The last time the Holy Spirit nudged me in Target, I froze. But not tonight. Tonight, I listened...

It was supposed to be a quick trip, in and out to grab two items: bubble wrap and a cardboard box. I promised Brett I would pick up frozen yogurt on my way home. Going to Target by myself is a special treat, and one that typically entails trying on colored skinny jeans and perusing the clearance shoe aisle. But not tonight. Tonight I was good. I walked straight to the shipping supply aisle, and straight out the door.

That's when I saw them.

A woman, holding a cardboard sign, with a little girl in a stroller next to her.

Hungry God Bless

Without hesitation, I walked right up to her and asked if I could buy her something to eat. Her eyes widened as she eagerly nodded. We walked into Target together with Miranda, her four-year-old daughter. I grabbed a basket, and shifted my roll of bubble wrap and cardboard box under one arm.

"How much....I get?" she asked. She spoke very little English.

"You can fill up this whole basket and I'll pay for it."

"God bless you. Thank you."

I looked down at Miranda and noticed that her clothes were dirty. It didn't seem to bother her. She held a toy in her hand and smiled at me more than once.

"Do you have more children?" I asked the woman.

"Yes. Boy. He is seven."

I told her about Everett and she seemed shocked that I had a baby of my own at home. We walked to the meat and produce section of Target, where she began to carefully study the selections in front of her. She slowly reached for a whole chicken, looking back at me.

"It's okay?"

"Yes, it's okay. Just put it in the basket."

She reached for some pork, looked at the price, and put it back.

"Do you want that?" I asked her.

"It's too much. It's ten dollars!"

"It's okay," I reassured her, "I will pay for everything you can fit into this basket."

She looked at me, looked at the pork, looked at me again, and finally put it in the basket. We kept walking as she threw things into the basket I was carrying. More chicken. Tomatoes. Eggs. Yogurt. Sliced turkey. Milk. Strawberries. Peppers. A couple of lunchables for Miranda.

"I need oil and bread....that's all," she said.

The basket was getting too heavy for me to carry with one arm, as I awkwardly tried to readjust my bubble wrap and cardboard box.

"I take it," she said. "You push Miranda."

So I did. I pushed Miranda, while she looked back at me and said something in a language I didn't understand. Her eyes were beautiful, dark mocha brown, with long curly eyelashes. She had two little clips in her hair.

We picked up oil and bread, both generic, the cheapest of options, the stuff I never buy, and headed toward the cashiers.

"Oh!" she exclaimed. "I need laundry soap!"

"Okay, let's get some."

I know Target like the back of my hand, including where the laundry detergent is located. I pushed Miranda down the laundry aisle and grabbed a big jug of Tide.

"Oh, no no. Please. Too big. Too much."

"It's okay. They're all this big. It will last you a long time. This is the kind that I use, I know it's good."

"No, no. It's too much."

"Just put it in the basket. It's okay."

She thanked me the whole way to the register. I asked if she had a place to live and she said yes. She told me that both her and her husband lost their jobs this year. Now she cleaned houses and her husband cleaned motels but they did not have enough money to buy food. My heart ached for her, but it ached more for Miranda.

I paid for the food and laundry detergent. The total came to $49.99. She put the bags on the handles of the umbrella stroller and said thank you again, telling me it was too much and that $50 was a lot of money. I told her that it was okay and that it wasn't too much.

We walked out of Target together.

"God bless you," she said to me.

"God bless YOU," I said back to her. My eyes were stinging with tears.

Then she went right, and I went left.

I picked up the frozen yogurt I had promised Brett, and prayed for her the whole way home.

I didn't do much. I probably could have done more. I probably should have done more. I didn't talk to her about Jesus or give her money or offer her anything more than a few days worth of food and a few months worth of clean laundry.

But, I did something. And last time, I did nothing. Last time I froze.

I still think about that old lady in the frozen food aisle. Just like I know I'll always remember the woman from tonight. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways, and it appears that in my life, He mostly speaks to me at Target. Who am I to question?

eyes that see.

