As usual I was hurrying as the guy approached us in the Target parking lot. Meron was in the car and I was busy trying to get Mebrate strapped in. He approached quietly with his wife and two young kids.
"This is really hard for me to ask... but we got evicted and I have nowhere to stay tonight. Could you help us out with $20 towards a hotel?"He seemed legit and humble and... well... cold. And there I stood, in our plastic credit card society, with ABSOLUTELY NO CASH on me.
I thought about how the girls and I were supposed to be heading home to hang lights outside and I said "Man - I honestly have no cash on me." I pulled my wallet out to look (mostly as a gesture of "see, I really don't") and said "I am so sorry man."
"Thanks anyways..." he said and he and his cold little family headed off. I pocketed my wallet and spun around to tighen up Mebrate and saw Meron staring at me. She hadn't buckled in. Instead she had sat staring and listening. And she was clearly upset.
"Daddy... do they not have a house for tonight?""I don't think so baby. Get buckled in honey - we gotta get going..."
"But daddy... what will they do? We need to give them money. Can't they go to a friend's house?"I guess not girl. I wish I had some money to give them..."
"But daddy... we have to..."She was getting to me. I felt that tug in my heart. I paused... I think I actually sighed... I knew what we were about to do. I pulled the girls back out the car and headed towards the ATM in the Target lobby. When I told her what we were going to get her response was:
"But I meant I wanted to give him money from my piggy bank..."Trying not to cry in the Target lobby over the ginormous size of my girl's heart, I pulled $40 out and gave each girl a $20. We caught back up with the family and I said "Hey man... my girls were so upset over you guys not having a warm place tonight. We pulled a few bucks out of the ATM for ya..."
Meron and Mebrate handed over the 2 $20's and the look on his face said it all. Confused joy I think sums it up.
We didn't hang around long - just long enough for them to tell us their son's names and what they meant. One name meant "Messenger of God" and the other one meant "Light." Then they asked the girls their names and what they meant.
The girls got all shy so I said "Meron's name means "Gift From God" and Mebrate's means "Light."
Heading back to the car it hit me... 2 girls. 2 boys. 4 names. Same meanings. Nothing but small circumstances separating us all.
We piled back in the Xterra and I called Laura on the way home. Through tears I bragged on the size of our big girl's heart while sharing the story with her mommy.
We still got the lights hung. Thanks God for that huge blessing tonight.