Originally published by Morgen Reynolds on blog: Peacock Anchor Starfish
The day before Thanksgiving, and all through the town, the people were shopping, not looking around….
This was me earlier today. I was rushing to get from the mall, (where I had been selfishly shopping for myself – sorry hubby, it’s for an event!), to the grocery store as one of the many phone calls I had received while at the mall was inviting me to a lovely Thanksgiving lunch with clients and friends….which also asked me to bring a side dish or two…for about 40 people. Jesus, we need a loaves and fish kinda miracle here! But that’s not really the point of the story, as God was quick to show me.
As I marched through the parking lot, head down, nose buried in my phone and texting away, an older man walked towards me and asked, “Miss, could you make a call for me?” I mumbled, “no, sorry”, and kept walking. WAIT! I know, it’s horrible, but before you judge me, here’s my reason, you can decide if it’s lame or not. First of all, I wasn’t really listening, I was thinking about my texting; second of all, the last time I stopped to help a guy, it turned out he was just hitting on me and left when I told him I was happily married. (Well, after I said no several times and repeated that I was married, not single, no, married.) So when not in the safety of a coffee shop, I tend to ignore all male inquiries and keep walking. But then as I walked to my car, I felt convicted – I have been talking to God a lot lately about the privilege of responsibility. About how if we are ABLE to work, ABLE to pay, ABLE to help, then we should do so with a glad heart, because whenever we are given more of anything…it comes with more responsibility.
Often, I say to God, Lord, I am grateful to just feel “normal”. To be able to get in a car and drive myself where I want to go without much pain or second thought. There was a time when just getting out of bed was too painful. Where riding in a car was difficult and fraught with uncertainty – would I be ok, or have to turn around and come home? The fact that I can buy myself a coffee, and put gas in my car without counting out the price in change…there was a time in my life when that wasn’t the case. I’m not too proud to say that I let my life get very hard before I figured out that I was worth taking care of just by being me. I didn’t have to earn that worth by working harder, sacrificing more…because Jesus already gave more than I ever could. And that truth has set me free to heal, and to hope. I’m able to give because I’ve been given to, and this year, that is what Thanksgiving is about for me.
So, I turned on my heel and looked for the man in the parking lot, another man walked by him, but he didn’t ask that guy for help – he had asked only me. He got to a car, and sitting in passenger seat was an even older woman, small and frail with snow-white hair. Before the man could get in, I hurried over, glancing at my phone and it’s 17% charge. “Sir! Sir, I’m sorry, I didn’t really hear you before, are you ok?”
“I’m fine!”, he grumbled, obviously miffed as he waved me off. But I wanted to be sure, “Sir, I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention, did you need to make a call?” He paused, one leg in the car, and looked at me across the roof, “Well….sure, yes, if you don’t mind.” He was still not smiling, but I was invited in. “Sure, no problem, it’s low on juice but…”, I walked over awkwardly, still feeling guilty I hadn’t just said yes in the first place. When did I start coming from a place of no? Well, I know when, but that’s another story. I used to be much more open to the Spirit, and ready for random interactions, and I miss it.
After the man had made his call – which turned out to be to his sister or something asking if she was ready to do “mom’s hair”, double conviction to the gut – I was walking back to my car when a young women about my age said halting, “excuse me, can you help me?”
Aha! God was giving me a chance to redeem myself. This time I said yes. It turns out her car had died, and so had her cell phone. Lucky for her, my car battery died twice last month! Haha, I was prepared, I knew how to use the jumper cables and generator in our trunk. I showed her and her energetic 7-year-old how to pop the hood, fiddle with the latch, jumped the car, and it worked!
As I stood there trying to explain that the car needed to run for awhile, I was kicking myself for not downloading that Spanish-tutor when my husband suggested it. Whoops. “Donde esta la casa?” I asked like the gringa I am, “Oh, far!”, she replied, but then mentioned the name of the street we live off, so she really meant on the other side of town, not far as in another city. I re-explained to go straight home, and then let it run for a bit before turning it off, gave her my number and explained I lived close by, and we exchanged names before parting ways. She was gone before I pulled out, and I continued on the way to the store, where even an employee, another woman my age, commented on all the yummy-organic-goodness in my cart that would hopefully be enough for tomorrow. I swiped my card without worry, knowing we could afford it.
To whom much is given, much is expected. We may not have a lot by some standards, but to us it is more than enough, and we are privileged to share.