Running errands is not fun for me. So, I glance at my list of the places I need to go and set a goal. How quickly can I get to town, complete my errands, and be back home? If I don’t stop for a coffee, I think I can do it in three hours. Ready, set timer, GO!
My apologies if you’ve seen me in the grocery store looking like someone who swallowed a bottle of hot sauce. I’m not running sprints. There is no family emergency. And I don’t mean to be unsocial. I’m simply racing against my self-set timer.
One more stop. JOANN Fabrics for a box of photo splits. I park close to the entrance and speed past those who have a head start on me.
What’s your hurry?
Glancing back to see if the question was addressed to me, an elderly man held my gaze and repeated the question. What’s your hurry?
If I’m honest, I wanted to either pretend I didn’t hear him and keep walking or brush him off with a lots to do today. Instead, I found myself saying, you know, I have no reason to rush. Where are you headed?
Me too. I will walk with you.
Shuffling my feet to slow myself to his pace, we discussed the weather, our past and current occupations, and what was on the supper menu. Once in the store, I showed my new friend the aisle with the buttons and helped him narrow down which one most closely resembled the missing button from his coat.
He thanked me for my help and fought tears as he explained that his wife passed away just three months prior, his grown children lived far away, and he hadn’t had a nice conversation with anyone since the funeral.
Squeezing my arm, he thanked me for slowing down.
How many times have I forged past the hurting because I am eyes straight ahead, focused on me? Or worse, noticed someone who could use assistance and walked by anyway?
I recently read a book to my toddler called Jared and the Ordinary, Handy-dandy, Excellent, Extraordinary, Plain Brown String by Dana Webb. When Jared’s Mom challenges him to find value in a plain brown string, he goes for a walk in hopes of coming up with an idea. On his stroll he notices a runner with a broken shoe lace, a cat stuck in a tree, a gardener who is trying to make his rows straight, and an elderly woman who want her vine to grow up the post of her home. In all these scenarios, Jared stops to help, using his string to solve their problems. When Jared has no more string to share, he realized his plain brown string was valuable because others were blessed by it.
How I long to live like Jared. You too?
What if we all chose to live each day with intention? Intention to see and hear the hurting around us.
The truth is, being a world-changer doesn’t require big platforms or fancy titles. Most often God uses plain, ordinary people. People who are willing to slow down and notice what He is doing and where they can step in.
Are you willing? Same here.