I stopped in at the Warehouse this evening (a popular chain store here in New Zealand) to buy a sink plunger, something which for some reason was not stocked by my local supermarket. As I roamed the hardware aisles searching in vain, a moderately attractive woman and [presumably] her young daughter stopped me to ask a question.
“Excuse me, but do you have any paint under your arm?” she asked, smiling broadly. For a moment I just stared at her, since it was such an odd question. Then I glanced down to see what shirt I was wearing, for it struck me that she may have assumed I worked there and was needing some paint-related advice – once before I had worn a red shirt while shopping and a woman had confused me for staff. But no, I was wearing a dark blue t-shirt.
“I’m sorry, what?” I replied.
“Do you have a pain, down your left arm?” she asked again, more clearly this time. This didn’t really seem much less odd than what I had thought she asked the first time.
“Um no, not at all, why?”
“Because when I walked into the store I felt a sort of pain down my arm…” she began, and the hairs on the back of my neck pricked up. I suddenly feared that this strange woman was about to suffer a heart attack in front of me, and vaguely wondered why she expected it to be a shared experience. Still smiling warmly, she continued.
“Sometimes God speaks to me through feelings like this, and I saw you and just wondered if He was telling me to speak to you.”
I held her gaze for a moment, then looked down at her daughter, who was looking up at me with the sweetest and most innocent expression I can imagine.
“Oh ok, well sorry no it’s not me” I said to the woman, and took my leave as she continued to beam at me.
The whole exchange left me with a feeling of intense sadness; mostly because of the look on the child’s face. It was entirely, utterly trusting, and filled with a sort of gormless wonder. What is that poor girl in for?
After putting some distance between us I stopped in the stationary aisle to ponder the experience, whereupon I glanced down to see at my feet a solitary sink plunger, standing upright on the floor.
God sure knows how to help those who need it.