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Miles to Go—When You Walk in Love

By Marianne Miles

“Love your neighbor as yourself…”

My sweet husband saw that I walked with more effort after searching a huge store for the book I wanted. He met me by the checkout counter and said, “I’ve parked on the far side of the lot. I’ll go get the car while you buy your book, and then I’ll meet you out front.” I appreciated his kindness and limped over to wait in line.

A redheaded woman with a cane stood in front of me. When her turn came, she hobbled to one of the registers. A young, pretty salesclerk looked up and said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m closing this register. Could you please move over to the other line?” She pointed to another young woman at a register beside her.

The distance was only fifteen feet away, but the older woman’s countenance crumpled. “That’s easy for you to say!” she shot at the salesclerk.

The clerk looked momentarily shocked; however, she evidently had experience with unhappy customers, because she responded quickly with, “Let me take that to this register for you.” Her smile was polite and her actions quick to service the redheaded woman, but the woman’s mood remained sour.

“You might as well be asking someone in a wheel chair to climb the stairs,” she yelled at the clerks. She turned at this point in her tirade and our eyes met. She appeared to be five to ten years younger than I was. My heart bled for this sister. She could not have known, as I stood there, that pain throbbed from my foot to my knee because of my own disability. I smiled at her with compassion.

She turned from me with a look of disgust. The clerk handed her a bag with her purchase in it and the woman shoved through the exit doors with fury.

My mind flew to my husband who would soon be pulling up to the front of the store to find me. I paid for my book quickly, smiling sweetly at the clerk who took the brunt of the last customer’s displeasure. I then limped through the same exit door and stopped to look for my husband. There, on the sidewalk, stood the angry woman. She turned and pierced me with narrowed eyes.

“I guess you think I’m a grouch (only she used a more colorful term.)”

I caught my breath and then said, “I think you’re in pain.” Her face fell. Her shoulders drooped. She turned and walked slowly, stiffly through a drizzle to her car. Her car was parked three spaces from the sidewalk. I watched her tail lights, but they didn’t come on. I knew she was sitting there, crying, even though I couldn’t actually see her.

I carefully stepped down from the curb and out into the rain to approach her old battered car. It had a sunroof, stuck half way open. I could see her hands held her bowed head. She did not look up as I leaned on the roof of her car.

“Hi,” I said softly. She raised her head and glared at me. “Are you okay?” I asked.

She nodded, but not convincingly.

“Do you need a friend?”

She smirked.

I handed her my business card. “You could e-mail me,” I said.

“Yeah, if my computer worked,” she shot back at me, but she grabbed my card without looking at it. She turned toward the opposite window, refusing to face me.

“Are you sure you don’t need help?” I asked. No answer. She reminded me of a wounded tiger, cowering in pain.

My husband drove up to the back of her car, waiting for me. I mustered my courage. “Look,” I said, “you can call me. I care.”

She nodded her head but continued to stare the other way. I thought about telling her, “Hey, I’m crippled too. I know what you’re going through. I could be in the same place another day.” However, I did not.

Pain wrenched my foot as I turned to shuffle to my waiting chariot. The door opened easily, and I lowered myself gratefully into my dry, warm cubby of a car.

“What’s up with her?” my husband asked, nodding at the woman in the car.

“She’s in pain,” I said, “Like me.”

Sometimes we feel alone and afraid in our pain and inability, but we’re not. Jesus said, “I am with you always, even until the end of the earth.” Sometimes he sends someone as unlikely and disabled as me to bring you His love.

We love Him, because He first loved us. We love each other with that same love. That love is our best hope—it’s our only hope. Don’t refuse it.

©2009 Marianne Miles. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Marianne Miles is a free lance writer intent on bringing comfort to mom’s of special needs kids. As she and her husband raised their children, including a son with special needs, Marianne developed a passion to support hurting mothers. Her message revolves around the love and provision of God, even in times of trial. Marianne has worked as a volunteer in the public schools, home school mom, and a teacher in a private school. She writes on the subjects of family and education in the form of devotionals, magazine articles, and poetry. Marianne welcomes reader’s comments and publisher’s questions at Marianne_Miles@yahoo.com.