Odd title, right? And some of us are reminded of that movie line from decades ago: “Go ahead, make my day”!
Well, in contrast to the impending doom triggered by that movie quote, let me briefly share what happened this past Wed.
It was just one of those days where every few minutes, there seemed to be a new challenge to deal with- cold, no fuel at our office facility, pressure to complete many documents in a couple days and get them to Nicaragua in time, etc. Add to that, the reality that I’d been sick for a week, while trying to work some, and still had almost no voice, and it would be very fair to say that I was just a bit “out of sync” and even irritable by days’ end.
Then, I still had to track down officers to sign documents..and they seemed to be at all 4 directions of the city, so that became time consuming..and it was COLD!
And then….the following happened:
I had put a beautiful pencil sketch of Mother Teresa in my car, along with another sketch of Gandhi, MLK and Dorothy Day and the 4 El Salvadoran martyrs- all people who inspire me. I was transporting because I needed to find a place to have one reframed and prepped to hang in our mission office.
In the interim, I was just finishing up with one of the officers and getting back into the car, when a voice shouted out behind me, “Ma’am, ma’am, can you help me?” I turned around to suddenly see an elderly woman and I had no clue where she had come from. However, I asked her what she needed.
She stated she needed a ride to the shopping center where she needed to get some groceries. So, I said yes, of course, without hesitation. (By this time, it was already LATE afternoon and I couldn’t see someone her age walking in the dark on such a cold day). I told her to just give me a minute to move all the frames to the back end of the car. She suggested that it would be too much trouble and she’d walk to which I said absolutely not….just give me a moment. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but knew instantly that we needed to welcome this lady into our vehicle.
Once she was nestled in our warm car, I turned to her and said, “Well, since we will be traveling together, let me introduce the two of us. This is Sr. Stephanie and I’m Sr. Debbie. She told us her name (both the one she uses now and the one she had when she lived in India). Then, as we chatted for a moment, she immediately got excited and said a couple of really complimentary comments to us…. to which I stated, that it was our honor to be her escort.
There was a moment’s pause and then she simply and humbly stated she was taught by Mother Teresa when she was in Kindergarten in India. My heart skipped a beat. Here I was, transporting a hand sketched artist’s rendition of Mother Teresa in the back…and I was in the presence of someone who had been taught by Mother Teresa before she left teaching to work in the gutters of Calcutta. And while she continued to share a bit of her story, I was distracted by the realization that “wait a minute”…there is definitely a message someone is trying to get across to me today.
Taking it all in, I realized how incredibly blessed I was to have a vehicle, to have a bed to sleep in, to have food and clothing, heat and light. Yes, it had been a bad day, but there was so much good about it as well- good like some of our volunteers working in the cold to pack and sort, good like one of our volunteers running to the store to get us space heaters, good like being blessed by the gift of my assistant, Suzanne and Sr. Steph and the good like our officers being willing to run out in the cold to sign documents while I ran around town to meet them.
And suddenly, it dawned on me…Hmmm, perhaps it’s not a coincidence that I had the sketch of Mother Teresa in the car or the coincidence of selecting this particular day to bring that sketch to the store…and surely, it was also not a coincidence that this woman from India suddenly appeared behind me, asking for a ride. Suddenly, it was obvious to me that she was a messenger…a messenger delivering a message from her Kindergarten teacher, Mother Teresa.
Mother Teresa once said: “Some people come in your life as blessings. Some come in your life as lessons.” Aha!
This cold elderly woman sitting in our car, had come into my life as both blessing and as lesson! And there was so much to reflect on…but suddenly, we were at the shopping center. I asked Trudy (her name now) if we could wait and give her a ride home, to which she responded, “No, thank you. You’ve already made my day. I have to shop and then, I’ll get a taxi home”. I turned to her and said, with tears in my eyes, “NO, Trudy, you’ve made my day! Blessings to you!
Indeed, some come into our life as blessings..some as lessons. I felt bad that I had been a bit distracted and overwhelmed by all the challenges of the day. I felt bad that I didn’t have time that day to visit with our volunteers. I felt bad that I hadn’t accomplished all that I had hoped to…..and then, suddenly, in a cold, moment, at dusk…I felt blessed!!
My day had been made..and a messenger had reminded me of the need to be grateful and to focus on the blessings of the moment and the blessings of the people in my presence.
So, who “made your day” this week? Who was your messenger of HOPE?! Who was your blessing and who was your lesson this week?
As you reflect on these questions, may you live and be HOPE this day and every day.