Monday, August 15, 2005

Reading God, Reading People

In my last post, I mentioned looking at people in order to really see them.

This is something God is still working out in me, the residue leftover from my decades beneath a curse of shyness. The days when I could look no one in the eye, but always averted my gaze. I became such a professional at that--you'd hardly guess that's what I was doing.

But oh, what I must have missed.

I want to see what is going on! To drive to the supermarket and around town realizing there are people who are carrying enormous burdens-- women who's husbands have lost their jobs. Parents of sick children, people who have have just attended the funeral of a loved one or have just returned from the divorce lawyer's office. Folks who, themselves, are sick and may die soon, people who are afraid of nearly everything.

I want to be able to pick those people out of a crowd and then ask God, "What do you want me to do for them?"

More than twenty years ago our pastor's wife told us this story. Her sons' high school principal lived just down the street from her. For two weeks, off and on throughout the day, she felt a burden in her heart for the principal's wife. So she prayed for her, yet that didn't seem to be enough. Still the burden persisted.

Eventually, she felt as though she should walk down to the principal's home and speak to his wife. One day she knew she could postpone it no longer, so she walked down the street to the principal's house. She was a nervous wreck-- she had no idea what she would say when she got there. She knocked on the door and the principal's wife opened it and just stood there. She was not known for being friendly--there was no smile upon her face.

My pastor's wife said, "I'm not quite sure why I'm here. I've been praying for you, and well, God told me... I thought, well.... Maybe you needed a friend?"

The principal's wife burst into tears. She'd been desperately lonely and had been praying for a friend to be sent to her.

I want to be able to read God and to read people, too. I don't want to reach the end of my life only to be horrified that I was consumed by my own needs. That everywhere I went, it was as though I walked down city streets and stared in big plate glass windows in order to watch only myself walk along.

May the song in my head not be, "What About Me?". May all my Me's not drown out the You's.

Instead, may I walk through this life with my eyes and ears wide open and then to have the courage to do something about what I see.


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