The $5 Bill

I promised in my Thankful Thursday post I would tell the whole story of the $5.00 bill in another post...so here it finally is!

I had posted earlier Wednesday that Wednesday had been one of *those* days. One of those days Billy would call "a stinker of a day". Our family has a very stressful day looming on Monday, and it has been wearing on all of us all week. We have dealt with some uncharacteristic behavior from all the kids this week, and Mom has not always handled it well. :-( By the time we headed home from church Wednesday night, I was ready to pull my hair out.

My oldest and I had had an especially rough day. Not only did I want to pull *my* hair out...I was ready to pull *his* out, too. Having lost the *Mommy of the Year* award *much* earlier, I was now contending for *Mama-Grouch of the Year*. I wanted to get in the store, grab what we needed, and race home before anyone (including me) had another melt-down.

We made it through the store without incident, and managed to get back into the van with a minimum of contention. I trudged around to the driver's side of the van and had just started to get in when I was startled by a male voice from the car beside me saying "Hey!" My nerves were already on edge, and being addressed by a strange man in the parking lot sent me into a sudden state of panic. Then I recognized the speaker...an older man we had met as we were going into the store earlier. He had been laboriously working his way toward his car with the help of a walker, and apparently now was waiting in his older, rather beat-up car for his wife to finish shopping. I had gotten tied up trying to get the girls out of the van as Peter had gone ahead, and I saw him talking to the man, but thought little about it at the time.

Now the man was holding a $5.00 bill out the window. "Here, give this to your boy, and tell him I said thank you." I looked at him rather quizzically and started to question him. He said, "Your boy gave me a hand earlier, and I want to tell him thank you." I waved the money away and told him that I would be glad to tell Peter thank you for him, but that he didn't need to give him anything. He held the money back out and insisted I take it: "No, you give this to your boy. He was good to offer to help, and I want him to have this. He can use it to save for a bike or something....and I know I may not look like I've got it, but I do, and I want to do this for him."

I told the man thank you, got in the van, and explained to Peter what had happened. He immediately unbuckled and leaned out of the van to tell the man thank you. As we were leaving the parking lot, I told Peter I was really proud of him. I was glad the kids couldn't see that I was a bit teary-eyed at the time. I was reminded how thankful I am for this boy...even on our rough days. Yes, he still has some areas to work on (just like his mom does!), but I am so thankful for the sensitive helping spirit God has given him. As we were talking about the man and what had happened, Peter said, "I didn't really do anything, Mom, he just looked like he was having a hard time, and I asked him if he could use some help." I told him that I was sure that that had meant a lot to the man...that often people who struggle physically are just made to feel in the way or ignored. I remembered aloud how Peter as a very little boy used to without any prompting get up and go help his Papaw find his seat in church when Papaw went through over a year of being legally blind. God had already given Peter a very sensitive, helping heart, and during the years my dad was ill, Peter learned to put hands to his caring heart. I needed *that* reminder right now, too...that God uses the hard times in our family, not just in *our* lives, but in the lives of our children...that He truly *is* working His good in them, despite how hard it is for us to see them suffer.

As you can see in the picture, Peter was very excited about his $5.00 bill...and even more, I think, about the man's gratefulness. I am thankful for the reminder that even on our worst days, God can use us, if we'll let him...just as He used Peter to help and encourage a stranger, and just as He used the stranger to encourage a frazzled mama...and remind me how thankful I am for *all* my children...

...even on *those* days...


Rebecca said...

Wow, that is so great. I almost started to tear up just reading it. I felt like I'd lost mother of the year this last week also. With my hubby out of state for training I'm surprised any of us still have hair. Thanks for the reminder.

Joyful Days said...

I was so blessed to read this story. How wonderful. You are raising them right.