Friday, December 09, 2005
Cheeseburgers for Breakfast
God had to kick my butt this morning. I really hate when that happens. It happened like this...
I had an Eye Dr. appointment this morning, you see, and as I left the little office on K Street, I hurried through the cold to my car, waiting for me at the meters. The sun was bright and I shielded my dilated eyes with the Bible I had brought with me (in case I got stuck in the waiting room). I was about to cross the street, when a middle age lady in a wheelchair caught my attention.
"Excuse me, miss, could you spare any change?"
I never carry cash or change, I thought, but homeless people don’t know that. I didn’t want to be mean, though.
"Why," I asked her, "What is it that you need?"
"I’m just trying to get something to eat."
I noticed that half of her left leg was missing. The bare stump poked out over the edge of her wheelchair into the crisp morning air. I had some peanut butter crackers in my pocket, which I offered to her and she gladly accepted. At least she wouldn’t be starving. I continued on my way, hands in my pockets, disappointed that my intended breakfast was gone. Well, at least it was for a good cause, I told myself.
As I continued on my way, I looked down at the Bible I carried in my hands. You know, I thought, I’d had more to share with her than food. I totally missed that opportunity. Well, I’ve got a whole year of opportunities ahead of me. I’ll just have to do better next time.
That’s when I felt it... that still, small, voice for which this blog is named. You know what I mean. That nagging feeling inside... "She’s still there. You could go back and talk to her."
Nooooooo! I don’t want to! That would be weird! Besides, I’m hungry, I’m cold, and I’m halfway back to my car. I already helped her out. I shouldn’t have to do anything else. Hmm, it would be so easy to ignore this voice and just keep walking.
I stopped in my tracks. Well, I tried to rationalize to myself, maybe I’m just feeling guilty. I should pray about this. So, I did (knowing full well I was stalling the inevitable).
"Lord, what should I do?"
"You know what to do. Go back there."
Ok. I will. Sigh.
I crossed the street in the opposite direction, feeling somewhat foolish. What would I say to this woman?
"Hi... I’m back... You know, I don’t carry cash, but I do have my ATM card... I’m hungry too... how about if I buy us both lunch?"
Her face lit up like a lightbulb.... "Yeah! That would be great!"
We introduced ourselves, and at Wendy’s request, we headed to Café Dolce for hamburgers. She was so nice, and grateful. It was really a pleasure to bring so much joy to her day. I found out that she was just evicted from her apartment, and has been staying at the Salvation Army overflow center. I found out that her mom actually lives here in town, but hasn’t returned her calls. She has two daughters, but they don’t contact her either. Recently, someone actually stole her wheelchair - the one she was now using was borrowed and uncomfortable. There are no brakes, and when she wants to stop or slow down, she has to grab the wheels with her bare, dirty, blistered hands.
During our lunch and conversation, I tried to think of a Bible verse I could share with her to encourage her. Nothing specific came to mind that felt right, though. I asked her if she went to church, but she changed the topic and seemed a little uncomfortable. I really wanted to share the hope and good news of Jesus Christ, but I didn’t want to hit her over the head with something she wasn’t ready to hear or accept. So, when we were done, I just told her that God loved her and was looking out for her, and prayed to myself that somehow she would be blessed through my actions today, that somehow she would know that God really does care, loves her, and wants her.
You might be impressed that I would take the time to buy lunch for a crippled homeless lady. It’s not something that most people do everyday. But honestly, I’m kind of ashamed of myself. I pray often that God would love others through me, that He would help me to see others through His eyes, that I would love them with His heart. And there I was, face to face with one of His beloved children, and it didn’t even occur to me to do anything more than throw some crackers at her and leave.
God clearly told me to go back to her... and I argued, selfishly, because it was uncomfortable and inconvenient for me. Yes, I did go back, but I shouldn’t have had to. I should have already been there. It was through sheer obedience that I returned, but once I did, I was filled with the joy of loving someone the way Jesus would have, personally, face to face, sharing a meal and conversation. I’ve got a long way to go to become the kind of person I want to be, the kind of person that doesn’t have to be instructed to be generous. The kind of person that isn’t annoyed by the poor and needy, the kind of person that appreciates the opportunity to show Christ’s love while eating cheeseburgers for breakfast.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Cheeseburgers for Breakfast
I wrote this about a year and a half ago, just before I was to leave for the world race. This is one of my favorite posts... I hope you are encouraged by it as well.