We're All In This Together
By the time I got to my car, it was a full-out ugly cry. You know the kind. It’s not the cute cry we see in the movies. No - it’s the messy cry, and there’s not enough Kleenex in the entire world (or at least in the glovebox) to keep up with what’s flowing out of your face.
The woman doing my hair that morning had no idea her reference to ‘date night’ would evoke such a response from me. She didn’t know she had hit a nerve. She had no way of knowing her words triggered a deep-seated sorrow—or percolating shame.
But there I was - my head on the steering wheel, mascara all over my face - wishing I had chosen a parking spot in the back forty. In the trees. Down the street. Anywhere but here by the front door.
I sat for many minutes, reciting a historical message that had been holding me captive for months. Ok, years.
It’s interesting, isn’t it? How pain can draw us into believing we’re alone, unseen, or that we don’t matter. How the unthinkable things that have happened to us create a vortex of self-deprecating beliefs.
I spun in the ugliness of an untrue narrative that day in my car. Wishing for a different story. Feeling alone in the struggle.
Until a not-so-subtle knock on my window brought me back. Wiping my nose, I glanced to my left, through my swollen eyelids, and peered out the window.
I couldn’t see him at first. My windows were fogged up from the outpouring.
But then, there he was - covered in dirt and soaking wet - shifting nervously from foot to foot outside my car.
I’ll be honest, I prefer to be alone when I’m deep into an ugly cry. And at the very least, I prefer not to have an audience. So I was a wee bit irritated by my guest.
Locking eyes with him for a moment, he held my gaze. And then, very slowly, he lifted his sign and pressed it against the window.
In childlike handwriting, scratched across a saggy piece of cardboard, were these words,
“I am hurting too. God loves me too. Can you help me?”
Oh goodness, our God has a wonderful sense of humour—and impeccable (albeit surprising) timing.
My kindred spirit stood there in the rain, looking at me with what seemed to be a mixture of insecurity laced with hope. I recognized that look. I knew it well. It was the same look gazing back at me in my own mirror.
Rolling down the window, I smiled at him. Mascara all over my face. Dirt and rain all over his.
And in that strange and awkward moment, God reminded me. We’re all in this together.
We all have broken hearts. We all walk with a limp. We all carry unwanted, jagged pieces and hold signs that we’re wounded. It’s part of living here in our life between two gardens.
And, as I looked at my new friend, God reminded me of the very most important part - we are all loved exactly the same. There is nothing from our past that makes us too dirty, too broken, or too messy for God.
He is an arms-wide-open God. He’s a no-matter-what Father.
He doesn’t shrink back, pull away, or turn His head. He sees the limp, the broken heart, the grief, the shame. And He steps in, ready to help. Eager to hold. And able to heal.
In case you’re curious, my new friend introduced himself as Jason. He was grateful for a Subway sandwich that day, and I was grateful for the chat that put things in perspective. I doubt Jason had any idea that God used him to help me. I doubt he understood that I had been very wrapped up in my own pain and had been a hostage to my past. All he knew was that a woman with messy mascara and a plugged nose helped him by having a conversation, smiling at him, and buying him a footlong sub.
He needed to be seen that day. We all do. We’re all in this together - we’re all just trying to get to the other side. To that perfect Place where we get to meet Jesus face-to-face. And while we wait, while we limp our way there - may we remember to really see each other and to keep a keen lookout for opportunities to step into each other's stories.
Healing begins when we link arms with each other and keep moving towards our Saviour.
Praying for you this month as you seek Him and bless others.