I read a book about a year ago that totally changed my life.
To say it challenged me does not really adequately describe how it affected me, but I'm not sure the experience of reading this book and studying related scripture can be put into words. Or maybe I'm just not there yet. It is the type of book that while reading it, I knew I was only scratching the surface of what God had to teach me through it. I knew I would read it again--probably several times. I knew that what I was learning was very, very significant--the type of stuff that could define my life and have eternal impact.
I think of what I am learning with regard to this often, and continue to chew on different aspects, and above all pray for wisdom concerning what I'm learning. "What does this mean for the plans you have for me, Lord? Hit me with a 2x4 and show me...direct me in the way you want me to go to fulfill these teachings!" Yesterday I was driving KGB by myself, and such thoughts were rolling around in my mind along with words outwardly expressed to my Always-Confidante. (If you ever see me driving "alone" and I look like I'm having a deep conversation with someone, that's exactly what's going on!) The thing I was thinking most about was caring for orphans and widows. At that moment, I was particularly thinking of widows. Lonely, forgotten widows and the elderly.
They are not cute and cuddly. Many times they have hurting bodies, and hurting hearts. Too often their needs are not met. Too often they live in the background of life, and they are easy to ignore. We young and able people are busy with our own lives and think we don't have time for these people. I think most the time we don't outwardly think or say that, but by our actions or lack-there-of, we live it. And so they live alone...or in assisted-living facilities. We place them in their compartment, as we place children in their various compartments. It used to be that the old were highly-valued for their life-experience and wisdom. Old women rocked babies while younger mothers taught their older children. When there was a problem, you went to Grandpa or Granny to get their spin on it. It is still predominant in some cultures, but not in ours. At least that is my experience. And oh--what we are missing!
It would be very easy to rationalize away....to think about the ways that I'm "doing ok" where this is concerned. The thing is, that I don't want my life to be defined by "ok". I want it to be crazy--because my Savior is crazy about me and has done and continues to do some CRAZY things for me--just because He loves me.
So as I was driving and mulling all this over, I actually prayed my "2x4 prayer" once again. "Show me." A moment later, I saw her--a little old woman with a stocking hat on her head. Her skirt and long coat were swishing as she carried several grocery bags and walked along the road.
"Stop and offer to help her."
I drove right by, thinking about how I was late for getting home to fix dinner. I had all sorts of reasons why I couldn't go back, yet I felt conviction at ignoring the answer to the prayer I'd just breathed moments before. I turned around. I drove back and asked that precious old woman if I could give her a ride. She accepted. And then she began talking--about her arthritis, and her sister, and her brother, and how she loves to read. I was so blessed to just listen...and to bring her home with a "God bless you!" Her eyes widened at that, and she mumbled a faint, "you too", before shuffling into her home.
It wasn't a real "crazy" thing to do. But it was a start. And it was yet another evidence of how my God loves and listens and gently teaches. It was my lesson for yesterday....to look for opportunities.