The first part of this story I missed because I had left the two most important women in my life among the boutique shops of Laguna while I went to pick up Chandler from a friend’s house. It had been a wonderful day together: church, followed by a long brunch, and a little walk around town on a crystal clear sunny fall day in southern California – the air sparkling from the first rain since last spring. With her crazy hospital schedule, time with our daughter, Anne, is always at a premium, and we jump whenever we can get it.
I returned with Chandler to find Marti and Anne fully engaged with a woman in a dress shop. They were aiding her in selecting an outfit as if they were store employees. Marti is like this. She always wants to see people do better. In this case, an outfit was going to do the woman some good, and selling it was obviously going to help the store owner.
You should have heard them … “No, you don’t want that. That makes you look too frumpy, and you have a nice figure. Here try this.”
“What do you think about this?” the woman asked, at first ignoring them and sticking to her own choices.
“Frumpy again. Here, try this on. You’ll look gorgeous in it.”
“Oh, I could never wear that.”
“Nonsense. Just try it.” Which she finally did, and when she came out and saw herself in the mirror, she was flush with her own beauty. Almost in tears. She’d been seeing herself one way. Marti and Anne saw something else.
As it turned out, this was the first time in weeks that she’d even been out of the house; she had been in such pain from an injury to her back that hadn’t healed properly. She even remarked that this whole experience, with Anne and Marti giving her so much attention, was the best she had felt in months.
That’s when we told her about the Catch, about all of you, and about our prayer team that prays 24/7 and would love to be praying for her. Then she did cry, hugged us all around. When she finally left, she was clutching the Catch website address on a business card tightly in one hand, and a shopping bag in the other, no longer frumpy.
I didn’t realize it right then, but later, it dawned on me that this was boots on the ground, grace turned outward, in a dress shop. It’s amazing what a little love and attention can do for someone. For this woman, it even relieved her of her physical pain. Marti and Anne saw something about her that she hadn’t seen, or believed, in a long time, maybe never.
This is what can happen when you stand in someone else’s shoes. Sometimes, you see what they see and it makes you compassionate; other times you see what they can’t see, and that can open their eyes to the beauty of who God made them to be.
I watched that happen yesterday, and it was a beautiful thing.
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