I see in my neighbor the Person of Jesus Christ.
-Saint Gerard Majella
Yesterday, I heard Faith Hill’s “Where are you Christmas?” and I was moved to tears as I thought about the brutality, vengeance, and loss of life that so many in our country have experienced of late. My heart was heavy with sadness for the victims and their families of these tragic and senseless killings, as well as for my own two little ones and the world that they are being raised in.
And then I got to thinking about the beautiful experience I had last week and the goodness that can be found in others if we choose to see it, report on it, exemplify it.
You see, my sewing machine was broken and after consulting with my mother, I decided to take her advice and get an estimate for its repair.
Imagine my disappointment when the manager of the service department at a large sewing machine repair/sales chain in the metro said that it would be between $120.00 and $150.00 to repair the part. He went on to explain that while the part itself was not costly, the repair was labor intensive and was going to run up the bill. My heart sank as I knew that I just did not have that kind of money to repair my machine; especially so close to little man’s birthday and Christmas. He was kind enough to show me a brand new machine for $349.00 that could do “so much more” than my basic Singer school model. Hmmmm…
My mother encouraged me to get a 2nd estimate, this time from a Singer sewing machine store. Not surprisingly, there are no longer “singer” only stores in the metro, but there are several “certified” singer repair shops inside of various sewing shops. So, I took my “school model” basic machine in for a 2nd opinion.
As I explained to the kind gentleman behind the counter, what exactly the problem was and how I understood the labor-intensiveness of the repair, he stood there shaking his head “no” at me. I was befuddled.
He quickly explained that not only was the part not expensive to replace, but that the repair was quick and easy and for his shop’s standard flat rate of a minimum $40 repair fee and a 15 minute wait he could have the machine fixed SAME DAY!
It was then, that I realized I was experiencing Christ in action. This kind gentleman, rough and rugged, hands worn from 30+ years of sewing machine repair, seeing a frazzled and run-ragged stay-at-home mom with two tiny tots in tow, knowing the value of this machine to me and my children and the significance behind repairing objects rather than purchasing new in our throw-away society, made my day. Made my week!
He was, as Saint Gerard Majella would say, “the Person of Jesus Christ, in my neighbor.”
And the twist to this story? This gentle man suggested that I take my little ones to the thrift store in the strip mall while we wait as they have “great toys.” The thrift store was TurnStyles operated by one of my most favorite charities and not for profits…Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. As we perused the shelves of children’s toys, my sweet daughter, spied an unopened, brand-new children’s SEWING MACHINE! With the money I saved on repairs and/or not purchasing a brand new machine, I gladly handed over FIVE DOLLARS to this wonderful charity to purchase her this machine. And yes, it really does work!
Mary’s new sewing machine.
May you have a blessed day and see Christ the Person in those you meet!