I experienced the Social Security office today with my newly married daughter who went to get her name officially changed. In that lobby was gathered a selection of humanity that begged, albeit unknowingly, for empathy and prayers. Whenever I find myself outside of my usual circle, I sense the Lord whispering to me, “Pray for this person…and this one…and that one.” And I did pray for several of the people I saw there today–and maybe even prayed a collective, blanket prayer for all of them. God, help them.
A few individuals attracted my attention more than the others. One was a 20-something girl desperately attempting to look like a man, complete with muscle shirt, backwards cap, and “Britney Spears” tattooed on her arm. Jesus, help her.
Another was a guy with a “grill”. (If you are over 30 or you don’t watch tv, or both, like me, ask someone under 30 and who does watch tv to share with you the new definition of grill–yet another modern mutation of the English language.) Jesus, help him.
But the person who made more of an impression on me than any other was a woman who looked as if she had stepped off a movie set. Before your mind’s screen jumps to conclusions, let me say that this was no superstar actress. No, this lady looked like someone playing the part of a homeless person–the very poster child for homelessness: tangled hair, trench coat, slightly maniacal expression, and worn, lace-up boots that looked like they actually came off the set of an old western.
While my daughter and I were waiting by the door for her number to be called, I sensed the Lord telling me something new. When the “homeless lady” walked by us on her way out and asked if I knew what time it was, I thought I heard the Lord say, “Give her your watch.” It seemed to be just a fleeting thought, but one that caused me to wonder and second guess and doubt.
Then I told myself that is probably not what the Lord said, that I probably imagined it. So I didn’t give the lady my watch. I just let the moment slide right on by.
I don’t know why I didn’t give her my watch. I could get another one just like it for about $30. Or I could go without a watch. Neither option could even be considered a genuine sacrifice.
So I tell myself now that the lady doesn’t know what she missed out on. She has no idea someone was thinking of giving her a watch. She may not have known that someone was thinking of her at all.
But what did I miss by not heeding the whisper? I will probably wonder every time I look at my watch. And wish that I would have given it away.
Janice Powell 2013