If you’ve followed this blog for even a small amount of time, you know that vehicle issues are the non paying tenant that resides in our home; more like a squatter. Per usual, while awaiting parts for my car, I drove it, on a spare (that’s a story for another day). Per usual (again) I was navigating traffic on my way home. I came to a complete stop, although not sudden. I saw a truck in my rearview mirror that I was mildly concerned about. The truck began to slow down and I felt as though I was in the clear. To my surprise, the truck rear ended me ever so slightly. The driver got out and came to my side of the car before I could get out. He’d looked at my car and said, “I don’t think there is any damage.” I responded, “Well, I definitely felt the hit so let’s check.” As we returned to the rear of my vehicle, he said, “Oh, did you have that dent?” I responded, “No.” He suggested that we go to the nearest exit to exchange information. I agreed. As I led us, he turned his hazards on; I suppose as a means to assure me that he was with me. I began to spiral into my personal pity party. The tears emerged. The outward processing of “God, how is this possible? Do I not have enough on my plate? Another car issue, during a car issue?” Have you ever entertained your “party of one” with sentiments that draw you deeper into despair? I had to drive a bit in order to find a safe spot for us to connect. Just imagine my party was in full crescendo of sorrow. When I finally pulled over, I could not wipe away the tears quick enough to exit my car. Much to my surprise, there was an additional guest at the party. I looked into the face of the person who’d I been crying about and noticed his face wet with tears as well. Just like God to set to hide the list of invited guests.
The other partygoer expressed his sorrow for his actions. He went further to share that he’d just left his mother, whose cancer had returned, and it was in stage four. He wept. He apologized. He wept some more. He was visibly shaken. I responded in the way that I would want someone to respond to me. I prayed. I prayed for God’s healing over his mother, for the Blood of Jesus to do what it was purposed for over 2000 years ago and for his peace and wisdom through endurance. My pity party ended the moment I encountered his trauma. I am not suggesting that mine was not important, but in that moment, I couldn’t resurrect it. It subsided in the face of something more emergent. II Peter 1:5-8 reads, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This scripture is not conditional. Externally, the only commonality we shared was being in traffic. He towered over my frame; he was White, he is in a business that involves water and I can’t swim; yet in that moment, we shared sorrow for what we were presented. And perhaps God needed us to connect amidst the busy and unknown to share community and reverence for His healing to occur.
I’ve always heard that someone is always dealing with something greater. As I listened to his testimony regarding his mother, I couldn’t help but remember that I was on my way home to mine. My guilt set in real good and I asked God to forgive me, and I’ve continued to pray for his mom. The car stuff will be worked out and has become less important to me in the big scheme of things. How often are we in close proximity to someone that could benefit from our agreement for things to be alright? God make us to be more mindful and open to one another. As much as I’d believed myself to be, I realized in that encounter that my immediate thought was not of the other person. I’d blown up the party favors for myself and was indulging in isolation….or so I assumed. God allowed a small fender bender to catastrophically blow my mind. I certainly don’t welcome any additional car issues but I thank God for making me sensitive yet again to the pain that exists outside of my person. God send forth your healing to and for all that concerns your heart. And make us to know without reservation that we are all apart of the heart of God. And as you always do, keep your hazards on to let us know that you haven’t left us – you trail us with your grace and mercy.