The main hub for our church’s neighborhood is a family-owned grocery store called Compton’s. Over the years, Compton’s has become a partner for us in our food ministries. When Nashville was flooded in 2010, the store set up a giant box in its entrance to receive food, household goods, and personal items for our church to distribute to flood victims.
Through this I got to know the manager, Dolly. When we came to pick up the donations, Dolly pulled out money from her own purse to help. She called out to the rest of the employees to chip in, too. I collected over one hundred dollars in a heartbeat.
The next December, we ordered hams for our Christmas food box delivery mission through Compton’s at cost. When I came to pick up the one hundred hams, there was a lot of excitement at the store. They had never had anybody buy meat in that quantity before. Together we all felt like Santa Claus!
Now, I love ham. Just the idea of driving around with a thousand pounds of ham in my SUV is like Christmas morning, and it had me smiling.
As I was paying the bill, though, I noticed Dolly in the manager’s booth. She was not smiling. She was crying as she was trying to go through invoices. She was eight months pregnant.
After I had paid, I walked over to the booth and asked her what was going on. She told me that her blood pressure was really high and she was probably going to have to be on bed rest for the rest of her pregnancy. She was so worried about the baby, she just could not focus on her work.
I asked if I could pray with her. She nodded her head vigorously and tearfully. We both kind of leaned in so as to not be too obvious. After all, this was her workplace and she was the boss. I did not want to embarrass her in any way. She took my hand, and we bowed our heads. I prayed for health, peace, and faith for her and for good and timely delivery of the baby. After the prayer, she took a deep breath and asked, “It’s going to be okay, isn’t it?” Her voiced quavered. “Yes,” I said.
A couple of months passed, and when I entered the store to pick up something for dinner, there was Dolly awaiting me with a huge smile and a huge hug. The delivery had gone great, and she and the baby were both healthy.
Some things in life are even better than ham.