I stood on the step-stool and filled the dispenser and dropped the quarters into the slot provided. The young lad’s name was Gabriel and like an angel, he showed me the error of my ways that I needed to push the buttons harder. The washer still would not start and being the damsel in distress, I beckoned the owner again to come over. He jiggled the handle on the front load machine to lock it more securely and then did the washer do its thing!
The older lady working in the next aisle is the one who told Gabriel which machine I should use. She sat down with me after her loads were begun and we began to have a chat as though we do this all the time. Her face was weathered by hard labor and time; her teeth showed neglect and were misshapen. The story she shared was not uncommon and was littered with pain and struggles in life. Her granddaughter was in the hospital now at ten years of age with a burst appendix. Just months ago this same child was rushed to the hospital for an episode of seizures. This time the child had seized for over 40 minutes of time; the seizures began quite some time ago after a car crash rendered her with brain trauma. This older lady also told me of her husband who worked two jobs, one of which is cleaning a church. She herself worked as well and it just so happens that their washing machine no longer worked. To the laundromat she must go and then she returns home to dry all her clothes. Because of the illness of the grandchild, she hadn’t been able to do her laundry in a couple of weeks’ time. As she loaded her next to last basket into the washer, she accidentally inserted one too many coins. This would make her short for her very last load and she was ever so grateful for that one thin coin that I gave her.
After she left, it was just young Gabriel and I. You may find this surprising, as did I. You see this young man did not to that older woman belong; he was a wanderer on his own. He knew how to operate each piece of equipment and he was vigilant to offer assistance, encouragement and cheerfulness wherever he could. From what the older woman told me, he was hoping to make money but not once did I hear him ask or beg or suggest payment for his assistance. He hovered over me with protective pride and so I began a gentle prodding to learn of his story. He is 14 years old and he is excited about when he will turn 16; it is then he will be able to get a job. He lives close by and rode there today on his bike; it is no “ordinary” bike, it is “extraordinary”.
He says there was no one at home missing him and that he might hang out a bit longer today there in the laundromat. He also stated he has ADHD and without medication, it takes over his life. It bothers him greatly that the condition controls him and then I assured him, that he managed it well with me today. He beamed with pride when I praised him for helping me and that I would have been lost and struggling without him today. Another secret did he share with me and that is he was born with a hole in his heart and has always been weak. He carried out his self-appointed duties to the very end and walked with me to the car and shoved the freshly-laundered comforter in. I drove away with a tender smile and teary eyes for that reminder today was long overdue. I live in my Father’s world and it is HE Who takes care of me. I came close to wasting away an opportunity to step outside my safety zone and home of comfort all because of lame excuses and pebbles of pride. But boy did I hear HIS laughter of joy and pleasure as I drove back toward my home again.
As I rolled down the highway feeling light hearted and content with pleasure, what greeted me at home when I arrived? A fresh-cut lawn with attention to detail, a yard full of thick green grass. The couple who serves me in this endeavor was pulling away in their big blue truck and trailer. We exchanged greetings and such through lowered windows, each in our own vehicle with the air conditioners blasting. My Father’s plans for me are good and HIS love for me is everlasting. HE reminds me often of how much I mean to HIM and if I had hid within my little world today, then I would have missed out on HIS custom-designed nuggets of treasure.