How the iPad 2 and a Hug Changed My Life (by Gabe Holloway)
I hugged a complete stranger, and it wasn’t weird.
My normally reserved nature gave way to the excitement welling up inside. I don’t normally just hug someone, but then again, this wasn’t just anyone. This was Janice, the electronics cashier at Walmart. Why did I hug her? She held a rare black 16GB iPad 2 while I drove 30 minutes out of the way to get it. She wasn’t supposed to hold it, but she did. And I hugged her for it.
It made my day, really. The hug, that is.
Sure, the iPad 2 is amazing (I know, I know. Shame on me… starving children… clean water… anti-consumerism), but later that day, I couldn’t stop thinking about Janice. This was no small hug. Janice hugged with an enthusiasm that seemed to say, “You’re worth the trouble!” Her smile greeted me even before we said hello. She told me that store policy wouldn’t let her hold the iPad 2, but she could tell from our phone conversation that I was a “sweet, young man.”
I realized after our hug and a short conversation that Janice loves her job. She doesn’t just love working at Walmart for pay and benefits. Janice loves people, and working at a store that has thousands enter the doors each day is her dream job. She cared about getting the iPad 2 in my hands not because she knew that I was salivating over Apple’s latest and greatest gadget, but because she wanted to extend the blessings of her happiness to a me, a complete stranger.
I was tempted to ask Janice if she loves Jesus the way she loves other people. So as I swiped my card, I put a feeler out, “Do you know how much you’ve blessed me today?”
“That’s what I’m here for, sweetie.”
Oh yeah, Janice loves Jesus. I didn’t need her to speak His name to know. I could see it in her eyes – every person that walks up to her counter is subject to her kind, gentle spirit. I suppose that no one walks away feeling unloved. Janice makes sure of that.
In their book The Shaping of Things to Come, Michael Frost and Alan Hirsh talk about exactly what Janice lives for each day:
“When we live holy, gracious lives under the noses of our friends, neighbors, and associates, we commend an alternative reality to the one they live with every day. We don’t commend a holier-than-thou attitude. Rather, we believe if we live like Christ, we whisper into the souls of not-yet-Christians.”
So here’s to Janice, the soul whisperer. I doubt that she will ever read this or realize what an impact she made on me. Perhaps she will. Either way, I’m still amazed at how my Savior speaks to me. Even as I overpaid for a gadget likely to be outdated in a short few months, Jesus was there to remind me of the love that He wishes to share with me and with the world. He was there to remind me of the unlikely places I am to seek Him. He was there to put His arms around me and cover my soul with his peace.
And, yes… He was there to remind me to be a better steward of His money.
Gabe Holloway is a husband to Lynne, father to Sara, and a student at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is currently blogging through the loss of his unborn little girl, Annie. You can follow along at http://gabeholloway.tumblr.com or Twitter.