Despite her hunched posture, the woman approached our table quickly. She focused on the girls, stooping lower to look directly in their faces and say hello. The girls, mostly absorbed in their lunch, glanced up and uttered shy smiles in return.
The woman beamed. She straightened, clapped her hands together, and looked at me. "Aren't they just wonderful? Aren't little children a gift from God?"
I never had met this woman before, but I already wished I knew her.
As we ate, we spoke from adjacent tables. She overflowed with kindness and compliments. She told me that she was eighty-four. Twice.
When she finished her meal, I carried her tray to the trash can looked into her wrinkled face. "I hope that I'm as beautiful as you when I'm eighty-four."
And I meant it. She gripped my hands in hers momentarily and then hugged me.
Days later, something about my meeting with this woman still touches my heart, breaks me down, and fills me up.
Our brief conversation reminded me how quickly time passes. How I've already witnessed my daughters transform from newborns to toddlers to little girls. How this cycle never stops. How we continually advance through different phases of life, even if we're trying to drag our feet or spur it along. How one day -- Lord willing -- I'll be watching a young mother eating lunch with her children and letting my own memories flood back.
Our meeting reinforced how I want to radiate that type of unbridled warmth to those around me. How I want to be a woman who calls out God's goodness when I see it.
Yes, I want to be that beautiful.
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