It was the serendipity of it all. The way I wrote about the geese collecting outside my cottage window after a storm and then she commented about the book she was reading.  “But this reminds me of that book, and of how little in life goes the way we had planned, and how opening yourself up is the best way of all…” Deidra said.

It was like threading a bead on the necklace of moments with His imprint attached. I wore the words around my neck for days.

Life’s dealt a bevy of disappointments over the past year. Dreams swirl down the drain in the turned backs of the faithful, leaving fragments of soapy bubbles clinging the sides of the sink. And I think about her words. How little in life goes the way we plan, but opening yourself up is the best way of all.

I’m practicing this like a daily sacrament at the altar.

I step into the musty smell of floor to ceiling paperbacks, ask the saleslady with the fuschia lips if they have that book, the one that sparked the comment thread. She tells me it shows up on the computer that they have one copy. It’s not on the shelf. We scour the back of the store, the middle, the back room. Nothing.

She puts me on the list, in case someone brings in a used copy.

And as I place my stack on the counter, behind the tourist with the ponytail and Coppertone perfume, the saleslady holds up the book I was looking for, in the tourist’s stack. “Is this the one you were looking for,” she smiles over the top of our heads.

It’s why we couldn’t find it, it was already on the counter waiting to go home with someone else.

The tourist turns to me and says, “Here you can have it.”

No, I tell her shaking my head. You take it, I have plenty to read.

She insists, pushing the book into my hands. And I take it. Tell her its my birthday and I’ll consider her kindness as a gift. Her children sigh in unison, like their getting a gift too.

And that graceful gesture of a stranger, it was like the play of kindness acted out for an audience of strangers, Jesus in the leading role. That saleslady, she remembers it in her eyes, every time I go to the store.

Because little in life goes the way we plan, but opening yourself up is the best way of all. You never know what the kindness of Jesus might look like on you today.

Joining the Five Minute Friday community with the one word prompt: Graceful. Let’s be honest, it was a tad over five minutes for me today.