Last Thursday, I walked to work with a blind man. It was a relatively cold morning, for August anyways. My exposed legs felt a chill wrap around them as I walked up the steps from our parking garage, not-so-conveniently located six blocks away from work. I took a deep breath and was reminded once again of my fondness for the morning. I walked past my favorite little soup cafe, which already smelled of garlic and fresh herbs.

As I stepped up to the crosswalk, I noticed how especially busy the streets were, hustling and bustling more than usual. The light rail whizzed in front of me before the signal changed and it was safe to walk. Falling into a tiny sea of people, I crossed the street and put my sunglasses on, mentally creating a to-do list for the day. My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a clattering sound behind me.

Clack. Clack. Clack.

I glanced over my shoulder and saw a blind man with a white cane coming straight towards me, sweeping his stick across the ground back and forth rapidly in front of him. By instinct, I jumped to the left out of his path. He sped right past me, and I watched in awe as he skated up the sidewalk with his cane. Curious and concerned, I quickly scurried up behind him, with my own clack clack clack of high heels. We walked together for one whole block, him leading and me following, my heart pounding with emotions. Ache. Sympathy. Gratefulness.

I thought of my friend Laura, who was recently diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that is slowly causing her to go blind. My heart hurt for her. She's one of the most beautiful girls, inside and out, that I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I said a quick prayer for her and the blind man in front of me, and thanked God for giving me eyes that see.

Together, the blind man and I approached the second crosswalk. I fought the urge to throw my arm in front of him, before I knew for certain that he would stop abruptly at the curb and not walk into oncoming traffic. He walked so fast, and while simply watching him gave me anxiety, I had to admire his courage. He wasn't scared to walk, hesitating with each step. He walked with a purpose. Intention. Although he could not see, he knew exactly where he was going, as if refusing to live in fear. Standing there, side by side, I was overwhelmed with compassion and admiration for this blind stranger.

The signal changed and we kept walking, him leading and me following. I watched people stare at him, and wondered if he could feel them looking. I thought about my own two eyes, which are fully functioning, yet very poor in sight. I imagined myself walking up J street without my contacts, and how blurry everything would be. I've worn them for thirteen years and can barely see a foot in front of me without them. I tried to picture myself walking with a purpose, with nothing but a cane to protect me. As much as I'd like to believe I would be brave and fearless, the mere thought is terrifying.

As we approached the hotel, I noticed the man slowing down. Was he lost? Should I say something? It took me a moment to realize he was listening to the guys chatting at the valet stand. Once he realized he was in the right spot, he quickly turned right, hitting the door with his cane.

"Let me get that for you sir."

Eddie opened the door and I said good morning as I walked in behind the man. He was headed for the elevator, and I watched him put his hands on the walls, searching for the buttons. My heart hurt.

"Are you going up?" I asked him, desperately hoping he could hear the smile in my voice.

"Yes," he replied.

"Over here, I've got an elevator open."

He fumbled towards me, and again I fought the urge to simply grab his hand and lead him onto the elevator safely.

"Where you headed?" I asked.

He took his sunglasses off and looked right at me. I stared back, wondering what he saw.

"Seven please."

I pushed three and seven, and watched the doors close.

"How are you doing today?" I asked.

"I'm okay," he replied. "It's been a whirlwind of a week."

Before I had time to think of something else to say, the elevator arrived at the third floor.

"This is my floor. Just a few more until seven, okay?"

"Okay, thank you very much," he said.

"You're welcome. Have a nice day..."

I stepped off the elevator and for the third time that morning, fought the urge to touch him. To hug him. To squeeze his hand and tell him that it was going to be okay. To tell him that God loves him and for all intents and purposes, I did too.

For the rest of the day I thought about my eyes, and how often I complain about my contacts, or joke about being blind without them. I felt guilty for taking something so precious for granted. Five days later, I can't stop thinking about that blind stranger. I'm not sure why, or what else I could have done or should have done to help him.

Come to think of it, maybe it wasn't my fate to help him at all.

Maybe it was his fate to help me.

To give me a little perspective, and remind me of how blessed I am to have eyes that see.