Today, I stopped in at our local health food store, to stock up on dairy-free kefir. I was in a hurry and bee-lined it over to the pro-biotics fridge, in the corner by the check-out lines.
Getting in and out was all that was on my mind, and there, in the middle of my path, was an elderly man examining a vitamin bottle. I wanted so badly to dash in front of him, grab my stuff, and get out, but my mother’s home-training concerning manners came to that poor guy’s rescue, and I politely said, “I am sorry, would you mind terribly if I walked right in front of you?”
The man moved over and let me by, and I thought, “Oh, ya, see, I am out-of-here!” Grabbing my two bottles, I started my mad-dash to the front, when he spoke. I thought, “Oh, Lord, I am never gonna make it now…he is old, and lonely and wants to talk my leg off!”
Normally I make it a point to talk to lonely people, but today, I had such a burden, and such a time-line.
Through the jungle of my thoughts, I heard these words, “Thank you, young lady, for being so polite. Most people would have just walking through without a word.”
NOW, he had my attention. People’s bad manners are the bane of my existence. I hate the lack of civility that our society shows day, after day. It eats at my soul, it makes me cranky.
I turned back to the man, and took a good look at him. He was a tall, dark man, with graying hair, and the kind of wrinkles that wisdom etches in a face. His eyes were soulful, kind, deep. “Wow, I thought. I would really LIKE to talk to this guy!” I could tell by his face that a conversation with him would be filling, like an all-you-can-eat buffet of words.
I told him that I grieve the loss of good manners in America, along with a lot of other things that burden me about our country. He listened to me. It was like he knew my heart already, and yet, still wanted to hear me say what I had to say. This really took me aback and I almost blushed in a sudden sense of humility.
Then came the rest of his words; slow, steady, comfortable. “You know,” he said, “the day is coming soon when God will have His way with mankind.” Okay, I stood there, rooted to the ground, feeling as though it was holy ground, and I should take off my shoes.
“Let not your heart be troubled,” he said, “for you are burdened with many things, and God wants to carry those for you. But DO know that in these end times, those who know the God of Heaven will come together, and will know one another. They will cross racial lines, work with immigrants, do work that America has been neglecting for years, and the Kingdom WILL be built.”
By then, I was melting into my shoes. Only God knew that I had worked hard to overcome my own racial fears, for this vary reason.
I said to him, “You are such a wise man. Do you work with young people? You have a needed message for them.” Again, slowly, and without disdain, he turned slightly away, and continued, “I have worked with them in the past, but God has told me that we need to work with the women of America. For it is the hand that rocks the cradle, that rules the world. Your work is critical for the health of our nation, and we know that the world groans for want of true mothers, wives, and daughters. God wants you to know how valuable you are, and how beloved.”
I cannot put into words, how arresting this was. Raising three boys, as a single mom, usually has me on a rampage about, “dads missing in action”, and “where are all the men”, etc.
It came to my mind, that this must be how Jesus made the woman in His life to feel. So loved, understood, and promoted. What a culturally different idea back then, and even still, now!
What a game-changer, to go from wanting (‘where are the men’, etc.) to having (‘you are beloved, and your work is critical’).
It was as though this man was a prophet of God, or my personal angel, incarnate, come to bring me a life-changing message of acknowledgement and affirmation!
No more, did I need to keep to my time-line. No more, were the burdens of the day. They all melted away while I quietly listened to the very personal words that the Lord had for me. It was in this stillness, that was able to know God. Psalm 46:10, “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’”
This afternoon, I, a ‘Martha’, became a ‘Mary’, and was lost in the admiration, love and wisdom of my Rebbe, Jesus.
Come, worship with me in sheer abandon of Joy!