It was Saturday morning. I jump into my workout clothes, bust through the door, into the truck and off the gym. Saturdays the gym doesn’t open until 07:00 am and I arrived – yes as the family would attest – a bit early. Find me a spot in my normal area and waited.
I noticed Liz as I was pulling into the parking lot. A frail lady that was walking in the middle of the stripes throughout the lot. My glances to the gym door to see if they were ready for folks to come in and get those endorphins flying, would land back on Liz. At this time she had coaxed the window down of another early gym rat and a dollar bill came out of the hand of the driver into the hand of Liz.
Here she comes. Dang it. The windows to my truck are tinted, not totally blacked out, yet tinted enough, you know the tint that back in my day would have you wondering if that was a “weed car” (you know mary jane, canibus). I ducked my head reading Luke. Yeppers, reading the Word. Real honesty here, hoping the tinted windows would deter this now very visible older lady, blue jeans hanging on top of her body, with clean yet oversized clothes everywhere and a big comfy wool hat for her head. Nope she was coming. Rolled the window down.
Me: Good morning
Liz: I have had two brain aneurisms (in a voice that was weak, scratchy. Her eyes large and wide open as she asked if would like to see her scars)
Me: No maam, thanks for asking but i really don’t want to see your scars, whatcha ya doin’ this morning? what’s your name?
Me: oh yes Liz we have met before, its been years ago, how are ya, remind me where you live?
Liz: (dazed look, eyes still wide, dilated, stains of what appeared to be tobacco in the corners of her mouth). I live on lokey, I need money for my medicines
(I’m thinking as she is talking questioning her motive…my guards are up….)
me: Liz have you been to hope clinic?
Liz: i’ve had two brain aneurisms, no they won’t help, just need $15.00 (now her voice is squeaking, face winched, eyes now squinted and flowing with water)
me: dang liz i hate that, yet i know that they are very helpful, (as i lean over to pull money from my pocket)
I thumb through the $10.00, the $5.00, the $20.00 to get to some singles and hand over $2.00 …………geeeez……
Liz: all i need is $3.00 more.
Double, triple geeeeezzz ….not at liz gang, but looking back it’s with me…HUGE realization moment for me, as i traipsed in to the gym. Climbed on board one of my favorite machines, affectionately named sparky. The gym i pay $40.00 a month to attend, that has the machine where i just plunked $1.50 in a machine to retrieve a bottle of smart water HAHAHAHa…to read from a screen on a phone that is starting the “feel” outdated, only to stop at the counter to retrieve a recovery smoothie for that $5.00 i strolled past just an hour ago.
I’m not reliving this moment to beat myself up or to try and create shame. It has made me realize that at times I feel myself being frustrated at the lack of empathy I have experienced in the body, the lack of attention given to the least of these from the organized barns (churches) in helping the Liz’s of the world. I’m part of that body!…seeing the very thing in me that i don’t want to see.
So how did this all start to stir in me? Well after Liz left my car, I watched her walk to another car, and the person wouldn’t roll down the window. She then approached a couple as they to were walking into the gym, but they didn’t acknowledge her. One more attempt as she was walking to another car, but the car pulled away and went to another parking space. It hit me like a ton of bricks to see me in those movements, sure I at least rolled down the window after, except I was hoping upon hope that she would not come to my window…ugggggghhhhhh…
We have to be wiling to walk through and learn through these moments, remembering that GOD is a good good father. He wants and desires the best not only for me but for Liz also. In that moment I placed myself in a place of authority over her instead of remembering she too is made in the image of God. It’s not about the three more dollars she asked for, gang. Its receiving and treating her as a princess of the King of Kings. A daughter of the most high. To see her as Jesus knows her!
I wonder what and how Liz feels? You see if I remember her house on lokey, she has a banner out front stating that Jesus loves us. It is about jesUS….the US, the whole body coming together as one to show a world we beLIeVE, giving ourselves and each other grace as we stumble through some teaching moments. I think next time I see Liz, i’ll ask her if she wants to share a bottle of that “smart” water.
love em up!