There I was on Christmas morning at the grocery store shopping for the fruit I had forgotten the day before. Surprisingly, I was not the only one doing some last minute gathering.
The smell of freshly brewed Starbucks coffee wafted through the store, and on the way out I treated myself to an eggnog latte thinking it an appropriate way to start Christmas. When the gal with a big smile and a hearty voice said, “Good morning, how are you?”, I burst into tears before I could answer.
“Why, girl, what is the matter with you? It’s Christmas!”
“I just learned my mother died.” Though the news had come several hours earlier, I had not cried, but now the tears were flowing, in front of a stranger no less.
“Oh, girl, what a perfect Christmas present! You mean your mother passed to the other side on Jesus’ birthday? You couldn’t ask for a better gift than that, and I just know He welcomed her with open arms.”
While her words didn’t stop the tears, they gave me a new way of looking at Mother’s death. In many ways it was a gift. Recent months were difficult, and just the day before my prayer was for her not to suffer, to be at peace. Perhaps her going to sleep was God’s way of answering.
I am grateful for the eleven years she was close by. They provided an opportunity for healing, for forgiveness and for us to say I love you. When relationships have been difficult, you can’t ask for more than that.
And, I am grateful for the angel at the Starbucks counter whose words helped me through a difficult morning. Her presence just goes to show that blessings may come in most unexpected places.