Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Jean" by Heidi Avery

Right away my eyes fall on her. I saw her just two days earlier sitting unaccompanied in almost the very same way, but in front of another building nearby. Tonight, during my 9pm grocery run I find her settled on the cold, black metal bench in front of my store. I pull into my parking space, but before getting out I take a moment to observe her from afar and to ask God to lead me.

She is small and appears well dressed in a long, thin, black, leather coat. I can see a wispy white scarf peaking out from beneath her jacket collar. Her hair, a perfect match for the white scarf is very neatly pulled up and back revealing her 60 something features. Beside her sits a large piece of luggage with several bags hanging from it. I get out and walk slowly towards her, trying to meet her eyes, but she does not look my direction. She sits so very still, completely unmoved by the world passing her by. She is not waiting, she merely exists and what I sense more than that is her trying desperately to fade, unnoticed into the red-brick walled background behind her. I walk past.

My shopping is supernaturally interrupted with thoughts of this lonely woman and I know I must speak to her. Gathering my last few items I race to checkout and pray that she’ll still be there. Pushing my cart of groceries I peer outside the door and find her right where I left her as if frozen in time. With only the confidence given to me by God I say hello and introduce myself, she tells me her name is Jean. After a few moments I comfortably take the seat next to her and fixed on her bright, blue eyes I listen as she shares a piece of her story with me.

In the end, I ask Jean if she knows the Lord and sadly she does not. I’ll be honest, I fumbled it, I should have told her that God loves her and he knows her name, but I didn’t. I told her I would pray, gave her all the money in my purse and left.

Sad and slightly discouraged I drive away and promptly ask God for a divine “do-over” and then I am reminded… 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have even noticed Jean. 2 years ago I would have noticed her, but done nothing. Now, I see her, sit with her, hear her and show her the Love of Jesus. That brings me joy.

“I tell you the truth whatever you have done for the least of these brothers of Mine, you did it for Me.” Matthew 25:40


  1. This is the moment sweet sister where actions speak louder than words! She was noticed. She was engaged. She was loved on by you, even if it was just for a little while. Our typical response would be to grab a quick glimpse of her and keep on walking. You reaction was God-honoring and your reach was God-sized. You are rare!

  2. Stephanie Padilla-RicoAugust 12, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    I just recently was in the same position the other day and felt the same way. I think that what you did for that person will stick with them. There are a lot of people who wish that someone would just sit and listen to there story and not judge them for what they may look like. You are rare like Kelly said. There are so few that would just sit and listen. Many times I would give money and say God Bless but what you did is something that I think I should do whenever I see others who are less fortunate to have what I do. Your Amazing!

  3. My heart aches when i read these stories, aches of the past, when i walked by or even snubbed them. I feel such overwhelming compassion for them now,,what's their story,why,,,if I were raised in their home,,would I be them? Could I walk ONE day in their shoes? Now when I give to the less fortunate I don't throw money and run I ask their names, and tell them they will in my prayer's and that God loves them. It never seems to fail,,it takes them back a little, but I don't want to go through the motions. I want to show them the light of Jesus,,,the small light,,The Enormous light amongst the darkness. Thank you for the inspiration!!

  4. Sometimes it is even difficult to share with those we know well! I am proud of you for taking the opportunity to sit and listen to her story! What an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Deb Duffer

  5. Heidi,
    I love the story of Jean. She sounds like an angel in disguise, that probably watched every person walk by her day after, until you stopped for just a moment out of your day. I loved to hear your heart poured out to her. The moment sounded perfect. How cool to see God's love shine out of you and in the precious woman's blue eyes.


  6. Heidi, you did what so many of us want to do, but often don' were Jesus to her, and you should feel happy knowing you are making the steps towards being a better servant! Your blog touched my heart and I appreciate your it makes me examine my own heart. There is a Jean in all of our lives..somewhere. Perhaps, after reading your story, each of us will be motivated to reach out a bit more. Thank you! Keep writing...