by Kim Trouten, M.A.

Lately I find myself being “that woman” in public. That woman whose life seems a mess, and you either feel pity for her or wonder why she can’t get it together. That woman with a crying baby in one arm and the contents of her purse falling out in the other. That woman who looks like she hasn’t showered in a few days (and probably hasn’t).

Today it was a pretty small incident. I was at Chick-fil-a for lunch with my toddler. I had him on my right hip, and our tray of food in my left hand. As I wove through the lunch crowd to find a seat, my drink tipped over on the tray and spilled on me and the floor. I put the tray down on a random person’s table, attempting to grab my drink before it all came out. The mess had the potential to get even bigger within seconds. That is when I had that familiar feeling of being “that woman” again. Causing a mess. Out of control.

I was relieved and thankful when a man nearby grabbed my tray and asked, “Where would you like to sit?” Thank you, kind man. “We’ll sit over there by the window,” I replied. Thank you, kind man, for stepping into my small mess and helping me in a practical way. Thank you for not sitting there watching me struggle. Thank you for your kindness that blessed my usually overwhelmed heart.

Since having a kid I’ve had the opportunity to experience the kindness of strangers more than I ever have in my life. Being a mom means being vulnerable in countless ways. Each day my capacity reaches its limit, sometimes at home, sometimes in public, usually both. It’s made me appreciate the small kindnesses of an opened door, a hand to pick up something dropped or a pair of feet to fetch something I needed.

Before becoming a mom I carefully guarded against needing help from anyone, let alone strangers. I guess it’s God’s sense of loving irony that the blessing of having children means that I’m in a position to receive more than I ever would have been comfortable. Ironic because I think I’m supposed to be more competent than ever but find myself facing my incompetency every day. I’m still not comfortable being “that woman”, but I am thankful for the kindness I experience because of it penetrates all the more deeply.

Categories Article | Tags: | Posted on April 2, 2013

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