I saw her sitting there, sobbing into the sleeves of her sweatshirt she had balled up around her hands. She was young, maybe early twenties and she was alone. I had turned into the convenience store for only a moment and it was when I was leaving that I saw her there on the curb.
I’d like to say I slammed on the brakes and ran over to her and embraced her and offered assistance. I’d like to say that; I am ashamed to say that I drove right past her, slowly, keeping an eye on her in my rear view mirror. I considered stopping but I was on my way home excited about a conversation I had with a co-worker that morning. We were talking about time management and she gave me several good tips for me and our son. I wanted to get and implement them before I forgot them.
I stopped at the edge of the parking lot and watched her some more. I wanted to offer help, but John was waiting and I had a zillion things to do and I wanted to get this time management thing up and running. Stopping to help a stranger seemed like something I could do at a more manageable time. But I couldn’t drive away.
I tried to pray for her. That’s something, right? I can pray and drive and still get home and manage time wisely. I tried but no words came. So I did what I should have done without all this debating going on in my mind. I drove over to her and asked if she were OK. She said no, her car had a flat, her phone was dead, she couldn’t get hold of her boyfriend and the lady in the store had been really rude to her.
I gave her my phone for her to call someone. No one answered. I offered to drive her somewhere, she said no, she was better off here. She thanked me and I offered to keep dialing the phone numbers she dialed until I got an answer and again, she said no. She thanked me over and over and I left. There really wasn’t much I could for her, after all.
The whole thing took about 10 minutes. Nothing about my day got off schedule and John was very understanding when I explained why I was late.
Time is something God has given me, not to use for my purposes, but His. I can’t always schedule divine encounters in a time management program. I don’t like what it says about me that I actually had to talk myself into stopping to help her because of the time it might take. Seems to me that a bigger problem for me than time management is heart management. Only God can program that.
I still see her sitting there, crying, all alone. I longed to embrace her but I didn’t. Please forgive me for thinking, even for a moment, that my time was so valuable, that her pain could be dismissed. Would You love on her as only You can do? Would You dry her tears and answer the deepest cry of her heart? Would You put people in her path that will be Your hands and Your feet, showing her the compassion and mercy that You freely give? I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.