Oh thank you GOD for wind and chill and fall. Thank you God for bike rides that make your legs turn to mush. Thank you God for the smell of coffee and yes.. the smell of gasoline too. Thank you God for hot chocolate and kaluah. Thank you God for friends, vulnerability, canceled classes, happy tears, rye bread, and old buildings.
Thank you...just...Thank you.
I am so excited about Fall that I could just JUMP OUT OF MY SKIN.
And I'm not gonna lie, I kind of like the rain.
There is something strange about the Kroger on Broadway, slightly unnerving, but exciting at the same time. It's a little gritty, a little bizarre, and always good for a story.
I was putting groceries for a dinner in the back of the VMC van with one of my supervisors this afternoon when we were approached by a woman.
Let me first describe the scenario.
We drive a dinky, old, and very big Bearden United Methodist Van that was donated a while back.
In front of the Kroger an old, rough looking car is parked that has a big logo saying something along the lines of "Flaming Fire Ministries" on it's side. A large, semi beat up trailer is hitched to the back of the car and the trailer is covered in hand written /painted quotes like "Jesus loves the sinner, hates the sin", "HELL'S FIRES ARE HOT-CONVERT TODAY" etc....(pretty much any bumper sticker/southern billboard slogan that makes you cringe)
Back to the story...
As we are loading the van a woman steps out of the "Flaming FIre" car and walks over to us asking if we are ministers (hence the church van) and we explain that it was donated and that we work with a non-profit. She proceeds to ask pointed questions about services in the area, where she can receive her mail and where she can get food-she interrupts my boss multiple times finishing her sentences and saying she already knows about the services. At this point, a little old man walks up from the other side of the parking lot and tells me that my lisence plate says "TCD". My response was, "Oh really, that's interesting." (all the while wondering what the heck the significance of the letters is) He comes back with "It stands for 'Terrific, Caring, Driver'" I laughed and said "Maybe so" He then asked if I liked music and upon my nod he pulls a harmonica out of his back pocket and plays me a medly of "Jesus Loves Me",and "When the Saints" along with some song i didn't recognize. I clap for him when he finishes and he turns and walks away. Meanwhile the "Flaming Fire" lady is still standing there asking us for money and for chips. After being denied she walks away to talk to her friend who has been making the rounds asking for donations in the parking lot.
We get in the van and start to pull away when my boss see's a Kroger employee and decides to honk to get his attention so that she can make him aware of the solicitation going on in the parking lot. "Flaming Fire" lady hears the honk and makes a mad dash for our van and gets right up to my window as the employee walks up.
Dialogue as follows-
Flaming Fire Lady: "Thank you for the directions ladies, GOODBYE!"
My Boss: (smiles at the lady) "Good-bye"
(FF lady continues to stand at our window, hands on hips with a scowl on her face)
Boss: "You can go, I just need to talk to this employee"
FFlady: "No I think I will stay right here"
Boss to employee: "Well, sir I was just going to let you know..."
FF Lady: "Don't believe anything they tell you sir, they are crazy and messed up and they are trying to ruin my life"
Employee: (looks completely confused)
Boss: "Actually sir I was just going to let you know that this woman is soliciting in your parking lot"
FF Lady: " SHE IS LYING! SHE CAME UP TO ME!"
(she grips the window sill, and gets in my face to scream)
"WHORES! THEY WERE TRAMPING IN YOUR PARKING LOT" "A BUNCH- UH WHORESSSSS!"
First of all let me just say that I was infuriated..not about what she said but about the fact that she was driving a car with the name of Jesus on it and then acting out of something that very clearly was not rooted in truth or goodness or Jesus for that matter.
I leaned out my window as my boss began to pull away and said, "You do know you have a quote on your truck that says 'God is love' right? " and waved.
(Really I much rather would have screamed in her face) I was so unnerved I was almost shaking.
Then I realized that although it may not be as blatantly obvious in my own life, I misrepresent Jesus everytime I treat someone with disrespect and out of the selfish desires of my heart. ...
Ohhhh God, teach me to love.
As of late, the most unlikely of people have brought me the most joy.
I have developed an appreciation and all around love for completely crazy people...and yes I mean seriously, medically, diagnosed crazy people.
I first discovered this last week when an older woman in the waiting room at the Doctors office sat down beside me and asked me if she could sing me a song. Of course I was just thrilled and said yes. With absolutely no regard for propriety or normalcy she stood and sang a completely off tune and rhythmless song called "Beulah Land". I think it was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. ...And of course I started crying.
There is something truly enchanting about someone singing without shame about heaven.
My sudden love was awakened again today in an elevator in a Public Housing Apartment. A little old man walked into the elevator after me with a goofy grin in tow. His eyes were slightly crossed and it was apparent that he had taken great care in ironing his clothes and slicking down his sparse hair. A woman on the elevator looked at him and commented, "Well you're looking happy today!" Naturally, he responded by bobbing up and down and saying, "I'm a chipper young grasshopper!" (This was the instant that I realized I just loved this little man) The woman replied, "Don't hop too high". With that, he immediately began singing an old "prairie song" in a high pitched voice, smiling to himself and clicking his heels. As we filed out of the elevator on the ground floor he remained in the elevator smiling to himself, continuing his song to his exiting audience....and the doors closed.
Joyful people just make my day...especially when they sing.