Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Just Ahead

I am not sure what it was about her that caught my attention other than the fact that the express check out line was moving slow and she was checking out her stuff.  Almost immediately I was struck by her appearance.  There was nothing out of the ordinary about her attire.  It was her face that caused the second, longer look.  She seemed either incredibly sad, or simply overwhelmed.  Her face gave no expression as she stuck her card in the reader.  Not once did she make eye contact with the clerk.  It was as if her body had come to the place there ahead of me, but left her heart and soul behind.  While it is not always my normal response to such moments, I started praying for her.  "Lord," I prayed, "just give her something to smile about."  But, it never happened.  Maybe later, but not then.
I suppose watching people could get you into trouble if it got too obvious, but sometimes it is impossible not to wonder what is going on with troubled looking folks.  It is not too hard to spot them.  Some of us have learned what trouble looks like for we have seen our own share of it and know firsthand what it does to the face which greets us in the mirror.  And, there are times when the moment of seeing is accompanied by an opportunity to say a non-intrusive word of concern all the while hoping that it might lead to an unexpected moment of a mutual sharing of the heart.
In our morning prayers it always makes good sense to ask God to lead us into the places where His love and care might be expressed to another hurting human being.  When we dare to enter into those God given moments mindful that we ourselves are a hurting human being, it puts us in a better position to offer encouragement and help to another.  And, of course, if the Holy Spirit is leading, we can offer ourselves knowing that faithfulness requires only a willingness to serve and not a certain set of results.

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