“I have to have that!” exclaimed a young woman pulling a sparkling gown off the rack.
“Oh, I can’t possible live without this,” said a lady probably in her thirties.
I shook my head and sighed as my brown hair swept across my face. I had worked in this upscale boutique for about six months. It was the first week in December and I knew this was going to be a crazy season. I had seen unbelievable things happen in here. I have seen grown women screaming, crying, throwing fits and even fighting over dresses. That doesn’t even include all the younger girls. I was thirty years old, but it seemed some days were spent babysitting grownups, and this looked to be one of those days.
“Mom, I want this now!” I looked over and the young woman who said that was looking at most likely her mother. Instead of shaking her head and not giving into tantrums, as I do with my two girls who are age six and four, she was nodding her head.
“Whatever you say, honey,” she said as if defeated by an enemy. She looked overwhelmed and seemed to be deflated. It almost looked as if she was abused by her child. My heart broke for her.
“Excuse me, Miss, but I need these wrapped right now!” a pretty blonde woman said to me, handing me five designer gowns. Our prices ranged from about $500 to $2,000 and hers look more toward the expensive side.
Many of the ladies treated me as if I was their servant, but I was used to it. I would try to engage, but so many of them were oblivious to anything or anyone around them. My heart was saddened working in this job. The only reason I stayed was because I wanted to be able to pray for these ladies. Of course I couldn’t pray out loud with them, but I saw the darkness in them and was able to ask God to help them see the truth and walk in the love He has for them.
I believe there is a God shaped hole on the inside of everyone. It is a place that only He can fill. People search everywhere for things to fill that longing desire in their souls, and many of the people I see here are trying to shop for the things they think will fill that. There are days I just want to cry for these lost souls.
All of the sudden I looked up as the door opened. I said hello, but as I watched this woman walk in, I was surprised. She was wearing a plain shirt and ragged skirt. She didn’t look like anyone else in the room, which was observed by all of the women in the store. The difference I saw was that she was radiating. I couldn’t figure it out. She was frail and thin, but she had a glow around her. She looked around seemingly overwhelmed.
“Can I help you?” I asked her.
She smiled weakly and asked, “May I try on one of your beautiful dresses?”
Curiosity drove me. I felt like I knew her, even though we had just met. “I would love to help you with that. Let’s get your size real quick and go from there.”
She smiled and coughed. Her skin was pale and white. She looked like she could fall apart any minute. This certainly was an incredible lady.
“What is your name?” I inquired.
“My name is Alice,” she said sheepishly. She kept her eyes down. She didn’t seem to want to share anything else.
After we got her size in the back room, we went to look at some dresses. Alice looked at everything with wide eyes then looked at me as if asking for help.
“Could you please pick one for me? I would like a white one, please.”
“Sure,” I said. This had never happened before, but I wanted to help her. She seemed kind of lost in this place. “Is there a price point you are looking for?”
“Any price is fine,” she said with her eyes darting to the floor.
“Ok, well let’s start over here,” I said, leading her over to the side with some of the stunning dresses. “I know you will look beautiful in any of these.”
She looked through a small section and then lifted one off the rack. Her eyes glowed and said eagerly, “Can I try on this one?” She was smiling like a little child.
To my amazement, it was one of our dresses that many women bought for their weddings. We went to the back and she slipped into that dress. It looked as if it was made just for her. We both stood there shocked.
“Let’s go out and see it in better light,” I encouraged her. We walked out to the front and she gazed at herself in a full length mirror. We were both smiling, but speechless. She had the eyes of everyone in the room on her.
She opened her mouth and said, “I’m sorry I haven’t told you the truth, but I can’t buy this dress. You see, I am dying soon and I wanted to see myself how God sees me. I want to see how a beautiful He thinks I am. I felt like seeing myself in this way would give me hope and comfort of what is to come after I pass away. Sorry to mislead you, but thank you for the gift you have given me.”
I tried to hold back tears at the news, but she was radiant. “Is that how God sees me, too?” I wondered. I know He thinks I am beautiful and I will be a radiant bride for Him when He comes back, but will it be like this? I hoped so.
As she left, I said, “Alice, thank you for the wonderful gift you have given me today. I will always remember this. There is no shopping that can fulfill the longing of the heart you displayed. You have changed many lives today. God bless you.”
She walked out and the whole store’s atmosphere had changed. The other ladies were not making a spectacle of themselves. There seemed to be an understanding that something amazing had just taken place.
That day made a difference in my life, and I was already a strong believer. God showed me that there are many areas I can still learn from Him. I was reminded of the scripture that encourages us that where our heart is, there is our treasure. No shopping can fill that hole in us except for God.