...because that's where I'll be.
Yesterday evening, I was driving home from class around 7:00, kind of zoned-out, minding my own, when I thought I caught a glimpse of something or someone a few hundred feet away in the turn lane I was approaching. Sure enough, as I got closer, I realized that it was the homeless woman I have seen around this area a few times. She was standing in the middle of the two right-turn lanes.
As I got closer to her, I actually said out loud to myself, Man, this is gonna be really awkward... How can I not look at her, even though we're facing each other? Within seconds, she was feet away from my window, looking directly at me to see whether I'd offer her money. She had on a dirty tank top, jeans with more holes than Swiss cheese, a military-style backpack, and her hair was in braided pigtails. She looked exhausted and very, very thin.
As I glanced in my rearview mirror to buy myself some time, I lamented the red light that was creating this uncomfortable tension between us. Certainly, I was under no obligation to offer her money. She wasn't approaching my car to knock on the glass. Obviously, she had stationed herself at a busy intersection, hoping for good results. She was merely looking at me, and I was doing my best not to look her in the eye.
I peered around her to check the status of traffic. As soon as I thought I was
all clear to turn, two guys in a P.O.S. swerved out of nowhere into my lane, cutting me off. As I mentally gave them the finger and a few choice words, I saw the homeless woman run over to their car. They held out a bill and shook her hand. And then, just as I felt my jaw hit the floor, the man in the passenger seat stuck his head and one arm out of his window and mouthed, Go ahead! They blocked traffic for a few seconds, allowing me to safely turn right.
As I drove the half-mile to my apartment complex, I literally prayed for having been so selfish. I realized then that I didn't have any cash to offer the woman, but at the very least, I could have offered her a smile or a wave. I could have even dug a few sticky coins out of the center console of my air-conditioned car.
I turned into my neighborhood, noticing just in time that someone had placed a beautiful wooden cross draped with a blue cloth and fresh flowers by the signpost. On it was the name of the young man who was killed there just a few months ago. All of what transpired in those few minutes really caused me to stop and think...
God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.