My teenage son and I were leaving the grocery store when I noticed a tiny, elderly lady walking past our vehicle. As my son and I placed our bags of groceries in our vehicle, I kept an eye on her as she slowly walked to the edge of the parking lot, looking left and right as she moved along. As my son climbed in, ready to leave, I set my purse down in the driver’s seat and told him I’d be right back.
I walked to where the woman was now standing, put a hand on her thin shoulder and asked if she was okay or if she needed help. She nodded, tears welling in her eyes. She told me that she was getting ready for her granddaughter’s wedding and was thinking about a hundred other things when she’d parked the car to run into the store for some sewing needles. When she came back out, she couldn’t remember where she parked.
In a moment that came from living in a different era where it was safer to trust a stranger, she asked if I would drive her around the parking lot to help her find her car, saying it was hard for her to walk at this stage of her life. I helped her into our vehicle and slowly drove her down a couple of rows as she told me all about the upcoming wedding and the garments she was sewing for the event. She eventually spotted her car, and with her voice breaking, she thanked me and told me I’d been her blessing that day.
She was wrong. She was my blessing. She reminded me of what actually makes us happy in life – true, lasting happiness, not the fleeting excitement or roller coaster of emotions that are so easy to chase to get back to the high of the emotional ride. True joy is not found in buying what we want, winning an argument or receiving accolades for accomplishments. It doesn’t come at all when we put self first. True joy is discovered in those rare moments when we find the opportunity in front of us to help another, to give a small part of ourselves to make things better for someone else.