I think we’ve been getting better these days at being honest about the ugliness and selfishness and failures in our lives. We call it authenticity and we put a high value on it.
In the past we’ve been better at just showing our shiny side and talking a good game. So now we make a big deal about how much we fall short. And it’s really good that we know that we’re all in this screw up boat together.
I’m comfortable sharing my failures. There’s a lot of material there! But I think we also need to be honest about those tiny moments of grace and small wins. We need to say “Look! With God’s help we can do this!”
Wednesday I shared my recent experience driving by a homeless woman and the fears that went through my head as I did. I didn’t stop. I want to be honest about the many times I’ve let Jesus down.
But last winter there was a different Jesus on the corner. I was in Florida and it was early morning. I was riding my bike to Starbucks as the sun came up pink over the palms and the boats moored in the harbor.
This time Jesus looked like a round middle-aged Jamaican woman in a white uniform who was asking directions of another early riser who clearly didn’t have answers.
I stopped and asked if I could help. She was a caregiver, new in Naples from Miami where her house had been foreclosed. She had gotten a temporary job nursing a wealthy invalid overnight in one of the high-rises on the gulf and now was trying to get directions to walk to a bus stop to get to a friend’s house where she was staying.
I could tell her how to walk to get to the bus stop, but it was a couple miles away and who knew how long she would have to wait once she got there. I thought I should do something more than give directions, but all the same questions and fears went through my head like with the pregnant girl plus
- What if she’s a serial killer cleverly disguised as a plump Jamaican woman? (I mean, really, Ted Bundy didn’t look the “type”! Who knows?)
- What if she’s a pathological liar with mental issues?
- What if she hijacks me and makes me rob a bank and we end up on “America’s Most Wanted”?
- What if I have to spend my whole last day in Florida taking care of her? Read: What if, (gasp), this is inconvenient and I die of discomfort?
I thought of Jesus, gulped and said “If you wait right here, I’ll ride home and get my car. I can take you where you want to go.”
Ten minutes later, I was back and she was still standing there, tired and patient. She got in the car and gave me the address of her friend which I put into Mapquest. It said to head towards Miami on highway 75.
Miami??! I gulped again, but I also relaxed my grip. I thought, “Ok Lord, we’re on this adventure together. Let’s go.”
An hour or so later I was back.
I share this tiny experience today, on Fearless Friday because we all face situations like this. I want you to be encouraged. I didn’t die, she wasn’t a serial killer, and the whole ride my new friend just kept saying “Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus.”
By the grace of God, a small win.
When is a time you’ve seen Jesus on the corner?