I drank 2 cups of coffee at church yesterday morning. The kids slept in and I logged on from the comfort of my leather chair and all was good and right and lovely and worshipful and quite missed. I scanned the congregation for familiar faces and then soaked up good teaching.
An hour passed.
The kids came down the stairs. I poured cereal and made toast. They bickered and I scolded. My body was present in the moment, but my mind churned with a million little nagging thoughts that manifested into one truth:
I am afraid of being small.
I dressed the children and did a load of laundry. I made my bed and wiped the toothpaste from the sink and picked up the dirty underwear from the floor.
My mind rolled with thoughts of being swallowed alive by the smallness of this life and I thought I would choke on it all. More hours passed as I worked through the mundane and then Thad came home.
We stood in the kitchen while I prepared lunch and we had the exchange I shared yesterday.*
“You want to drive by Willy’s store when we’re done with lunch? We could load up the kids’ bikes and drive out to MLK park. It’s just over the railroad tracks,” he asked, as we served lunch.
I nodded, but my thoughts were all over the map. No, I really didn’t want to cross over the railroad tracks. No, I really didn’t want to be swallowed whole by the poverty. No, we shouldn’t be here at all. We should be somewhere else entirely, doing something else entirely, where we don’t have to deal with race relations and poverty and gangs and all-out spiritual warfare on a grand scale. We should be somewhere where your education matters and the people are easy to lead and the giving works both ways.
My brain went numb with the silent running dialogue I had with Jesus and Thad. I never once hushed my thoughts to make space for Jesus to whisper.
But He did and I almost missed it.
We cleared the table and I helped to load the car. I grabbed the camera and I followed behind Thad’s truck all the way over the tracks. Thad pointed to the little white building with metal screens locked over each window to the front door where a black man stood, dressed in his Sunday best.
It was Willy.
He was bent low, unlocking the padlocks that lined the door of his store. I couldn’t help but think, that in his own way, he was preparing the way for the Lord.
I choked on my own ugly arrogance, for my own longing for a big life, for my own foolish pride, for my own disdain for this seemingly small lot in life. I choked on my own pride.
That man’s smallness is mighty on that corner.
And I am hushed and so very humbled.
*His words danced all over the place and so I chose to share his story, not mine. I don’t feel quite so naked standing in the line at Target when I share his side of this journey. And sometimes I need a break from feeling naked.