I’ve had a few of them and the most recent occurred about a couple of weeks ago.
I was at the gas station, filling up before work that day. The attendant was a familiar face and we have often chatted about guy stuff like trucks and wheels and other pass-the-time stuff. Nothing too deep.
He seemed as though he was getting thinner over the last couple of years…..my judgment led me to think it was probably drugs or something….OH HOW EASY IT IS TO JUDGE PEOPLE THAT WE DON’T EVEN KNOW!
Come to find out, he’s been battling some form of kidney disease and it’s led to him losing like 150 lbs. in the last year or two. He explained that it just kind of happened, that a lot of blood has been drawn and that they’re still trying to figure things out. He said it would kill him eventually. To twist my heart even more, he added that he’s ready to die, to go home to heaven. When I asked “why,” he mentioned that his 2 year old daughter died in his arms about 30 years ago….she was involved in a horrible car accident. He missed her very much and he wanted to hold his daughter again. Man, what do you say to someone……there’s really nothing magical to offer during those moments. The only things that I could provide were 2 listening ears and prayers to a God who is bigger than even this traumatic, horrible story.
I left the gas station with a heavy heart for this guy, for his daughter and for his family…..
God sometimes uses other’s tragedies to speak to us, doesn’t He?! Like a wake-up call, we’re suddenly jolted from our own selfish worry-filled lives and our perspective tightens and focuses on very real, important things…..such as life, death, health, family, priorities, faith, etc. In this case, I was reminded that our human bodies are so stinking fragile! My friend’s condition could happen to any of us. We’re not invincible and that’s humbling.
Another important lesson pushed it’s way to the surface….being emotionally present and available for other people is SO imperative to being a human being! Even if that desperate, hurting person is a stranger or acquaintance or somebody of “lower status.” It doesn’t matter. God has called us to be loving, to place other’s needs before our own. To listen.
Being present and available doesn’t mean that we need all the answers or solutions. We just need to truly sympathize, that’s it! We need to let our hearts break for others, even if it’s uncomfortable. God takes care of the rest. He has a way of radiating love through us…..we just need to be there. To be open.
There are folks hurting all around us. It’s easy to miss God’s open doors to be an encouragement or a shoulder to cry on. Please join me in seeking those moments and opportunities….to being open to them. I’m slowly discovering that this is what being alive is truly about.