Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sitting on the Curb...

These thoughts have been swirling in my head for a week now, but quiet time to sit and type is at a premium these days.

Last Sunday morning I drove my aunt and uncle to the airport. Between sips of strong coffee, my aunt and I chatted somewhat animatedly on the way there, with the occasional dry witted remark from my uncle. It was only 7:45 in the morning and the day before was one full of activity and excitement. Our extended family celebrated Christmas - it was beautiful chaos.
Now we were left to reminisce and look forward to what the rest of December might hold.

After dropping them off at the curb, I pulled out of Hobby airport and began the trek home, lost in my thoughts, mentally planning my day and humming along to the Christmas music from the radio. Inevitably my thoughts turned to Christmases past, more specifically, I began to count how many Christmases have passed since Kyle celebrated with us, here on the earth. This will be our 5th Christmas without him. Like scenes from a movie, memories floated through my mind - Wyatt's first Christmas, Megan's special gift for Kyle the first Christmas that the three of us were a family, the Christmas that Megan and Kyle thought they would be cool and hide my gift in the tree - a sapphire necklace and ring- thank goodness we found them before completely tearing the tree apart. The last Christmas we had as we ate dinner in a restaurant in Temple, TX and he gave me the most precious gift he'd ever given me warranted a sigh.

Lest I get too caught up in my own life, the Lord has a way of getting my attention in a hurry. I was almost to the Beltway and out of the corner of my eye I saw her. Sitting on the curb in flip flops, pajama pants, a knit top with a trench coat belted tightly, wind-blown hair and tired eyes with mascara streaking down her cheeks there she was. I tried to drive on by, but the Lord wouldn't let me. I figured she had a gun in her coat, but He knew she held a blessing just for me. I was so determined to drive on by that I even turned the corner, but quickly turned right back into the parking lot and headed straight for her.

As I got ever closer, my heart began to pound, not knowing what to expect. I am always leery of helping stranded people. I rolled down my window and asked if there was some way that I could help her. She responded that she didn't know, she didn't know what she needed - her boyfriend kicked her out of the car three hours earlier and she was just sitting there trying to decide what to do. She mentioned the cost of the hotel rooms around her and that several men had already stopped to proposition her, but that she was not that kind of girl. It was clear that she was holding onto her composure by just a thread, a thin thread at that. We continued to talk and I asked if there was somewhere I could take her or someone we could call. No, there were no friends, no family. She was just going to wait it out to see if her boyfriend would come back for her. I did tell her I couldn't afford to put her in a hotel room, but I gave her some cash. A drop in the very big bucket of her empty heart and eyes. I pointed her to a church and shared what my experience had been at that church and that I knew they would help her with arms of love and acceptance wide open, no questions asked. She didn't want me to take her there, but she did clarify that she had the name of the church right.

Before pulling away, feeling completely powerless to help her, I asked if she would tell me her first name so that I could pray for her. She kind of half smiled and said, "Miranda". I drove away with tears in my eyes and tears in my heart. Even now as I type my eyes are filling with tears.

It is so easy in this season, but really in any season, to get caught up in our own losses, our own grief, our own agendas and all around us "Mirandas" are sitting on the curb, just waiting to know that someone cares, that they matter to someone.

Not every "Miranda" is sitting on a curb outside, it could be your neighbor, your friend from work or high school or college. It could be someone from church or playgroup or your child's school. Rest assured, we are all surrounded by a Miranda.

This Christmas, may our Heavenly Father open our eyes to the "Mirandas" of the world. They're there - just sitting on the curb. Waiting.