through an intersection, there were about 40 people on all sides of this street corner- men, women, and children of all ages. They all had signs that said-
“God bless you!”
“God is not dead!”
“He is with you!”
Not only that, but they were yelling too, “Jesus loves you!”
“Jesus LOVES YOUUUUUU!”
The encounter was brief- just a street corner and just a moment. I made eye contact with a few people. With my hand on my heart, I beamed with joy. They smiled too. We connected. It was beautiful.
I drove a few more miles and thought to myself that I needed to get a picture of these people! This was a moment of pure joy, and I wanted to capture it. So I turned back around to find them. They were gone from the street corner.
Did I just make that whole thing up? Was I a crazy lady who was seeing imaginary people on the street corner?! (I am getting older…I could be losing it!)
I saw them walking down the block to the next street. I circled the block and found a place to park. I got out of my car with my camera in hand. I intended to tell them how much our brief encounter had touched me.
I was so excited, though, first words that blurted out of my mouth were, “It’s my birthday!” The entire congregation of this church (remember, like 40 people!) cheered and sang me “Happy Birthday!” Then all the women of the church asked for permission to give me hugs. They proceeded to pray over me in Spanish while one person translated in English for me to understand.
This encounter left me with a full heart. Can you imagine an entire group of strangers singing, praying, and hugging you? It was incredible. A chance meeting turned into so much more that I had ever imagined it could be.
Why did this happen?
I went out of my way to appreciate someone.
I deviated from my journey, so that I could acknowledge these people. I wanted to tell them how they were making a difference. They really were. Who knows how many other lives they had touched on the corner that day?! It certainly made an impact on me.
Moral of this bizarre birthday story?
Take a moment to appreciate someone.
Appreciate those around you whether it’s your family, you best friend, or a stranger.
You never know what you may receive in return!