It had been a hard day. A series of panic attacks left me feeling drained. I escaped the hubbub of the Perron house to the nearest Tim Hortons, equipped with a novel, audiobook, notebook, and all the pens I could possibly want. I just needed some time alone.
As I ordered my coffee, I noticed her sitting on the near wall – a woman wearing a hijab. My heart pounded in me. Since the mosque shooting, the Muslim people of Quebec had taken a special place in my heart and prayers. I wished I had something to give her, some way of showing that she was loved amidst all the hatred that surrounded us.
After dropping my bag and coat at a table, the Spirit tugged on my heart. I returned to the counter and asked for a 5$ gift card.
I walked up to the lady, rehearsing what I would say in my head. When I got her attention, I passed her an envelope with the Tims Card inside.
“Je veux vous donner un petit cadeau pour dire que je suis désolé pour ce qui est arrivé à la mosquée.*” The woman stood and pulled me into a hug, her eyes moist in wonder. I returned to my seat without another word.
I felt a joy in my heart, but also a strange restlessness. I had given this gift of love with no strings attached, no ulterior motives. This was no ploy to get her to listen to a spiel about the gospel. It was an honest gift. Yet this was not a gift from me. This was a gift from Jesus. But she had no idea. As far as she knew, I was just a good person.
Jesus, somehow, let her know that this is a gift from you!
A few minutes later, I was hungry for a muffin. I reached for my debit card. It was gone. Groaning, I searched my pockets, my purse, my wallet, glancing under the table and flipping through my books. A thought hit me.
The Tims card.
I must have accidently stuck my debit card in the envelope with the gift card! Embarrassed, I walked back to the Muslim woman.
“Excuse me, I’m missing my debit card.” I explained my situation, but the envelope I gave her only included the gift card. Before I walked away, the woman took my hand.
“Your gift touched me so much! I was so shocked that I never even asked for your name!” I sat down with her and introduced myself. I explained that I was a Christian and a travel blogger. I told her all about my experience at the mosque and how God had moved my heart to love the Muslim people.
“I need you to understand,” I said, my hand over the gift card. “This is not a gift from me. This is a gift from Jesus.”
The woman explained how Muslims also believed in Jesus, but they believed he was a prophet. I didn’t have the energy to rebuttal her, so I just listened. Finally, I said goodbye, hugging her one last time. I later found my debit card in a pocket of my purse I hadn’t checked.
In my last blog post, I shared how my experience visiting the mosque left me angry and confused. But God was not finished. Even though I was not ready to share love with the Muslim people I visited at the mosque, He opened my eyes so I could be more ready to love this woman, even allowing me to misplace my debit card so she could know that this love I shared was from Him.
We live in a time of chaos, confusion, and hatred. The mosque shooting proves this. As Christians, we have a responsibility to act out of love to the hated and marginalised. As the Spirit guides us, we must show them love.
* I want to give you a little gift to say that I’m sorry about what happened at the mosque.