Friday, December 22, 2006

Saved by the bell

Tucked away in the comments to a recent post, I found reader Uncle Jim's beautiful "tale of unlikely conversion." He writes:

i just came home from 'ringing bells' at a salvation army outdoor kettle this evening in front of a large super-market ... weather: cold and wet and dreary.

only to stress the magnitude of what happened, i'll share that this is the 22nd consecutive year that i've been doing this pre-Christmas activity for the week or two before Christmas.

very typically, i'd guess that 50% of the people who pass by me on their way into or out of this super-market do not look at me as they pass by ... even with a greeting from me as they enter and a "Goodnight and Merry Christmas" to them as they depart.

a woman and her 8 - 10 yr old daughter approached ... i greeted them ... the mother scooted right on by and didn't give a look ... the daughter stopped just after passing, turned around and came back to the kettle ... the mother turned around and asked 'what are you doing?' ... the daughter did not look at her mother or respond, but reached in her coat and pulled out a small change-purse ... she opened it and dumped some small change into her hand ... she counted it and held it up and asked: 'i have 26 cents... is this enough to buy a toy for some kid? response: 'it certainly is!!'

she started to put the change in the kettle as the mother came back over to the kettle ... the little girl told her that she just helped to buy a toy for some kid - the mother started to cry...reached into her own purse and took out some paper money - i don't know the total but i saw a $5 and some $1 bills - and she put them in the kettle.

i thanked them both - wished them a merry christmas and watched them walk into the store hand-in-hand.

the little girl converted her mother's hard heart right before my eyes. best one i recall in my 22 years of ringing.

i think c s [Lewis] would be proud - i was.