Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Lesson...

I loved this recent post by Caryn Carroll, daughter of my ministry partner, Donnie, and his sweet wife, Lisa:

Tuesday. It's raining. I'm leaving Parkland to meet my sister and niece for lunch. I start my car. It hesitates. It jerks. It runs. Whew! I turn onto Inwood Road to join bumper-to-bumper traffic in a highly congested and miserable construction zone. My car jerks. It keeps running. Red light. Green light. Bummer. It dies. Did I mention that its raining? Did I mention that there's tons of traffic? Did I mention I'm in an intersection?

What's a girl to do? Restart it, I suppose. Its dies. So, I restart it a couple of times until I'm as off to the side as one can be on a no-shoulder, high-traffic, under-construction intersection. Then, of course! Call Dad! What's the problem? Out of gas. (I know- that's a dumb problem that shouldn't have ever happened.) He advises me start my car again, coast for as long as possible, start my car again, coast as long as possible, make people angry on the road, and try to crawl to the gas station about .2 miles away. After a few honks, angry expressions, and a very slow crawl, I make it to the entry of the gas station. Problem: it's a pretty steep entry. By now my car is crawling for about 2 seconds with every key twist in the ignition. Hmm... but I try. Nope. Try again... YES????

All of a sudden two men ran towards my car in the steady rain and started pushing against my bumper. We made it about half way up and then the dear car started rolling backwards. Then, two more men ran towards us and got behind the car and pushed. After a couple of attempts we finally made it to the beautiful gas pump!

So, who were these gallant men to rescue this damsel in distress in the tempest? Their faces I knew well. I pass them almost everyday in that same intersection. They are the men who walk along the streets lined with cars asking for food, beverages, and money. They are the men who find shelter from the rain under that overpass.

Many times I have seen them, shared a smile, but hoped that they wouldn't come greet me at my car window. Many times I have driven past, thinking to myself "I'm working hard, really hard, in grad school trying to feed myself and keep a roof over my head. Surely they could improve their living situations with a little bit more effort." These were the faces of men I judged without knowing their life story... without knowing their name. The men who are poor, unclean, hungry, and thirsty, the men who have been rejected by me (and countless others) are the men who were willing to get their clothes wet and willing to help someone in need. How grateful I am to these men who are slower to pass judgment and quicker to lend a hand. And how humbled I am by their grace and generosity.