My life changed after using the last Q-tip Monday night. Sincerely. I planned to pick up a new box on Tuesday once I finished at the library. The pharmacy was right next door but I managed to forget. On Wednesday, I didn’t think about the Q-tips until I climbed out of the shower that night. Frustrated I muttered, “Oh God! …Let me remember cotton swabs next time I’m out?!” I put on my pajamas and wrote ‘Qtips’ on our refrigerator shopping list.
Thursday was my birthday, so my focus was certainly not on Q-tips or any other kind of cotton swab. I readied for work, caught the train to Boston and bought munchkins for our office. Nobody knew it was my birthday and the morning went by slowly. At noon, I decided to stretch my legs, get some fresh air and take a walk.
The tourists were on the Freedom Trail and the office workers were sitting down to cafe lunches or walking back to buildings with their to-go sacks. I walked with a fast stride, smelled the aromas and listened to the sounds of the city. I watched all the people but saw the homeless. How hard is it for them to watch the feeding frenzy?
The rest of the story that follows is not an event I would typically discuss; moments that happen in my Christian life are between myself and God. However, I feel obligated to spread these special words because I think God works in mysterious and beautiful ways.
I passed many storefronts at a quick pace.
Until I didn’t.
My stride slowed and uncontrollably stopped. I was suddenly standing in front of a very crippled man in his wheelchair. The sensation didn’t scare me and I was not afraid to be with this helpless person. I wanted to assist but didn’t know how. I do know not to give money in the streets. There is a shrine, a soup kitchen and a shelter nearby.
I found myself saying words i hadn’t even formed in my mind yet:
“What can I help you with today?”, as I bent over his chair.
His response was slow, labored and garbled. I didn’t understand anything that he was straining so hard to express.
My soul bled for him as I looked to his hands for some aided expression.
They were twisted and fist-like with long, dirty nails.
They grabbed my heart.
“I am sorry, tell me again.”, now I had to know.
He tried once more, working hard to form lips and sound.
I turned my ear toward him and thought I heard words.
Trying to match a food with what I thought I heard, I questioned, “Chips?! You want potato chips?” I turned back to face him, hoping to see acknowledgement in his eyes.
They were covered with black sunglasses; it was a beautiful sunny day.
Don’t let me give up, I thought. This is my fellow human being. He turned his head, left and right and then directly at me.
A definite but pleading “No.” registered in his mouth and my ears.
I had his lunch request all wrong, didn’t know what else to do, and then, at that very defeated moment, I heard his continued mumble as clear as a foggy day.
He spoke more slowly. “No, Q-tips.” and low but distinct, “I need Q-tips.”
I froze. In elation. For so many reasons.
“Of course. You know what?”, I was so happy and continued, “I need Q-tips too. I’ll buy some for both of us.”
It was as easy as the nearby CVS and the cosmetics aisle. I was overjoyed that I’d waited to understand. Coming together may have been God’s plan all along? My spiritual life changed because remembering new Q-tips helped me not to hear, but to see, in a whole new way.
Happy Birthday to me.
When a strategy goes terrible awry and you wonder what the next step should be:
“We should make plans – counting on God to direct us.”
(In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.)
This is my commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you.
Bear one another’s burdens,
and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but to the interests of others.
We should help others do what is right
and build them up in the Lord.
This morning I decided a fellow blogger and I are going to start changing the world.
It’s quite simple and you need to be a part of it.
Since all the world needs is each other, we are going to continue to write our way to giving of each other. Everyone has the desire to tell a story and share their souls – their laughter and their tears to spread joy and healing – so continue to post those types of entries with the tag “changing the world”. Let’s inspire hope for fellow man.
I challenge you all to post one OR MORE entries about when you helped someone in need – whether you knew they needed help or not. Maybe the story is about when you received that unexpected help or kind word? Create the tone in your entry to express the sadness, humility, thankfulness, joy, self-awareness, spirituality, anger or hope the moment created for you.
Through our stories, let’s hope that we really can change the world!
Thanks to a link in my own reader for this Sunday inspiration:
His post was the catalyst and I’ll post again soon with some examples of my own humorous and heart-warming posts…no matter how small.
Think about the needy. Now think about the needy.
Think about the desperate. Now think about the desperate.
Think about love. Now think about loving.