One day a man stopped in a convenience store to get a newspaper. He noticed that the owner of the store had tears in his eyes and kept looking out the window. He asked what was going on.
The store owner said, "Do you see that bus bench over there? There's a woman who comes there every day around this time. She sits there for about an hour, knitting and waiting. Buses come and go, but she never gets on one and no one ever gets off for her to meet. The other day, I carried her a cup of coffee and sat with her for a while.
"Her only son lives a long way away. She last saw him two years ago when he boarded one of the buses right there. He is married now, and she has never met her daughter-in-law or seen their new child. She told me, 'It helps to come here and wait. I pray for them as I knit little things for the baby, and I imagine them in their tiny apartment, saving money to come home. I can't wait to see them.'"
The reason the owner was looking out the window at that particular moment was that the three of them -- the son, his wife and their small child -- were just getting off the bus. The look on the woman's face when this small family fell into her arms was one of pure joy. And this joy only increased when she looked into the face of her grandchild for the first time. The store owner commented, "I'll never forget that look as long as I live."
The next day the same man returned to the convenience store. The owner was again behind the counter. Before the store owner could say or do anything, the customer said, "You sent her son the money for the bus tickets, didn't you?"
The store owner looked back with eyes full of love and a smile and replied, "Yes, I sent the money." Then he repeated his statement from the day before, "I'll never forget that look as long as I live." This man had discovered a measure of the abundant life. It's not what we do for ourselves that brings us the most pleasure in life, it's what we do for others.
Pastor James "Skip" French is the pastor of Highland Christian Church, 1500 Forest Hills Blvd., Bella Vista. Opinions expressed are those of the author.