I DON'T KNOW YOU, BUT I OUGHT TO CARE......
The sun is shining—really shining!
It is pouring in through all the windows and under the door cracks. Under the door cracks?! Yep. We live in a fixer-upper that still needs quite a bit of fixin'-up.
Don’t you just love the sunshine?
It’s Vitamin D, and it’s free!
The light pouring in our home certainly is beautiful. It casts its cheerful rays everywhere I look.
You know what else it does? It illuminates all of my housekeeping fails. You can see every small hand print on the picture window and doors. If there are cobwebs (and there are), you will see them when the sun shines in. The dust on the furniture and the turkeys (don’t ask) is painfully evident. (Someday I may write a book. I will call it And There Was a Turkey on the Table. I don’t know who in the world will read it!)
I’m getting distracted. I really am just like my children—or they are just like me.
As I am looking all around this place and noting my many obvious, and not so obvious, domestic shortcomings, it takes me somewhere else.
You thought I was going to say, “Whew! I’ve got to do some spring cleaning, and STAT!” didn’t you?
Nope, I’m afraid not. ;)
Although, that would be a really good idea!
This dusty, dirty, and somewhat neglected house reminds me a bit of my own heart.
It takes my mind to a place of what happens when God is working on my heart, when His sunshine is pouring into the secret places of me. When I stay close to God and understand His character—really understand—man, it lights up the dark and dusty places in me!
Believe me, there are plenty of them still loitering around.
Just like one of my favorite Miss Bennets, I am not afflicted with false modesty. (I know who I am. I also know who I was, and, more importantly, I know who I want to be.) There are still layers of film and grime from my life before I really understood Christ. Thankfully I am no longer tied to those layers. The old has gone, the new has come.
But let’s be real. We develop all sorts of personality traits, character flaws, learned behaviors (whatever you want to call them); and then we spend the rest of our lives trying to work them out. There are things that come naturally to me, and then there is everything else!
I don’t know about you all, but when I go out I notice people. I try to anyway. I try to slow down and actually engage in life with the other human beings living on the same planet as me.
I was at the grocery store the other day. Shocking, right? We have four children. The grocery store is our life story; it’s kind of our place.
Anyway, I was at the end of the store, turning the corner to the dairy section. That’s like the homestretch for marathon Kroger shoppers.
Now, I used to have this horse. It was a terrible horse. (Or so I thought at the time. I realized later in life that, in fact, I was a terrible rider; and she was probably just a regular horse.) Anyhow, this particular horse would always run when the barn was in sight. She saw the finish line, and she nearly cropped my head off (I thought) many times.
I’m trying to paint you a picture of what was going on with me in the grocery store. I just rounded the dairy corner, and I’m doing that thing I do in my head: “Okay, get the butter, cream cheese, and water; and get out of here! That’s it—three items. Get the last three items and do NOT even look at those accursed Krispy Kremes as you walk by.”
I’m not kidding.
I have this grocery detail down to a science.
I told you I have four children, and Kroger is kind of my place. ;)
My little monologue was suddenly interrupted. There was a young–ish lady standing in my way, contemplating what kind of coffee creamer to buy. I had to stop and wait.
As I was standing there trying not to stare, I noticed she had all sorts of tubes coming out of her arm.
My mind started bouncing around.
Here is the slightly condensed version:
“I wonder what’s wrong with her.”
“I wonder how old she is; she doesn’t even look like she’s as old as I am.”
“I bet she has children. Oh, that would be so terribly hard—to be sick and have children.”
“I bet she has cancer. It seems like everyone is getting cancer. I hate cancer.”
“Maybe it’s not cancer. Maybe she has something contagious. Maybe she has something she’s going to give me. What if she starts coughing suddenly, and I breathe in her germs? Didn’t I just read somewhere about germs in the air? Was it three hours or three days that they linger?” (Just being real.)
“I wish I could do something for her.”
You know what I said?
Prepare to be un-amazed.
I said, “Um, excuse me. Can I squeeze by you?”
Yep. That’s it. I’m practically Aristotle, right?
I kept on trucking.
