There was a woman who was in my life for less than 5 minutes. She said no more than 8 words, she never told me her name and she remains faceless in my mind to this very day, but she profoundly impacted me in a way that has shaped who I am today.
This powerful experience happened when I was in college. I was pretty full of myself and fueled by grandiose plans for a prestigious future. One day during lunch I carried my food tray to a table that a cafeteria worker was wiping down. I felt sorry for this woman as she bent over the table at such a menial task, so I decided to brighten her day.
As I said, I barely remember what she looked like; I can only remember that her face was really weathered and framed by the tight curled coiffure of a “wash & set”. The deep lines around her eyes revealed too many years of hard work. She wore an unfashionable blue work smock, and white orthopedic shoes. (Hard work and no fashion…, I didn’t think anyone should be so cursed!)
I sat down, smiled and complimented how well she did her job. Without a pause, or indication that she sensed my pity, she graciously responded, “Everything I do, I do for the Lord.” I think she may have removed a track from her smock pocket, placed it down on my tray before she smiled and moved off to another table, but honestly I was too stunned to even notice or reply. I sat there watching her make her way to the next table with my mouth ajar, stunned at such a regal response. It was truly beautiful and I was speechless. You can ask anyone who knows me and you will find that I am seldom rendered speechless!
At that time in my life I had never thought that everything or even any little thing I did, could be for the Lord.
My mind turned over this incomprehensible thought a dozen times before I internalized the truth. It didn’t matter if I were wiping tables or running a fortune 500 business, as long as I gave Him the glory, there was no difference in His eyes.
Her message and powerful witness was a gift that changed the path of my life. It gave me confidence as a young woman in the workplace, my sanity as a mother and, to this day, no excuses. I wish I knew who my cafeteria lady was so that I could thank her, but God knows and I have confidence that He’ll re-unite us in heaven where I won’t notice what she’s wearing, but rather I’ll notice the beauty that I overlooked all those years ago.