Ya just really never know what people are going through or what they have to do on a daily basis just to get from point A to point B. I feel like I am often so busy with my own life that I just close my eyes to what others have going on until...God throws them right down in front of me and says, "PAY ATTENTION!"
Several weeks ago I attended a Cancer Ministry meeting because the professor giving the talk asked if I could make his books available to the group. Sitting at the book table I noticed a woman who I know does not go to our Church but who I recognized from the Bookstore. As the meeting came to an end around 8:45 pm, I noticed the woman sitting and eating snacks and drinking tea. Everyone left except the two ladies in charge of the meeting. I asked them if they knew the woman or how she got there and they said she had called and asked the times but that was all. So, here I go. "Excuse me, Ms. Booker?" "Brooks." "Oh yes, Ms. Brooks. Do you have a ride home?" "The bus." "What time is the bus?" "The last bus is at 9." "Oh, it's 8:45. Where do you get the bus?" "Down the hill." "Would you like a ride?" "Yes." So, here we go.
"I'm just down the way. You okay?" "Yes." "Ms. Brooks, are you sure the bus is coming?" "Yes. But sometimes they don't see me and they pass me right by." "What do you do?" "It's the last bus so I just sit there." Now I'm thinking...sit there until the morning? As in when my father wanders up here to the Chapel at 4:30 am and finds that I just left you here??? "Ms. Brooks, where do you live?" "answered" "I can take you home." "Okay." So we drive and we talk about all the ladies who used to work at the bookstore. It was great. Old memories for both of us. Once, she stopped and said, "They died and they are just waiting for me." I'm thinking as in, waiting for you to join them? We get off the main road and it's dark dark dark. "Ms. Brooks, does the bus take you all the way down here?" "No. I walk this part. It takes about 30 minutes." In the PITCH DARK. We cut down another street and up around a sharp curve and down a back alley and low and behold there are apartments. She cannot find her key and starts talking about two boys who rode with her on the bus going through her stuff. "Surely they didn't take my key." "Huh?!" "Here it is." She gets out and I watch her up to the door...scared for my life...and she waves and I rush through the alley and around the sharp curve and down the dark street to the LIGHT. I Had No Idea. Seen This Woman For Years and Had No Idea What She Does To Get To Places And Events. She takes 5 different buses to get to the Women's Conference every year. Who knew?
Week before last as I was bopping around from one May Crowning to the next, crying at each, I witnessed a different kind of "ya just never know". The event had begun and we had sung and the 8th and 2nd graders had come in and before the actual crowning, a mom and daughter walked up the side, coming into my view. The little 2nd grader was dressed in her Communion outfit and she tiptoed up to the front row seat after her mom, dressed in scrubs, kissed her and let her go. Single mom? Working late? Doing everything to keep her baby in a great school? Making it, just in time for the main event. Ya just never know.
I spent the past week working in Chicago. Found out from one of my favorite salesmen that he will no longer have our territory. He chose to change so he can stay close to his two sons. He and his wife are separated and the boys need him to be close...he needs to be close.
People all have their stories and we may never know them unless we choose to pay attention. God puts in our paths the ones He wants us to engage. We are called to be open to the invitation to pray, to help, to listen or simply to notice. You just never know, do ya?