I recently sat down to write a different post; however, I began to really pray about the content of my first post on The Uncontainable Truth. I prayed.
(My breathtaking view on the way to work each morning.)
I set out for work Tuesday morning, sun rising, fog being lifted, and voices of Rick and Bubba fading away in the background. Usually I am tuned in to whatever is on the radio; whether my worship music or morning talk show. However, on this particular Tuesday, I had zoned out Rick and Bubba. Instead, I was talking; talking to the Lord. I was discussing this first post with Him. I exited the interstate like I do every morning, but this morning would be different. My blog entry would be altered by Him. He answered that prayer. I was given a clear sign by our sweet Savior.
I crossed the bridge that travels over the interstate only to be met by a face that I saw only for a brief moment. He wore a faded yellow shirt with a black zig zag stripe across the chest. His top reminded me of the famous Charlie Brown character that danced across the TV screen and found its way into a wonderful comic strip. This man; however, did not bring back delightful memories of Charlie Brown. Quite the contrary in fact.
He held up the stereotypical "hitchhiker thumb." To me, this wasn't just any other man with his thumb stretched in the air. He looked to have a story.
Have you ever looked into someone's eyes as you scooted down the road at 50 miles an hour? I can't say that I have. I mean, not really. Not until Tuesday. I don't remember the color of his eyes, but I vividly recall the emptiness, loneliness, and exhaustion that shown through. He didn't have a large sign that he held. Instead, in his left hand, he held high a tiny slip of white paper. I assume it had something written on its lines that I couldn't see. Other than that, it didn't appear that he was carrying anything else.
I wish I could report that I pulled onto the side of the road, invited him into my car, handed him my packed lunch for that day, and sped away to wherever he needed to go. I wish I had, but I didn't. I played the scene in my head. Putting my fears aside, giving him a ride, a meal, a conversation, and some hope. I never put the scene into action.
As the car in front of me and I came closer to him, his long arm shot up into the air with incredible gusto; the little sheet of paper in his left hand swayed in the morning breeze. Only for my car to disappear behind him. My eyes were glued to the view in the rearview mirror. His hand withered back to the side of his long, lean body as I drove past. Still, my eyes focused on his figure in the distance. Another vehicle crossed over the interstate. And again, his arm flew into the air with a force only done with complete confidence that this would be the car to lend a hand. But just as before, his right arm sank like a deflated balloon when the car sped away. I noticed something I hadn't before; his left arm fell and so did the paper that had, just seconds before, been waving freely in the wind.
As his body dropped, so did my heart.
Like many of you, I've scooted by many people on standing on the side of the road and never gave passing them by a second thought. I certainly didn't dwell on it for hours or days. I don't know what was different with this man. I don't know if it was his eyes or the hope that exuded from his gestures. Maybe it is just that my thinking is being changed as I become more and more fond of L.O.T. (Least of These). Or perhaps I continue to remember the stories I've heard in church about God being in the faces of the homeless, lonely, poor, and weary. Maybe I feel that if I would have just pushed aside my fear that I would have made a big difference in a life of someone who needed a "lift." Whatever the case may be, I know that this man's face will not soon disappear from my mind. Those eyes and desperate arms and hands in the air will be a lasting picture in my mind when I drive by that stretch of road on my way to work.
Although I only viewed his face for a mere moment, I will remember it for a long time to come.
As you know, we started our blog, Love for the L.O.T., in effort to raise money to help those in need. We met our first goal thanks to many donations and extreme support. Now we are praying for our blog's continued purpose and new goal. While I don't know that I would offer a ride to someone on the side of the road, I do feel that there is something more that I can be doing for those in need, those on the streets, those in pain, and those that are searching for something better.
Here are some Bible verses that relate to this story.
"If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you." -Leviticus 25:35
"Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble." -Psalm 41:1
"...whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40