I noticed the pink Hello Kitty coffee cup first--the unmistakable tilting bow resting on the kitten's ear. No mouth. I stood in the meandering line at the grocery store. Buying decadent pumpkin bars and other Thanksgiving fare was going to take awhile. I smiled at the Hello Kitty lady. I wanted to keep reading the People magazine as I waited, but the Hello Kitty lady interrupted, "I saw you looking at my coffee cup. I'm obsessed with Hello Kitty stuff." It was then I observed the gray sweatshirt--Hello Kitty spelled out down one of the sleeves, and the kitten's unforgettable face emblazoned on the front. The woman turned to face me, and when she did, automatically smoothed the gentle mound of her abdomen, almost like petting the cat icon's head. "Yeah, I'm hoping the baby's a girl. I want to decorate the nursery in all things Hello Kitty." Then before I could close the pages of the People magazine, the Hello Kitty lady pulled down her lower lip. We were so close I could see the French manicure, the white tips contrasting with the pink lining of her lip. At first I didn't know what was happening, what she was doing. But I leaned just slightly forward and saw the teal-colored miniature head of Hello Kitty tattooed inside her lower lip. I shook my head in disbelief. "I know," she said and patted her lower lip with those French tips and chuckled, "It's true. I love Hello Kitty." At that moment the Hello Kitty lady gasped, "Sorry, I've been talking so much, I haven't been paying attention to the groceries." And when she bent over to remove the Tide from the bottom of her cart, there displayed across black yoga pants were the words "Hello Kitty."
I didn't think much about the Hello Kitty lady until later on that day as I was dusting. Sometimes while dusting, to break up the monotony, I fish out something in one of the many jars I have in my house. Blue ginger jars, mostly. I'm not a fan of filing, so often place quotes, ideas, thoughts, questions, Scripture that have collected in drawers or pockets or at the bottom of my purses, in the jars. I put down my dust cloth, removed the top and reached into a jar. Written on my scrap of paper was this question: "Are you ready to become what you want to see?"
The question made me think of the Hello Kitty lady. She loved Hello Kitty, and she was becoming what she wanted to see.
What about me? What did I want to become?
I came up with one word. Grace. This is the quality I want to pervade my life. This is the word I would like to sew onto my clothing, that I would like to tattoo on the inside of my lip. I want to be a conduit of grace-filled response to family, friends, colleagues, clients, strangers--to myself.
I fail at this desire. I get stuck, literally, on the couch having eaten too much sugar and bingeing on TV. No grace for myself. Or I won't put forth effort to go buy a sandwhich for the person who is begging at the front of the library. I'd rather be warm and check out books. No grace for the stranger. Or I yell at my husband, because I'm frustrated with my workload and take it out on him. No grace for my family. Or I judge a client because they used cocaine again. No grace for my clients. I don't return the text. "Too tired," I say. No grace for my friends.
I've a long way to go to see what I want to become.
I used to believe that I just attracted eccentric people like the Hello Kitty lady--perfect strangers who strike up conversations with me in public places. Now I'm more prone to believe that God brings these people into my life, to continue His process of "becoming" in me.
...we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.~ from Romans 5:5 (The Message)