Early this morning I began processing something that happened on the way home after our trip to Tulsa last weekend.
Do you ever experience emotions so deep that you really can’t begin to know how to think about them or process them, so the emotions sit there, waiting? I guess that happened, in a way, to me with this person we met.
Just to preface this true story, God has been telling me to “Open my eyes.”
Did God literally speak this to me in my ear? No. But I’ve heard from him long enough, that I know the ways he speaks to my heart.
Twice in the same day last week I noticed a sign that said “Open your eyes.” It struck my spirit, so, as I usually do when this happens, I have been meditating on it, testing the message, looking at scripture, and seeing if there is any meaty value for my spiritual walk in it. Is it God?
In this case, it’s pretty easy to look at scripture and see all of the times it mentions this idea. It concerns our spiritual eyes and ears, not just our physical ones, tapping into what the Spirit is doing and saying at any given time, and trusting God is the one doing the nudging to step into life and love.
Like in Mark 4: 9 and 12:
“9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” . . .
‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;’”
As a short sidetrack to help you understand where I’m at with all of this, I’ve been reading through I Samuel and the story of the rise of David.
Do you know something interesting to me? When God told Samuel the prophet to get his oil ready to anoint the next king, he sent him to Jesse’s home to anoint one of his sons. When Samuel got there, the father, Jesse, had his seven older sons walk in front of Samuel, yet even though Samuel was impressed by the outward appearance, God said a big fat NO to each man.
Does it make anyone else wonder why Jesse never even considered bringing his youngest son David in from watching the sheep? I have wondered it. I think Jesse never even thought it might be David!
Man sees differently than God, because God knows ALL THINGS. He looks at our thoughts and emotions and motivations and spiritual gifts. He looks at the heart, something man does not usually see. His ways and thoughts are higher.
Samuel told Jesse to get David, “And we won’t sit down until he gets here!” (Basically saying, get him here right now! As soon as possible!) He knew David, this shepherd boy, was the next King of Israel! He was seeing, now, what God already knew.
So back to my cool experience: We went to Cracker Barrel for dinner on the way home, and it was packed!
Of course you walk in the door right into their little shop, and there were people milling around all over in there. While we waited to be seated, for a minute, I looked through some women’s sweaters and felt the soft crocheted thread, enjoying the holiday vibe.
When they seated us, our waitress came up to take our drink order. A huge baby bump filled her dark brown Cracker Barrel apron. She wasn’t wearing any make-up and her brown hair was short and a bit messy. She smiled at us, though, and seemed energetic and happy. I noticed as she left the table that she wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. Who knows why?
She was a great waitress!
Sometimes more than others, we like to engage with the servers and find out how their day is going.
As we asked her when she was due, she surprised me by saying she’s having a girl due on December 8th.
Two things instantly flooded my thoughts: Audrey is due with her baby that same week, just as pregnant right now as this waitress; and, that’s Adele’s birthday. “Oh, that’s my middle daughter’s birthday!” I told her. “My youngest is pregnant and due that same week with a boy!” I felt a connection to her.
For some reason, this hit my heart pretty hard that her daughter might be born the same week as our second grandson and on the same day my daughter was. Coincidence? Maybe.
God has been telling me to “Open my eyes.” So, I tried to see what he was seeing, a pregnant, hard-working, young waitress who could have been my daughter.
For one brief moment, God allowed me to see her as he sees her, and feel what he feels towards her.
I felt kind, motherly feelings towards her. I felt a great compassion for her that I don’t usually feel. It was other-worldy, supernatural, (“super”—above—the natural), like really deep compassion, dare I say the word “love,” even.
I ordered the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and fried okra: so good. We talked and ate and relaxed, holding conversations again with our waitress as she came by. She forgot to bring me the lemon for my water I asked for. I told her just to forget it, that I don’t need it anyway.
When we finished eating, I told Tony I wanted to buy something for her baby. He agreed.
I went to the Cracker Barrel shop and found the perfect red and white little dress with sweet little frills and bought it (Not the one in the picture, but similar.) and paid for our meals with a separate ticket.
As I paid, I asked the man if he knew the name of our server, the pregnant girl. He did not. “It will be on the top of your receipt.”
I looked on the receipt and found her name: It was Meggan, with two “G’s.”
I stopped for a second because this struck my heart.
The day Audrey was born, Tony and I were still conflicted a little between two girl names. We sat in the hospital room bathroom while I took a Jacuzzi bath and discussed what we should call our daughter. We decided on Audrey, but the other name we didn’t use? Megan. Even though we didn’t name her Megan, it will always be a special name to me.
I asked for a Cracker Barrel paper bag, put the dress in the bag with a gift receipt and went back into the restaurant. Meggan was just taking dirty dishes into the kitchen.
“I have something for you.” I told her.
She left her dishes in the kitchen and came back out to me, by the big fireplace.
“This is something small for your baby girl,” I told her. She gave me a big hug. “Thank you for being such a great waitress and taking care of us,” I told her. “Blessings on your baby!”
She had to get back to her job, so it was a short conversation. I had done what I wanted to do by giving her the dress and a few kind words. I hoped she liked it. I hoped she felt my love.
Of course she said thank you. I don’t know what it meant to her that day, if anything. I just know I felt compelled to act on the deeper feelings of compassion I was having for her as a daughter about to have her own daughter.
Does she have a mother who will buy her baby dresses and toys and help her with any tips or advice as she needs it? Tell her she’s doing a good job, that she’s a good mama? Tell her there will be hard days, but don’t give up because the human heart in her little one is more sturdy and forgiving than she might think or ever know? To tell her to forgive herself when she needs to? To receive help when it’s offered? I don’t know.
I’m not saying all of this to brag on myself—not at all. Only to share that God is doing something new in my heart: to care, to see, to have compassion that reaches a deeper level, a new level of speaking up and stepping in as I open my eyes and heart to what God is doing right now, in this very room, wherever I am, in the moment.
People are hurting. I will say it again: People are hurting and in levels of pain some of us may never know.
God, open our eyes to be your hands and feet to those around us. I have a hope that is bigger than the darkness and pain. I am not the answer, but I know the One who is.