My daughters and I were at a local cafe tonight for open mic night. None of us is musically talented, and the two of us who write haven't yet found the courage to share our writing at open mic night there, but we still enjoy going and listening to the talents of others and chatting with those who are hanging out there.
This evening, I felt God prompting me to introduce myself to the man sitting at the table behind me. You should know that normally I don't go around introducing myself to strangers and chatting with them. However, at this cafe, it doesn't seem out of place at all. So during a lull in the performances, when his two companions were chatting with one another, I turned around and started a conversation with this gentleman.
It took less than five minutes to discover that he knows one of my relatives, and to cover the basics of where we were each from, where we've been, and how we ended up back here in the county we were both born in. That covered, we moved on to more in-depth conversation.
When I first turned around to talk to this man, I was impressed by the pain I saw in his eyes. He was smiling, but his eyes were not. And as we talked, I discovered that his pain was related to the end of his marriage. Familiar story. Familiar pain.
I'm about a year ahead of him in the recovery process, so I was able to encourage him that he won't always hurt so badly. And then I did something that had to be a God-thing, because it's not something I normally do. I said, "I am so sorry that you are hurting so badly. I could just hug you!" And he invited me to do just that! So we stood up and gave each other a hug. After the hug, there wasn't the awkward, "Oh my, I just hugged a total stranger" feeling I would've expected. Instead, he said, "Wow, I really needed that. I don't get many hugs, except at church on Sundays." And I felt at peace. I knew I had just ministered to this man's deepest need at the moment, a need to feel connected and cared about.
A little while later, as he was leaving, he asked me somewhat sheepishly for another hug. I obliged. I must admit, those hugs ministered to me, too. I get plenty of hugs from my kids, but I look forward to my "adult hugs" that I get on Sunday mornings. The past two Sundays, my main hugger hasn't been at church, so I haven't had my recommended intake of hugs. Thus, in meeting this man's need, in seeking to offer him comfort for his pain, I had my own needs met.
Once again, I am amazed at how God manages to choreograph our lives so that we are where we need to be when we need to be there so that He can meet our needs through others! I'm fairly sure that this man didn't come to the cafe looking for someone to hug. Neither did I. But God, in His perfect intimate knowledge of each of us, knew that this was something we each needed. And He gave it to us.
I love God's unexpected gifts!