And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
Her years are catching up to her.
She is frustrated with her own slow mobility but was able to make it to church that day. But it wasn't a good day for her.
I met her as she was walking into the ladies' room. I asked her how she was doing. Not good. She had twisted her hip somehow this morning in her Sunday School class. Now her walker wasn't just a nicety. It was a neccesity. She couldn't walk without it. And if that wasn't enough, she has this cough. A cough that can barely be controlled by medication.
And that was why she was coming to the ladies' room. To try to tame the cough. The cough that had just gone out of control during church service. But she couldn't do anything about it. She couldn't remove herself from service. An usher had to bring her walker. She couldn't walk out because she had twisted her hip earlier.
And as if her embarrassment wasn't enough, there had been a new person that had been sitting by her. And she was certain that her uncontrollable cough and her inability to excuse herself in a timely manner was somehow going to taint that new person. They might not come back. They might be so frustrated as to not even listen to the service. You could tell that she found herself to be a nuisance and perhaps should not come to church in the future.
I decided to offer her a different perspective. That perhaps that new person wasn't as bothered as much by the cough of an elderly saint as they were witness to a community that took care of its own. And perhaps the new person might be thinking that they would want to be a part of a community that cares for its own as well as the community-at-large and even to the far reaches of Africa. Perhaps that new person might have a small glimpse that it is okay to not be 100% but still be welcome. Still be loved. Still be part of the community.
We prayed. I gave her a hug and she smiled as she began to process the new perspective. She nodded her head. And I went on my way.
“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.
God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by
sending us people with claims and petitions.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community