Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blue Eyes in 230-C

“Mama?” he said sheepishly while exiting the car.

“What, honey? You’ve gotta go! I don’t want you to be late for class!”

“Mama, I forgot my lunchbox,” my son admitted.

Irritated, I sighed. “I put it by the door. Didn’t you see it? You know, this means Mommy has to go back home. Now, I’m going to be late for work!” I pointed out, anxiety rising as cars piled up behind us in the school’s morning drop-off lane.

I shouldn’t have said it, but impulse and the morning rush had won out over patience.

“I know, I know, Mommy. I’m sorry,” he said genuinely, a look of dismay covering his face.

At that point, I checked myself. “It’s okay, buddy, really. I’ll run home and get it for you. I’ll be right back. It’ll only take me a few minutes, okay?”

“Love you!” I yelled after him as he scrambled up the sidewalk to the door. He didn’t turn back to acknowledge my call.

“Good job, Jen,” I muttered to myself, disgusted at my lack of restraint, yet still annoyed at the inconvenience of having to retrace the trip home.

Slightly defying traffic laws, I barrelled down the back roads to retrieve the all-important lunch box, volunteers set to arrive for my direction in less than a half hour back at the office. “This is not the morning to have to go back home!” I muttered to myself, looking right and then left at a four-way stop sign. “Go!” I commanded the car directly facing me across the road, irritated that the driver had forgotten the right-of-way rules of four-ways. “You got there first, honey,” I condescendingly smirked. Upon further inspection, however, I noticed something out-of-sorts.

The car in front of me wasn’t going…couldn’t go…the driver was slumped over the steering wheel. My stressed-out frantic pace instantly reversed to slow motion. The scene was surreal. Here we were, the only two cars on the road in either direction, no-one else to stop and help a driver in distress. It was up to me. Just before I reached for my door handle, she moved. Her head reared up from the steering wheel, abruptly interrupting the stillness. She was crying. Violently, her shoulders shook, her mouth wide open. Startled, I teetered between running to help her or leaving her to the privacy of her own car.

She made the decision for me and pressed the gas to finally take her turn at the four-way. That should’ave been it. I should’ave gone on my way, perhaps throwing up a quick prayer that the young lady would have a better afternoon, but I couldn’t let it go. I followed her, thinking, My husband will kill me when he finds out I’ve followed a stranger! Just three turns later, the blue van turned into a cul-de-sac of modest homes, stopping in front of number 230-C. Pulling up behind her, I noticed she didn’t get out.

Rounding the van, I peered into the window to see most stunning blue eyes I had ever seen. Wet with tears, the eyes of a beautiful African-American woman in her twenties looked at me suspiciously. I tapped, and she rolled down the van window.

“I am so sorry to disturb you,” I apologized, “but I couldn’t help but notice you crying back there at the stop sign. Are you okay?”

“Yes,” she weakly offered, still unsure of my intentions.

“Is there anything I can do to help you?” I asked.

She shook her head, implying, “No.”

“I’m sorry,” I said again. “I saw you crying and my heart just went out to you. I just had the urge to follow you and tell you that I know what it’s like to be desperate. It may not look like it,” I added, realizing that I stood wearing my ‘Sunday best,’ mostly because it was the end of the week and nothing else was clean, “but just a few years ago, I found myself crying in my car, and any other time I happened to be alone. I didn’t know what else to do. Today, you just made me think about how alone I felt then. I just couldn’t let you get away without telling you that whatever your situation is, someone understands.”

She stared at me, more tears streaming down her face and into her long, brown braids.

“Can I at least say a prayer for you?” I asked.

“Yes,” she managed.

Resting my hand on her shoulder, I began, “Dear Lord, I lift up a beautiful lady to you this morning. Father, she is desperate, and her heart is heavy. Please, Lord, give her peace in all of this. Show her where to go or what You would have her do. Give her some answers, Lord, but mostly just put Your arms around her, and let her know You’re there, that You care, and that You love her just as much as You love all of us. Peace be with her, Father, peace be with her,” I ended.

I squeezed her arm, asked her one last time if she needed help, and walked away. Turning into my own neighborhood, I realized that I had just experienced an amazing God moment. I thanked the Lord that He interrupted my frantic morning and allowed me, ME, to comfort someone. Someone else deserved my thanks, too, I realized as I retrieved the small lunchbox by the door.

“You can just give me his lunch, Jennifer, and I’ll take it to your son’s room,” the office assistant offered.

“No, I really need to talk to him. I’ll take it myself,” I insisted.

Waving through the small window in the classroom door, I summoned my son to the front of the room and into the hallway.

“Thanks for getting my lunch, Mom!” he said. His smile had returned.

“No, honey, I need to thank you for something,” I said, kneeling down to his level.

With that, he just looked at me, puzzled, and quite frankly, afraid I was going to lay a kiss on him or give him a hug in front of his third grade friends.

I pulled him away from the door so we could talk. “Thank you for forgetting your lunch today!” I said, watching him remain speechless. “No, really! Because you forgot your lunch today, I got to help a beautiful lady out and tell her how much God loves her.”

My son, quite a lover of people himself, began to smile as I recounted the whole story. By the end, he was quite proud of himself for being absent-minded and even let me hug him before returning to class.

Turning back down the hallway to begin my trek to work, I was stopped by a familiar little voice.

“Love You!” he hoarsely whispered in my direction. I turned to see that he had sneaked back into the hallway.

“Love you, too, buddy! I love you, too!”

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.”
Psalm 46:1

7 comments:

Randy said...

Superb! May we all have the ability to see the bigger picture more often; may we be given God-moments and live them to the fullest.

Squeeze said...

Man can you send up a prayer! You did a good thing Jen.

And we all know that Ricky is an angel on earth. He's awesome and he's got an awesome Mom.

Love you guys.

Jennifer Johnson said...

Randy-
God moments are all around us...we just don't pay attention as much as we should/could, I think. It makes me think, "How many did I miss?" Yes, may we all live the ones we do recognize to the absolute fullest.

Jennifer Johnson said...

SQZ-
He sure is my angel! I can't wait to see what he does with his many God-given gifts. I'll need my sister angel, though, to help me get him through the hard stuff! Thanks for your influence thus far.

Love you, too!

Melissa said...

Jennifer,

All I can say is WOW! I came to your blog because I try to always vistit the blogs of those who visit mine. I cannot even begin to describe the blessing that I received by reading this post. My Dylan, who is 10, forgets his lunchbox quite often, but he's the sweetest kid in all the planet! I can't wait to read him this story. How God can work through a forgetful child. I love how you followed God's leading to follow this lady, but even more I love how you took the time to share it with your son. Awesome! This would make a SUPER devotion. I don't know if you write much other than blogging, but if you have no plans to use this story, I'd love to tell the story using your words for the next devo I turn in to Proverbs 31. Do you do writing other than blogging?

I can't wait to have the time to read your other posts, I just skimmed them. You seem to have a great gift for seeing God in the every day events of life.

Hey, one more thing. I'm going to see Bon Jovi and Daughtry in March:) (I saw on your profile that you were a fan...so am I!)

Much Love and don't ever quit writing!

Melissa

Jennifer Johnson said...

Melissa-

What a great response! Thank you for your awesome encouragement! I went back to your website and emailed you my response to your questions to the address listed there. Many blessings to you!

Livin' on a Prayer,

(and jealous that you're going to see Bon Jovi)

Jennifer

Squeeze said...

This is the best piece you've ever written. I could, and do, read this over and over and over.

Love you and your family so much.

SQZ