Thursday, August 16, 2012

Let me tell you about my friend, Judith......

                A couple Tuesdays each month I drive to a Senior Center in Joliet, pack my front seat with coolers filled with food, and drop off meals to the elderly in Joliet through the program Meals on Wheels.   Little by little I got to know the people I was delivering meals to.  And little by little, one of them in particular started to feel like she was a blessing that was Heaven sent.  Her name is Judith.
                On one particular Tuesday a while ago, I had just ended a relationship and quit my first adult job all in one week.  I was scared, unsure of everything, and feeling pretty down.  Trudging through the snow, I found my way to Judith’s side door and as usual, within seconds of my knock she was right there.  Her smile upon seeing me warmed my heart as she spoke, “Oh, Heidi! It’s so good to see your smiling face, you are just so young and beautiful.”  I thanked her for the kind words and she thanked me for the delivery.   She wished me her usual ‘God bless’ and I was on my way.  I got back in my car and found myself unexpectedly crying.  At a moment in time where I felt far from beautiful, Judith spoke the words that touched my soul.  She brought me great joy and reminded me that no matter what is going on in my life, I can still be beautiful to others, but especially to my Heavenly Father.  In that moment, she mimicked God’s love, showing me that no matter what may be going on in my life, God’s love for me never fails. I know in my heart, God used her to put a smile back on my face.
                More recently, I was dropping off a meal to a new location in a not so great part of town.  The instructions read to call the client or knock on the side door with the meal.  I first knocked on the side door…no answer.  So I ran back to my car, grabbed my phone and called the number.  A lady answered and told me to meet her at the side door.  I grabbed her meal, held my phone, and made sure to lock my car door since I knew this was a rough area.  Small chat ensued, then I was back at my car placing my hand in my pocket for my keys…….I bet you can guess what happened from here.   My keys were staring at me from the front seat with the doors locked, windows up.  Whoops.    
                It was one of those moments when you are pure helpless and you have no one else to blame but yourself.  Luckily I still had my phone and about an hour later a locksmith came and unlocked my car.  I still had 4 meals to deliver and now they were late.  I felt horrible...super super bad.  These are older people who are set on their specific delivery times.  I just messed that all up.  I prayed in the car that I would be shown mercy, and I should have known more than anyone, Judith would be there to do just that.  I arrived at her door and she had the most concerned look on her face.  I started apologizing and she interrupted me telling me how she had called the senior services center knowing that today was my day to deliver and she was worried about me.  I told her what happened and she told me to stop apologizing, that she herself had locked her keys in the car with the engine running at one time.  She showed me immediate mercy, love and fellowship. I was beyond relieved. 
                In that moment, Judith was what I needed.  I just wanted someone to tell me, “I forgive you. Yes, you screwed up, you aren’t perfect but you’d be crazy to think I’d hold this against you.”  Without that mercy I would have still felt agitated with myself and still would have been down on myself.  But after a few kind words from Judith, all the anxiety and fear was washed away.  She showed me a great example of God’s love that day by easily forgiving my mistake, and also being concerned that the path I was meant to take was altered.  You see, God has a path planned for each and every one of us to take.   Sometimes along the way we get side tracked by sin or our own imperfections slow us down or lead us somewhere we know we probably shouldn’t be.  But the great thing about God is that like Judith, He is always right there standing at the door waiting for our knock.  "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9).  God’s love is waiting for you in some very unexpected ways.  All you gotta do is open the door!