I was driving north on College Avenue today when I saw the mother and her daughter scurrying along the sidewalk. The little girl had a blanket wrapped around her and the mother was trying to walk and keep it wrapped around her daughter. It is bitter out there today. It hurts to breathe, it’s so cold. Something in that picture of the little girl in the blanket stirred my heart. Before I knew what I was doing, I yanked on my steering wheel and made a quick U-turn. I had a warm coat. I have a couple warm coats and I certainly could do without this one. So what if it was 5 sizes too big for this little girl; it was a wool coat and she was a cold, little girl.
As I drove south, my eyes darted from side to side to see where they had gone. There was a gas station close to where I had seen them walking and it was there that I saw the mother and her daughter jumping into a car. Being a run-down neighborhood, I was surprised to see it was a nice car. A Volkswagon something or other. I pulled up right next to them so they couldn’t avoid me. (I have this defect of character in that I can be rather intrusive like this.) They looked over at this big tank that I drive that was now 2 inches from their door and rolled down their window. I was met with an attractive older woman at the wheel, with the mother I had seen walking her daughter sitting in the passenger seat, and the girl wrapped in the blanket in the back seat with a fluffy pink coat on. I said, “Oh, I saw the little girl walking down the street with the blanket and I thought maybe she didn’t have a coat so I wanted to give her mine. But I see she has a coat.”
The mother leaned over and I saw that she had huge tears rolling down her face. I’m not sure if it was from the cold or if she was truly crying. I guessed they were “real” tears b/c her face looked a bit swollen and her eyes red. She said, “Thank you. She was just extra cold this morning.”
Me: “I understand. It’s awful out here today.”
The driver: “Thank you so much for stopping.”
Me: “You are so welcome. God bless you.”
Driver: “God bless YOU.”
I drove off and I started crying. If you’ve read any of my other blogs recently, you’ll see I have been having a hard time feeling my feelings lately. But today I felt them. Yet I wasn’t sure what I was feeling or why. It was a sadness of some sort. Then I realized that I had obeyed God’s prompting to turn around, even if the girl didn’t need the coat. At first, I thought, ‘Well, if SHE didn’t need my coat, then who does?” Obviously, God wants me to give this coat to someone in need. Yet, to give the coat away would have been all about me. It would have been me, the Pharisee, praying loudly in the town square for all to hear how holy I am. But the girl didn’t need the coat and apparently neither did any other “poor soul” along the way home.
What God wanted was not to clothe the cold with my coat today. He wanted to clothe me with a soft heart of obedience. So, I felt that tug on my heart for that mother for the tears she shed, whether from the cold or from the sadness. I was able to have compassion b/c I had finally come to terms that although the painting of my life is done in muted tones right now rather than bright, cheerful colors, it is the artwork of the Master nonetheless and this is how he designed this particular piece of work for this particular moment in my little life. What a privilege to stand back today and to feel what he has for me. To feel sadness without going under. To feel peace without mistaking it for boredom. To take the next right step hand in hand with God rather than on my own.
I was even able to get outside my prideful, entitled ego with a client. It was as if I took what I felt was a personal attack and let it fly off into the air. I felt light again today. I was able to see these clients not as the pushyadown types I had them pegged for, but as children of the same God I love. These hardcore business types are no more than children, who are loved so much by their God, whether they know it or not. It doesn’t matter. It’s who they are – men and women created in the image of God. And who am I to bash them in my thoughts just because they don’t agree with me.
Yes, my soul and heart can be wretched wastelans, but thanks be to God that He has redeemed me from the pit and works in me despite my own selfish and egotistical leanings.
May you be filled with a measure of fullness that comes from knowing Jesus – today and everyday.