The most surprising thing that occurred on Thursday was NOT that we gave away two puppies. No, indeed. As a matter of fact, they've been going like hotcakes; and currently we only have three out of the original ten!
On Thursday morning, Daniel came with his dad and our friend Sarai to check out the puppies...
On Thursday night, we had another set of visitors. The Johnson family came to look at the puppies...
...but our friend Colleen was more interested in the other baby around here. ;-)
As wonderful as those two events were, they weren't the most surprising part of Thursday. But this was...
I had dropped Josiah off at the barber shop for Jeff to take him to his speech and debate club meeting, and then I had dropped David off at a rehearsal with his Junior Strings ensemble. After that, the other kids and I headed for McDonald's to grab a bite to eat while we waited for David to finish. We ordered our food and pulled up to the window to pay, only to hear the girl there say, "The car in front of you paid your bill. You don't owe anything!"
WHAT????????? I had heard that such things happened, that sometimes complete strangers, out of the goodness of their hearts, decided to bless others in that way. But it had certainly never happened to me like that!!!
"Are you serious?" I asked the cashier, not really believing my ears. But when she repeated it and when I looked at the driver of the truck in front of me and saw the big smile on the face of the older gentlemen who was driving it, the reality began to sink in.
"THANK YOU SO MUCH!!" I leaned out the open window of my van and called to the other driver, hoping that my tone of voice would somehow convey just how grateful I was for such a pleasant surprise.
"You're welcome!" he called back. "Have a great day!"
"Thanks!! You, too!!" I responded; and then with a final wave, he drove off.
I was still a little stunned, and the kids were, too. As we passed out Happy Meals and opened bottles of chocolate milk and put straws in drinks and made sure everyone had a napkin, we marveled and rejoiced at what had just happened.
And then I began to think a little more about it...
I realized, after some pondering, that there were three major events--and a whole string of smaller ones--that led me to be in that exact spot at that exact time and be blessed in that way. First of all, we don't normally go out for food on Thursday evenings; instead, we come home and eat a late supper with my dad after David's rehearsal. But because I knew the Johnsons were coming over to look at the puppies, I had decided we'd better eat somewhere earlier. That was the first decision that placed us there.
Secondly, I was asking the kids where they wanted to go, and half of them said Burger King and half said McDonald's. They tried to get Benjamin to break the tie, but he wasn't much help. ;-) The next option was a coin toss, and by using that method, we made the decision to go to McDonald's. I can't help but think that God was involved in that coin toss. ;-)
Third, the McDonald's we went to has two drive-through lanes where you can order, and then you merge into a single lane to pay and pick up your food. I was heading toward the second drive-through lane when a car, coming the opposite direction, swung in front of me to get to place their order first. It seemed a little rude to me, but I wasn't in a great big hurry, so I slowed down and let the lady go ahead of me. "It's OK," I thought, "I can wait." And because she went ahead of me, that put me in the position to be the car behind the one who paid for me.
I'm assuming that the man in that truck had made up his mind to pay for whichever car came behind him. Maybe that's an inaccurate assumption, but I think it's probably true. When we had merged from the two lanes into one, I had noticed him looking back at my van; and the thought crossed my mind, "I wonder why he's looking at us more than people in a check-out lane normally look at each other!" Being married to Jeff has taught me a thing or two ;-) and I assessed the situation for danger and planned what I would do if I needed to get out of there in a hurry...which seems really silly now, but that's what I was doing. And then to pull up and find out that the older man had paid for our meal--well, it caught me off guard completely.
No doubt about it, it was the biggest surprise all day long! And I was so encouraged by it that I drove away thinking, "I wonder how I can encourage others today?"
So then I came home and gave a puppy to the Johnsons! :) It's a gift that lasts longer than a Big Mac!!! :)