Keep Your Distance…?
Yesterday Sampson and I went to Lowe’s to get a key made. I know, you can get a key made almost anywhere but I chose Lowe’s because they let dogs come with you and Sampson loves nothing more than ‘going shopping’. He was sooo excited!
Normally I park far away from the entrance so we can walk as much as possible but yesterday I drove up close to the entrance, I guess because we had already walked and I had a couple of other errands to run. Anyway, we pulled up beside a car with the hood up. I immediately had flashbacks to all the times in the not too distant past where I had the hood up on the car I was blessed with (another story) EVERY time I pulled into ANY parking lot! So immediately, I looked in the car and all around our area looking for the driver because more often times than not, not ONE PERSON would come and ask if I needed help. Still makes me want to cry when I think of it. ANYWAY, I couldn’t find a driver so Sampson and I went on in. He got to strut around for people to pet him (he thinks all humans are there just for him), got the key made and we were ready to leave. When I got back to my car, the hood was still up on the other car and still no driver could be found. I looked inside the car and it was full of boxes, clothes – obviously everything that person had was in the back seat. I got Sampson some water and said a short prayer for the driver and for a chance to help if it was needed. About that time, here came the driver.
If I were a person that judged what I saw on the outside, I would have quickly gotten in my car, locked the doors and gone on my way. This guy was a bit intimidating. He was filthy dirty and talking to himself obviously frustrated with the vehicle. I spoke first, smiling and told him I felt for him and had been in that predicament many times before. I asked him if I could help. He told me he had driven from Georgia and was on his way to his first job in 3 years as a sober man and had to be there by tomorrow or the opportunity wouldn’t be there. He said he had to leave “home” because he knew he couldn’t stay clean where he was so he opted to take a chance through some ministry in a surrounding town and just start completely over again. “God took a big chance on me so I’m taking a big chance on Him.” We talked about his car (transmission fluid leak, power steering fluid leak) – and that he thought he got it fixed and if he didn’t he could still drive it was just going to be aggravating because he’d have to stop often to refill the fluid levels. He smiled and said, “Hey, ma’am, I’ve made it this far, no way I’m gonna quit now, I’m almost there!”
I found out he spent the last of his money he had buying fluids and a couple of tools to fix his car so I gave him the little bit of cash I had, prayed with him and wished him well.
The points/lessons of this encounter are endless but the one that stands out for me is this: Because of my experience in a like situation I had a choice to make: treat the stranger in need like I HAD BEEN treated or treat the stranger in need like I WANTED TO be treated. I chose the latter. Had I based my actions on what I SAW, I wouldn’t have heard his “God-story” and would have missed MY blessing!
I know it’s a mean old world out there. Even walking down the sidewalk and making eye contact with someone may be taking a risk to be hurt in some form or another. I think those of us who call ourselves Christians should be prayerfully, discernfully (not sure that’s an official word but it works!) willing to be what (and who) Jesus commissioned us to be – hope, encouragement and comfort to those we meet. Did I change that man’s life? Probably not. Did I make him smile and relax a bit? You bet I did. Mission accomplished. Not only that, it felt so good!
Keep my distance? I’m so happy I didn’t. I was reminded once again that our greatest blessings come when we make an effort to bless other people!