• Debra Oaks Coe

Faith in Action

Updated: Jun 21


Several years ago, I was shopping with a friend near a large military base. As we walked by the fast-food establishments, we heard a mother start yelling at her four young children. The mother wasn’t even finished passing out the food when one of the children spilled their entire soda everywhere.


I looked the other way and started walking faster in a different direction. My friend did the opposite. She made a beeline to grab a bunch of napkins. She then started helping clean up. Out of shame I followed and started helping too. I’ve rarely seen someone so grateful as that mother was.


My friend began asking the mother about her day. This mother just melted and calmed down as she told us her husband was in the Army and deployed for a year to Iraq. She had no family living nearby to help.


I don’t remember the rest of what she told us, but I do remember that it clearly would have been a very stressful day for any mother. As she continued to listen with empathy and understanding, my friend quickly wrote down her phone number and handed it to the mother.


The mother apologized both to us and to her children. Not one of us will be a perfect parent, but all of us can teach our children how to make amends and do better through our example as this mother did.


That day I was the one who learned the most about how to do a better job of being more Christlike. Initially, I certainly acted more like the Levite or the Priest than the Good Samaritan.


I love the words of the second verse of the song “As sisters in Zion” where it says: “The Errand of angels was given to women.”


We all need mothering from time to time. I’ve been privileged to know many women who have looked for ways to make the world a better place by simply finding ways to mother and lift others. ** For Context: About a year before this spilled soda event, several soldiers in Iraq from our base were killed in a rocket attack. This mother's stress and fear were very valid. Also at the time this happened, my own daughter was deployed to Iraq which made me all the more sympathetic to this mother once I took the time to understand her circumstances.

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