It was 9:30 p.m. on Mother’s Day. And I was tired.
Tired from a very wonderful but very busy weekend of spending time with family and friends. The late nights and early mornings had left me zapped.
Sunday afternoon, I flew back to TN with Kaitlynn and Silas (Jesse had stayed behind to wrap up a few final loose ends in KS and then drove our second car back with Kathrynne). Gratefully, our flights were uneventful and I was so happy to be back in TN.
But then I couldn’t find the car. Jesse had dropped us off at the airport door on Friday morning and then parked the car. He’d taken pictures of where he parked and had written down directions, but there I stood at 10 p.m. with two children, luggage, and no car.
I tried following the directions he gave me, but I ended up going on a wild goose chase all over Long Term Parking (that’s not surprising seeing as I’m not great with directions!).
I called Jesse and he tried to walk me through the directions again, but something was off somewhere and I wasn’t finding anything remotely close to our car, no matter how hard I looked. (Later on, we realized he’d accidentally told me to turn right instead of left at one point — which had completely thrown off the directions!)
Remember what I’d said about choosing joy? Well, um, that wasn’t going so well.
In fact, I was frustrated. It was late. It’d been a long day. My arms were tired from lugging around a heavy suitcase and bag. And everyone’s patience was waning.
Finally, we retraced our steps again, Jesse and I went over the directions with a fine-toothed comb on the phone together, and we figured out the wrong turn I’d taken, and we made it to the car.
I breathed a sigh of relief, but I was still feeling stressed and irritable. I pulled up to the booth to pay for parking and it was as if there were an angel in that booth. I kid you not.
The man in the booth looked at me and must have been able to tell that underneath my smile, there was stress and exhaustion. He looked at me and said so genuinely, “Happy Mother’s Day! It’s been a long day, hasn’t it? You need to make sure to take care of yourself as a mom. I can tell you’re such a good mom.”
He had no idea how I was feeling or how frazzled I felt at the moment, but his words were exactly what I needed to hear. I pulled away from that booth with a much lighter heart and a true smile on my face.
And his simple words reminded me of how much words of encouragement can mean to others. He could have just taken my money and said, “Have a good day!” But he didn’t.
This nameless stranger whom I’ll probably never meet again, took time out of his day to look me in the eye and give heartfelt encouragement.
Let’s never be too busy to stop and encourage others. Even just a simple and short sentence could lift someone’s spirits far beyond what you could ever imagine.
“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.”