Mercy and grace
Three days till Christmas. It wasn't a good time for this. Joe rounded the corner in his UPS delivery truck, knowing he took the turn too fast, yet understanding he had deadlines to meet. The truck slid just a little from the icy snow still on the road. He needed to take the call, so he brought the phone to his ear.
"Ben's sick," his wife said.
Strong winds whipped his face as he ran two packages up to the resident's door and placed them out of the weather.
"Did you hear me? Ben's sick again." Ben had the flu a week earlier and seemed to have recovered. Hollie needed to be at work in fifteen minutes. She couldn't leave eight-year-old Ben home alone.
"Well, I don't know what you want me to do. I have twenty-seven packages to deliver yet."
Joe could tell Hollie was sniffling. Crying again. She cried all day yesterday. They were doing their best to make ends meet, but there was never enough time or money.
"See if Jill will keep him," Joe dropped another package in front of a door.
"I already asked her. She said she didn't want her kids sick for Christmas." Jill didn't work. Instead, she collected government money for five kids all under the age of ten, only two with the same father. The government also paid for their health insurance and food. Joe fumed under his breath. You would think Hollie's cousin could watch Ben while he and Hollie worked to obtain the things Jill got for free. The more Joe thought about it, the angrier he got. Now it was snowing and blowing onto the roads. Oh great!
Another package was delivered.
"I'm going to have to take another day off," Hollie cried into the phone. Tears filled Joe's eyes.
"Whatever you have to do. I have to go, my boss is calling."
One call over. Next.
"I know that package was supposed to be delivered by four, but I've been slowed down by this weather." Joe pulled the truck off the road and stomped into the back of his truck. Sifting through the packages, he found the time-sensitive one and set it aside. He would need to go twenty minutes out of his way now to get this package to the disgruntled customer. He wiped tears from his face with his sleeve. Men are not supposed to cry. But life was overwhelming.
Joe was forty minutes late in getting Cindy the cosmetics she had ordered. He hoped that was the end of her complaints. He needed this job. Snow was covering the roads now, and he must concentrate. The show must go on. Packages needed to be delivered on time. He only hoped that those receiving ones that were later than expected would understand. He was doing his best. Really, he was.
In a world that seems to want to give monetary gifts - making us feel better about ourselves, I am still searching to find compassion, grace, and mercy in others -- the greatest gifts of all.
Lord, change my heart that I am willing to give to others that same mercy and grace you give to me. Amen.