Wednesday, January 18, 2006

On the Road

Lutheran Zephyr had a good post on what truly makes for a "pro-life" orientation and just how hard that is to live by consistently.

In his comments he enjoins, "Think of the poor waiting at the bus stop in the cold rain as you drive by in your heated Honda." This particularly resonated with me because I have very recently experienced a peculiar reversal of this situation.

Now I'm not poor by any measure but, as something of a would-be environmentalist, I do ride the bus regularly. One night last week, as I was standing in the rain waiting for the bus, someone pulled over to offer me a ride. At first I thought it must be someone I knew from work but as I looked in the car, I didn't recognize the man. On impulse, I accepted the ride anyway -- the bus was due any minute and I don't mind the rain, but it seemed, strangely, to be the polite thing to do.

The man who gave me a ride explained that he knew what it's like to have to wait in the rain and that Jesus teaches him to share what he has with others in need. At this point, I think I was able to spare myself a little evangelism by revealing that I also am a church-going man, and I briefly wished I was still standing in the rain. I soon regretted that secret judgment.

The man's name was Freddy, and as he drove he told me about how he had left his home in El Salvador because of political turmoil there. He lived briefly in California and then came to Oregon for work. As this story unfolded, it became clear that this man who was ministering to me by offering me a ride in the rain was a man of much humbler circumstances than myself. The irony was not lost on me.

After talking with him a while, I was convinced (strictly indirectly) that what he had done was a genuine act of kindness -- what Richard Foster calls "true service" as distinguished from "self-service" in the guise of service -- and the only thing I could offer in return was to accept this service.

1 comment:

Lutheran Zephyr said...

beautiful. we all need more of these moments.