Have you ever had an immediate urge to help someone you didn’t know? Without even thinking about it, you saw a need and boom, you responded. I have been both on the giving and receiving end of these spur of the moment occurrences.
Here are a few that stand out in my mind.
The first one was when I decided to take my bed comforter to the laundry mat so I could use one of their over-sized washers. I got my quarters, rolled up my comforter and off to the washateria I went. I get out of the car, take my belonging and head inside. Then I patiently wait for an available front load washer. I sit next to a woman around my age. She is of Latino ethnicity. I ask her a question about what size I need as they have several front loader sizes, depending on how large your wash load is. She speaks very little English (I speak poquito Espanol), but she manages to tell me that I can use the smaller front loader (as she points to them), which is good because it’s also less expensive.
When the time comes, I place my comforter in the washer, and add my quarters. I have just enough quarters. Then I realize something. I couldn’t believe it! I forgot the laundry detergent! I had plenty at home. Here I am, quarters inserted, comforter loaded and I don’t have any laundry detergent. I also do not have enough cash or quarters on me to purchase some from the vending machine. After realizing the predicament I was in, this same lady comes over to me and points to her laundry detergent box and allows me to scoop out what I need to wash my comforter.
Now to some this may sound menial. But for me, at that moment, it meant the world to me. In addition, many people in this area work very hard for their money and do not have extra to spare. So that fact that she was willing to generously share her laundry detergent with me, a complete stranger meant a great deal to me.
Another time was when my son and I drove back from Missouri. I forgot to print out return directions before heading back to Texas. So instead, I just used my directions for driving up there (in reverse) in hopes that it would be simple. All went fairly well until we got to one section. I stopped several times and then got turned back around. Then we came to an intersection where there were two signs with the same route number. One went straight ahead and the other turned left. I had no idea which way to go. I had pulled over in the middle section (turning lane area) and was looking at the map trying to figure out which road to take. After sitting there for nearly five minutes while my son urges me to make up my mind, a black shiny SUV pulls up. The passenger’s side window rolls down. The man in the driver’s seat leans forward and asks if we’re okay. I’m guessing our out-of-state Texas license plates and the open map must have given us away. I informed him that we left Branson and were heading back to Texas. I told him about my map situation and my confusion over the two signs with the same number. He confirms that both roads meet up at the same place but that one route was quicker than the other. He says that he and his family, wife (I’m assuming) in front seat and kids in the back, were heading in the same direction that we were and said we could follow him. He tells me that he can lead us to the major interstate that I need to get us back to Texas.
I knew that once we got there, I was good to go for getting us the rest of the way home to Texas.
Now the interesting part was the man is black; his “wife” is white. And to top it off, he tells us that he is originally from Texas. Jaren and I spoke about the coincidence of it all. I mean really. What are the chances of us, being a mixed race family ourselves, meeting up with this mixed race family who also has a Texas connection out in the middle of nowhere on some country road somewhere in Arkansas? I felt like God had placed this earthly angel to help guide us home. We followed him faithfully for about twenty-five to thirty miles down winding back roads and sloping hills until we finally entered a fairly small town. This generous man and his family, with a wave of the hand, lead me right to the interstate highway that I needed to get us back home. We tooted our horns and waved and I hope he knew just how very thankful we were.
I can only assume that these people, the lady at the laundry mat and the family in the SUV felt some urge to just act without thinking. I know this because I had a similar experience one very hot summer day. Jaren and I used to collect aluminum cans for recycling. On Saturday mornings, once we had enough, I’d drive us down to the recycling center and turn them in for cash. I usually let Jaren have the money. As we were heading home on this one very hot, muggy day, I saw a lady walking with a bag. I assumed since we were a mile or so from the recycling center that she was walking there. Now a mile may not seem like a lot. But on extreme hot days or cold days, it can seem like a long road to travel. And on this day, it was extremely hot, so much so that it even made breathing difficult. As I slowly passed her, I quickly made a U-turn. Jaren, who was sitting in his car seat in the back, asks me what I was doing. I tell him that I think this lady is taken her cans to the recycling center and I want to give her a ride. I pulled up and confirmed that that is where she was headed. I offered her a ride. As she gets in, I could tell that she was most likely a homeless person, by her dirty appearance, tattered clothes and slight odor. We have a short conversation and she thanks me for giving her a ride.
I explain to my son that I don’t even know why I did it. It wasn’t like I thought about it. Something inside me compelled me to make a U-turn and give this lady a ride. I tell my son that this is not a normal situation and that we have to be careful about picking up strangers, especially with him in the car because it’s my job to protect him but that sometimes we are called to help someone and this was one of those times. My son says, “Mama, that was really nice what you did.”
My heart melted. That is what parental moments are made of.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28