"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."
- Mother Teresa
I did a small thing tonight but it brought such satisfaction from doing it that I must share my experience. Not only for myself to look back on but to possibly inspire another human to do something for another. The following is a chronicle of my day:
Once upon a time (today) …
I was driving my step-dad’s Jeep Grand Cherokee because my beloved Nissan Maxima is in the shop being worked on. There was still some concern about driving the jeep since it had been randomly dying while being driven; unfortunately the jeep did not make an exception for me. It died yesterday while driving on the interstate and again, today in the middle of a road in my neighborhood where a few passed but none asked if I needed help. Usually it would start back up but these past few times it took a plethora of tries before starting back up; definitely not safe! Fortunately my step-dad had another car I could borrow so I called him and my mom to see if it’d be alright to switch out rides. Of course, they were willing to assist me and I made my way to their house to spend some time with them and get the key to the Lexus. After a while we said our goodbyes and I headed to church where my step-dad’s car was. I parked the jeep but instead of hopping in the Lexus right away I took some time to do some socializing on Facebook and Twitter before heading home. As I’m socializing with friends, tiredness takes over my body at a rapid rate. Although it was 1:00am I shouldn’t have been tired as I had slept in rather late today. Nonetheless, since it was pouring down rain I certainly did not want to drive while being so tired. I leaned the seat back and fell asleep within minutes. Next thing I know it’s almost 2:00am and most certainly time to go home! I take all my things from the jeep, put them in the Lexus and I’m on my way down the wet, slippery asphalt. About half way home, rain pouring, my wipers rapidly going left to right, I see a beam of light to the right of the road. At this particular point I’m passing a mountain bike trail and I’m thinking this guy is night riding in the rain and having the time of his life! As I zoom past the source of light I realize it’s not on the trail at all and it’s someone walking, in the rain, definitely not having the time of their life. Immediately I have the sense, I need to give this guy a ride but then I forcibly bring my intuition to a stop and point out a few things to myself. Rain … 2:14 in the morning … random guy walking with no broken down car in sight… horror story waiting to happen. As someone who believes in the Divine, in God, I firmly believe He redirected my thoughts to earlier in my day when I was stuck in the middle of the road with cars passing by without offering any help. It was then I realized the same helplessness I felt earlier, this guy was experiencing to the nth degree. Needless to say, my intuition took the win. I made a few turns and headed back to where I initially passed the light but this time there was no light. Driving slowly, straining to see through the darkness and rain, I finally see the silhouette I was looking for. I stop, roll down the window, and ask the distraught, dark figure if he needed a ride. I could feel the waves of relief come over him as he said, “Man, you have no idea!” The man, in his sopping wet clothes and cold skin introduces himself as Bryan and we shake hands as two strangers do on a cold, rainy night. Bryan goes on to tell me he’s been walking for a straight 4 hours. However, his journey did not begin there, it started at 8:00pm the night before. Bryan had been walking from 8:00pm, all through the next day and until I picked him up at 2:14am. Not a single person offered him a ride even after asking for a ride at a few gas stations; I was dumbfounded and curious but did not want to intrude on personal matters. I meant to continue the conversation by asking what he does for a living but the question came out as, what’s going on in life, what’s the story? Bryan did not hesitate and began to explain how his walking journey started in Moscow, TN. He and his wife had been visiting family ten hours away and on their way back, going through Moscow, they got into a fight. The fight became so heated that she kicked him out of the car and literally left him there to find his way home. He didn’t think she’d actually leave him but she did and so he started walking to the only place he knew to go, his sister’s house. In turn, I shared how I had gotten to where I was and that had I not fallen asleep our paths would’ve never crossed. I told Bryan that I firmly believed that God had orchestrated my day’s events so that he and I could meet, a Divine appointment as my mentor would say. He went on to share about his four kids, two having severe autism who bring him immense joy and that he builds fences for a living. After about an eight-minute drive (almost a two-hour walk) we were at his sister’s house. As I put the car in park, I asked Bryan if I could pray over his current situation, his life, his kids, and his wife and he gratefully accepted. After I said amen, Bryan looked at me with his kind, sincere eyes and says, “Thank you so much Jonathan, you are truly a Godsend, an angel.” We said our goodbyes and Bryan was walking again, but only for a few seconds this time.
I share this story, not to boast but to share how doing something “small” for others can bring about the greatest satisfaction on both ends. With that said, my prayer is that we would all allow our eyes and hearts to focus on what’s around us to see the small things we can do for others. You never know when you might be someone’s angel that day.