I was already trying to gauge how much over my grocery budget I was this time.
I headed to the checkout lane and started chucking all of our organic fare up on the belt. I was going through my usual routine of how it stinks that Spaghettios and Ding Dongs are so much cheaper than real food. I was lamenting all the injustices of the world: taxes, rising grocery costs, etc.
I would like to add here, as someone pointed out to me in the comments section of my blog about children, that I am SO over privileged. I don’t know if she was aiming to offend or convict, but I am not offended.
I agree. I am SO over privileged.
I am also SO thankful to drive to Kroger and buy whatever (pretty much) kind of food my family needs and, a lot of times, wants.
I do not take that lightly.
Do not misunderstand me with my crazy Kroger-ing shenanigans. I have so much more than I deserve. I am GRATEFUL!
So, I pay for our stuff and head to the car still trying to remember if the organic fruit starts with an 8 or 9 digit code (and wondering if it all really makes a difference). I start throwing, um... gently placing, all our “new food,” as the children call it, into the back seat.
I get up front, put on my seat belt, and start the car.
Do you all love a play-by-play? No?
I know I have one faithful reader who does. She knows who she is. ;)
I am getting ready to put the car in drive, and I remember her—the young lady with the ports coming out of her arm.
Why didn’t I stop and encourage her?
Why didn’t I just ask her straight out if she knows Jesus?
I’m serious. I don’t care. In fact, I want to be that girl that asks everyone if they know Jesus. Nothing else is going to matter! Either you do, or you don’t!
She has ports in her arm—at the grocery store! She is fighting something, something that may claim her life sooner than later; and what words do I leave with her?
“Um, excuse me. Could I squeeze by you?”
I have tracts in my purse about heaven and hell. Do you want some? If so, go HERE: These are great!
Yes, I am that lady now. :)
Did I give her one?
I didn’t even remember I had them. SIGH.
So now I’m thinking, “Well, maybe she’s still in there. I could go back. It’s not like I bought chicken or something. What about that one chatty cashier? I bet she knows everyone who shops in here. I could just ask her.”
I didn’t. I put my car in drive. I drove home.
I missed an opportunity to speak truth, hope, and life into that young lady at the grocery store.
What kept me from speaking?
Fear of rejection?
Was I afraid I would say the wrong things?
Remember those cobwebs in my heart? Is pride one of them? Do I care more about what people think of me than what they think of God?
Was I too busy and consumed with myself and my life to REALLY care about her?
What if I had bought chicken? Big deal! Is her soul not worth my pack of hypothetical chicken?!
Was I too worried about what she might give me instead of what I might give her?
Is fearfulness one of the many layers of grime on my heart?
You see, when you understand who God is, it shines a light on what you are not.
Please don’t start feeling all sorry for me and wondering if I have low self-esteem. ;)
I don’t. In fact, most of the time, I probably think too much of myself (and think too much about myself).
I regret not speaking to that girl in depth. I regret not hearing her story, because now I have to imagine it. Her face is still with me, and so are the tubes projecting from her arm.
Had I spoken to her, asked her to accept Christ, and she said, “No,” what would it have cost me?
Really? It costs me nothing.
Is her soul not worth an awkward conversation?
If I believe in Heaven (and I do, with my whole heart), then I also believe in Hell.
If I claim to love people and I’m unsure of their salvation, WHAT excuses me from speaking?
Nothing. Nothing excuses me!
My hope and prayer is that God will keep shining a light into my heart, and I know He will if I allow Him to.
I want to see the dust.
I want to know the dark places, where fear is lurking within me.
I want to acknowledge the internal cobwebs and knock them down.
I want my little world to be better—not because of who I am, but because of the One I serve.
I want to be brave—not for the sake of people thinking I am courageous (for I assure you, I am not), but for the sake of hurting and dying people everywhere I turn.
People shouldn’t have to have tubes coming out of their bodies for me to stop and care.
This person is under constant renovation, and I hope to always be!
Even if I don’t know you, I ought to care; and I want to!
Thank you for reading and sharing my blog.
Let’s love one another!