Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Second Chance

Do you ever feel little nudges from God? I do. Maybe. At least I think so? Some days it's just plain hard to tell.

Sometimes I get the idea in my head to say hello to someone I pass by on the sidewalk, or to offer help to someone. Today I had the urge to offer a ride to a woman I saw in the grocery store.

I know it sounds a little random, but I recognized this woman from my neighborhood. I think she has a slight mental disability, and I often see her walking to the bus stop when I'm going for a walk through the neighborhood. I've always wanted to get to know her so that I could greet her by name when I see her around the area.

She was two customers ahead of me in the check-out line. I watched as she carefully counted out $32 to give to the cashier. Another employee packed her groceries into two bags. I watched as she politely asked him to repack it into one. I knew why she wanted that. She wanted less to carry because she had to walk home.

I felt the urge to offer her a ride home. I knew about where she lived, and it was absolutely on my way home. BUT, I was afraid to be a creeper. I wondered if she would feel unsafe with a stranger offering her a ride. If I'm honest with myself, I was mostly afraid of being rejected.

I played a few games with God in my head. "Lord, if she's walking out at the same time as me, then I'll ask her." Well, she wasn't, but she was still within ear shot so I could have called to her.

I didn't.

I unlocked my nice warm car and hopped in. I turned the key, and began to back up. I felt a little wimpy and disappointed in myself. Did I let another opportunity slip by? Was that a prompting from God to give her a ride, or just my active imagination?

That's when I saw her pause on the sidewalk, turn around, and look back at the store. I had a second chance. I'd make my move.

I pulled up alongside her, rolled my window down and asked "Do you live on Hampshire?" She said she did. I introduced myself and told her that I too lived in the neighborhood. Then I popped the question, "Would you like a ride?"

She smiled an amazing smile right away, and made her way around to the passenger side of my car. She put her heavy grocery bag on the floor of the passenger seat, scooted herself in and closed the door.

We pulled out of the parking lot, the entire time my mind frantically trying to figure out if what I was doing was legal or not. I don't know why I worried that it wasn't. I think this was just so out of my normal realm that my brain was on overload.

I didn't want her to feel awkward, so I said, "How was your day today?" She said good and we began talking about our jobs. I learned that the sidewalks haven't been plowed yet from the storm, and so I imagine her hesitation at the grocery store was where she was going to walk! The street wasn't a great option, as it was a busy one, and the sidewalks were covered in about a foot and a half of snow.

She was pleasant company and thanked me throughout our conversation for the ride home. When I pulled into her driveway I again told her where I lived (trying to make her feel safe and know that I really AM a neighbor), and she thanked me (again).

I can't wait to see her on my walks. I look forward to greeting her by name. I hope she remembers me. What a gift that interaction was, and I am so incredibly grateful that God gave me another chance to help her. I wish I could be better about taking those first opportunities He gives me, but I am ever thankful for his grace which gives me a second chance.

This song came to mind today as I drove away from her house. Enjoy, and remember to take the first chance you're given. :)

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