I'm spending a couple weeks visiting my parents out of state. The time has been lovely, enjoying family, free of chores, loads of help with my kids, sunshine and swimming. Such a fun time. And the entire time, my heart is heavy. So very heavy. Weighed down with thoughts of sidewalks, empty bellies, barefoot children, broken roofs and penniless pockets. I asked God to give me His love, His eyes, His heart for people and He has...and it hurts.
My eyes fill with tears with no warning at all. That silent lump creeps into my throat and I am still.
My mind is frantic at times, always searching for a solution. Before my heart speaks up and reminds me: love. Connection. Jesus. Yes, ah yes. That's it.
And so my heart is heavy, because it is weighed down by this love that God has poured into me and commanded that I pour into others. Most especially the forgotten and weak. The outcasts, the hurt and hungry, the sick and suffering, the poor and underprivileged.
I tried to share my heart with my mom and sister over the last couple weeks. I found myself discouraged because we don't all share the same calling. And not that they should. But in the moment, I felt saddened by the separation. And I wondered for a moment or an afternoon or a day if I was wrong. If I was being dramatic. If I was putting words in God's mouth and writing my own story. And I didn't know how to answer these questions. I asked God. And maybe that is dramatic, but really who else could I ask? I begged Him to tell me if I was wrong. To make things more clear to me. To lead my feet, steer my ship.
I fell asleep, a little sad, a little confused, a lot wondering.
In the morning, we headed out early, rushing to beat the midday temperatures of 109 degrees. We were taking the children to explore some fun and typical sights and activities in the area. I glanced at my tires before I buckled tiny little bellies into their seats and saw that one looked noticeably low. We stopped at a gas station on the way out, you know the kind, at the corner of the Baron's center with the Starbucks and the Panera? A nice gas station. And it was closed... so we headed on to the next closest gas station. You know this kind too... at the corner of the boarded up laundromat and the carniceria? A not so nice gas station.
And I pulled up beside the air pump, shook my head at the one dollar charge as I sipped my three dollar drink and wished that I hadn't worn a dress as I crouched down to check and fill my tires. The pump was finicky and taking longer than usual. A gentleman walked over, in worn jeans with a shirt tucked in, a dingy hat that had been cleaned...well, someone had tried to clean it. He had a fanny pack on and a bicycle. A simple band on his ring finger. His skin was weathered, brown and dry. His hair was combed but dirty. His eyes were deep...those eyes you read about in novels. Those gray eyes that house secrets and stories of the ages. His voice was gruff, but kind. He offered to help and to check the rest of the tires too. He gave me a couple tips about driving long distance. My mom came up and offered to buy him a drink. He thanked us and said it wasn't necessary, he was just wanting to make sure we got our tires filled right. He turned his gray eyes to me and explained that he was homeless. The minute I heard that, I felt overwhelmed. My heart felt it would explode and my eyes were stinging as I fought to hold back tears. Of all the people at this busy gas station, God sent this one man to help me. This man who had empty pockets and no roof at all.
And I know. I know this is it. I know that this burden I feel is real. I know that this love I have is from God. I know that this calling on my heart is His voice calling me to love the least. I just know. Maybe it seems ridiculous or dramatic or it just doesn't make sense to anyone else. But in my heart, nothing has ever made more sense.