Ay-yi-yi – the busyness of life! We’ve just all got way too much to do, and not enough time, right?
Here we go, running into the store to grab a few things and racing to the check-out line: Which line is the shortest? You rush to get your place and then you realize that the line right next to you is actually moving a lot quicker. Should you change lanes or wait?
OK, I’m going for it! You rush into the other lane before someone else can get there, and then you watch in despair as the checker can’t find the right code for what the person is buying and then they have to call their manager over.
Meanwhile you see the lane you were originally in now moving at top-notch speed – but there’s too many people in line now to switch back now!
Or you’re in a hurry to get home from work – busy night planned! You check all your road maps on your smartphone to find out which way is moving faster and you quickly head in that direction. The problem? Everyone else is now going in that direction too, so it ends up probably taking longer that if you would’ve gone the way you originally go!
Bottom line: This is life, so we better start doing our best to slow down a bit to take a look around at what’s really important.
Many years ago I was reminded of this valuable lesson. It was summer break, and I was working part-time. Fortunately I was able to take Jeffrey to work with me since my boss was one of the nicest guys ever (Gary, my husband)!
It was close to lunch time when Jeffrey and I were heading to the office, so I decided to stop and get us something to eat at McDonald’s. I told Jeffrey: You need to hurry up and eat because I need to get to work!
So as we sat eating I began to look around and all of a sudden noticed a man who appeared to be homeless who kept coming into McD’s to sit for a few minutes, and then go back outside and stand by the door. He kept repeating this over and over, but no one was really paying attention to him.
I guess the thing that really stood out about him is that he wasn’t like the typical transient that we usually saw, always bugging someone for money. He never bothered anyone, but he just looked so alone and lost.
I suddenly realized I was having a hard time taking my eyes off him as his despair just seemed to sink deep into my soul. One time he happened to look up when I was staring at him and his face was so sad – kind of like a puppy who just wanted someone to love him.
I knew right then that we needed to do something, but I also knew from past experiences not to just give him money because you never really know what they’re going to use it for.
So as I waited for Jeffrey to finish his meal I started praying – Lord what should we do?
When Jeffrey got done eating, we got up, and as we were heading out we passed right by the table where he was sitting. His eyes were downcast; he was just staring at the floor.
I touched his shoulder, asking if he wanted something to eat. He looked right at me and nodded, “yes,” so I asked him to come with me up to the counter and to order whatever he wanted and that we would pay for it. He thanked me sincerely, and as we left him waiting for his order, I touched his shoulder again and said, “God bless you.”
What a good lesson this was for me. Not just to remind me to “slow down” – but also to help me teach little Jeffrey who, of course, wanted to know why I had bought a meal for a man we didn’t even know.
As we continued our drive to work, I found myself praying again: This time that this lonely sad man somehow saw me as a ray of light – certainly not of my own making – but because of Jesus. That somehow he would cry out to God and ask for help, and that one day I’ll see him in heaven.
Sometimes God needs to have us walk by a mirror to really see clearly…