This afternoon I took the car in for a much needed oil change and tire rotation. I was accompanied by my tiny puppy Dottie, who's really not a puppy anymore but looks like it, so I call her a puppy still. While the car was being worked on we set out on a walk around the near by neighborhood.
It was soothing to see all of the beautiful flowers that had bloomed, the fresh cut lawns, and the trees which are starting to turn green. I admired those who had put in the time and effort into making their yards pleasing to the eye. And it was in that, that I met Russell.
When approaching the cottage-like home you couldn't help but slow your pace. The grass had been cut perfectly, every edge was trimmed just so, flowers added magnificent color, and the porch swing only contributed to the sweet-like-honey welcoming feel. As he saw me coming, he made his way down the front steps and across the flower lined walkway. Hello, I said. Is this your beautiful home? Without hesitation he smiled a proud and loving smile, Yes it is. We then introduced ourselves and commented on the beautiful weather. While we exchanged only a few words, the attention he brought to those words helped me understand the importance of them.
Russell was no younger than 50 and had Down's Syndrome. He worked alone in the yard that he had made into a beautiful garden. As I continued on my walk I waved, smiled and prayed that his day would be blessed.
No more than five minutes past and I came upon a home that was different then the one I had stopped at previously. The roof was bowing and peeling back in spots, where flowers should have been growing there was garbage, piled-up junk, and cigarette butts smashed into the soil. The front door was swung wide and a woman's voice could be heard screaming to her little girl to sit-down and shut-up. As I began to walk directly by, I saw a teenage girl holding a toddler on her lap while sitting on the front porch. The mother came out from behind a car and they all began to approach me.
We greeted one another and Dottie quickly ran to their feet with abounding curiosity and excitement. The little girl called her Lucy because, as her mom explained, their friend had a tiny dog like Dottie whose name was Lucy. I smiled and explained that Lucy was perfect and would do just fine. After a few brief words I said goodbye and continued down the street. The little girl kept yelling Lucy! Lucy! as I waved, praying that they too would be blessed today.
I then began to talk with God, giving continued thanks for the moments that are given when I can meet others that he loves so dearly. Because it is within those few minutes of breaking down my own selfishness, throwing away my pride, and seeing another for who they are, that I begin to understand the teachings of Jesus all the more. And as my conversation continued with Him, I saw her.
She sat alone in a yard that was under construction; more dirt then there was grass. My presence was unknown until I was half way across the yard. She quickly stood, walking around the near by tree to approach me. With her head hung down, she only raised her eyes to say hello. I then began to realize that she did not live at the house where we stood, but rather, she was patiently waiting as her parents both worked on the yard that day.
For fear of making her feel uncomfortable I didn't ask too many questions, so I knelt down, letting her enjoy the dog that licked her tiny fingers. I told her that the headband she wore was pretty; she looked up at me with her big brown eyes and smiled, politely saying thank you. The only question she asked was why my dog was so small? I gave a tiny chuckle and explained that was just how she was. She then nodded in agreement that there was no better way to explain it, and continued playing.
When she began to inch her way back into the yard I knew my time was done. I picked up Dottie, waved goodbye, and prayed all that could be asked for the little girl who sat alone in the dirt playing with rocks to pass the time. I plan on going back to that house tomorrow, because I remember that playing in the dirt is always more fun with two.
As the Dot and I finished up our walk, we got back to our newly tuned car and continued on with the afternoon. While driving home I reflected back, seeing the lost moments that I should have stopped, should have waved hello, should have turned around to help, should have been more like Jesus. And while I do not beat myself up over the loss, I do ask for help, courage, and strength to understand the difference between my own ways and God's. Praying that I continue to put Him before myself; remembering that my time is truly God's time.
We are all God's people, regardless of the way we look, act, talk, or live. Nothing makes anyone any more exalted or worthier in His eyes.
Thank you for revealing yourself through others. You take what is uncomfortable or unknowing and make Yourself seen in those hard to read moments. As I continue on through my day and week, may You continue to hold my hand, guiding me towards those You call Your own. Helping me to see the world and others as You do; through Your eyes.
I love you, Amen.