I just realized that I never posted my cookie parable. Actually, it’s not my parable; it’s a personal experience of a woman in our ward. I’ll try to retell it as best I can.
It was February in Dallas — a few days before Valentine’s Day, and there was absolutely no food in the house. None. Not even cold cereal without the milk. So I bundled up all three kids and l0aded them into the minivan, wrestling with two car seats, and headed to Walmart. It was bitter cold, and I did not want to be out on the icy roads, but my kids needed to be fed, so…. We did our shopping and then stopped at the McDonald’s inside the store to get Happy Meals for the kids.
There was an obviously homeless woman sitting at one of the tables, eating a little burger. She was grimy and dressed in what must have been her entire wardrobe. I was trying not to look at her as she bowed her head over her skimpy meal and said a prayer. Suddenly I got this impression that I needed to buy her a bag of cookies. I was like, no way. I’m cold, tired, I’ve got two little kids and an infant. I just want to eat and leave. Buy her a bag of cookies. I ignored it again. Buy her a bag of cookies. Okay, fine. I’ll buy her a stupid bag of stupid cookies. So I told my oldest to watch her younger brothers for a minute, and I purchased the cookies. Before I could walk over to the woman and give it to her, however, the thought came into my head Have Katie give it to her. What? No way. She’s three years old! I’ve been teaching her STRANGER DANGER! and you want me to tell her to walk up and give a bag of cookies to a complete stranger? Have Katie give it to her. Sigh. Okay.
“Katie, see that lady over there? Go give her this bag of cookies and wish her a Happy Valentine’s Day, okay?” So I’m sitting there watching my little girl walk over to a stranger because I told her to. Katie handed her the bag and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” The woman looked up in surprise and said, “Oh, thank you! But it’s not Valentine’s Day. It’s my birthday, and I just prayed to God to send me a message that he loves me.”
When I heard that, I was so glad I didn’t keep ignoring that voice in my head. I felt like an idiot. It was just a stupid little bag of McDonald’s cookies, and I’d been so reluctant to do this little thing. Here I was with a house, warm clothes, a car, food to feed my family, and I was complaining about being too cold, too tired, and too busy. I was so selfish. I know that Heavenly Father would’ve found someone else to send the message if I had refused to listen, but I would’ve missed out on a valuable experience. Because I finally heeded the promptings of the Spirit, I learned an important lesson about how much Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us, and my daughter got to share in that experience with me.
I don’t think I can add anything to that. I’m glad the mother felt comfortable sharing this experience with our Relief Society class. I love this story, and I just wanted to share it with y’all.