If there are a few things I’ve learned while being a newish mom, is that I can’t mess around with lunch or nap time!
Since we had about 30 minutes, it would be a close call, but I could take her on a quick bike ride. We put on our helmets, and I strapped my two year old at the time in the bike trailer to ride to the nearest gas station, refill our deflating tires, and be back just in time for lunch and her nap.
When we made our first turn, a man was walking around the neighborhood, dressed casual, holding a laptop in front of him, and a lanyard around his neck.
He could be one of the many many reasons I don’t answer my door thinking it was one more person to sell something, tell me who I needed to vote for, what cable company I needed to switch to, what products I should use, or what religion was the best one, so I was hoping to pedal faster.
Yes, I am that person! If I’m not looking to buy something specific, I don’t want people convincing me that I need whatever they are selling.
I smiled anyways and was polite as I pedaled. He walked quickly towards me, held up his hand, and asked if I could help him.
LISTEN TO THE GIFT OF FEAR
My inner alarms were not going off about him, other than to avoid him if he was a potential salesman, so I stopped.
Last time I ignored inner alarms, or that gift of fear, I was approached by seven people at dark while putting my baby in her car seat and was robbed.
I learned the hard way to stop ignoring the gift of fear.
I pulled my bike over and he asked me what street we were on.
I honestly didn’t know because there was no sign. It was a very small side street leading to the next neighborhood over, and that it was a bit new. He explained his job, working for the census bureau, and that because this area was so new, addresses and streets still needed to be put into the system, including the name of this unknown side street.
You can read the Gift of Fear that helps to protect you from violence. I wish I knew this earlier.
BE A BETTER LISTENER
He seemed a bit sad, so I took a few more minutes to hear more of his job, and how it was his first day. It was difficult to understand in his thick Indian accent, but I kept eye contact and connected with him. He showed me the area he had to cover on his work laptop, and how people have been so prejudiced to him trying to do his job.
“Ya know, maybe people thought you were selling something because we get a lot of those around here, and it’s why I don’t answer my door most of the time. People are constantly selling stuff and trying to convince me that I need whatever they are selling.”
At least I hope they were thinking he was a salesman and not avoiding him because of his race.
I also apologized that people treated him that way, but I was honest with him, that maybe they just thought he was selling stuff, but either way, I hated he felt like that and wanted to do something about it.
We talked a few moments more, and again apologized I had no idea the name of the little side street that he needed to put into the system. I should have made something witty up and maybe even name the street after myself, because, why not?! But I wasn’t witty enough at the moment to think of that.
Darn it. I lost my chance to name a street.
I wished him best of luck and pedaled on my way to that gas station with my nearly flat tires and couldn’t help but to think of the man, and how he said people treated him. I wished I stayed and talked with him longer to show him people can be good.
Thankfully, twenty minutes later he was still sitting in his car.
PRAY FOR COURAGE TO DO THE RIGHT THING
I stopped my bike, turned the bike trailer around, prayed up some courage, and knocked on his window.
He had his laptop open, was on the phone, flipping through papers, and probably working on something important, but I knew deep in my spirit that I needed to reassure him.
Do you ever feel that tugging in your spirit? Listen to it.
He opened his window and smiled while obviously busy.
I choked back my tears to say, “I just wanted to say how sorry I am how some people may have treated you. You don’t deserve that, and it’s never ok. We’re not all like that.”
I could tell that meant something to him and was glad I listened to the Spirit of God to talk to him. He thanked me, and then awkwardly struggled to turn my bike trailer around.
BE THE REASON PEOPLE SEE GOOD AGAIN
I have found that deep down everyone just wants to be loved and accepted. It’s hard to feel that love and acceptance when you experience judgement or blame for whatever reason.
I know I’ve gotten it a lot.
Look for ways to love and accept people that are different from you.
Be the reason somebody smiles, be the reason someone can believe the good in people again. Even better; be the reason people see God again.
Even if you are busy and chasing the clock of a toddler tantrum with deflating tires, it’s just one genuine smile to a stranger can make someone see the good this world so desperately needs more of.