Friday, December 05, 2014

A surge of the heart. A look toward heaven.

About ten years ago I was driving my Nissan Altima through the early morning rush hour streets of Southern California with my two little girls, aged 2 and 3 years old, buckled into the backseat.  As usual I was in a hurry.  As usual they started bickering.  It was probably not even that annoying but I didn't know that then.  I was stressed and exhausted and was sure that if I could just have some SILENCE then the stop and go, the rush and brake, would go away.

So I looked at them in the rear view mirror and said...well, I'm not sure what I said because I soon as I finished being angry, I looked in front of me just in time to see the bumper of the car in front of me not moving forward anymore.

I slammed on the brake with both feet but it was too late.  Wham!

We weren't going very fast, thank God.  No air bags deployed.  No one was hurt.  But still I burst into tears.  I pulled over and the car in front of me pulled over and I got out, trembling at all the whatifs of that moment.  Out of the car in front of me stepped a woman- maybe in her mid fifties- with a furrowed brow.  She looked at me, she looked at her relatively unscathed car, she looked at my little girls in the back seat.  Then she shook her head a little and said "Don't worry about it honey.  Are you okay?  Good.  Be careful with those girls of yours."

Thank you wasn't enough but it was all I could think to say, over and over, as she got back into her car and drove away.

You know, it's not that remarkable of a story, really.  She did a fairly unremarkable thing.  But it was big to me.  It meant so much to my 24 year old self and my frightened kids to have someone show us mercy and kindness in that moment.

I remember that lady a lot and when I do I pray for her.  Whenever someone inexplicably pops into your head, do you do that too?  Wherever she is, whoever she is, I hope she feels peace and joy in her life.  Maybe I can be like her.  Since I can't thank her in person, I'll thank her out loud here and maybe she can somehow know.

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy- St. Therese of Lisieux

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  1. I do that too - they praying for someone when they pop into your head.

  2. Guardian angels at work: both keeping us safe and reminding us to pray for others, probably when they need it. I believe it!

  3. I recently had to take my 18 month old, Moira, in for an ankle x-ray while carting the newborn along. She couldn't walk so I had her on one hip while I carried the infant seat in the other hand. This kind lady in the waiting room took it upon herself to help me by watching over Sebastian while we checked in and carrying him for me when it was our turn. She would have helped me out to the car, too, but they called her name next. So she roped someone else into helping me out the door. She was such a bright spot in a stressful day. I make it a point to pray for her, and to try and be that person for others when I can. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I often think about the woman who lived about 2 miles from me growing up in rural america. She stopped by our house every Sunday and took us to church. As I get older and have my own children I truly appreciate the gift she gave my brother and I. My brother was a very challenging child so it couldn't have been easy. However, he has grown into a good man and father. I wish I could find her to thank her and tell her how much it means to me.

  5. YES! Many times someone will randomly pop into my head and I feel that I am being led to pray for them - so I do!

    Would love if that woman somehow discovered this blog post and got back to you! How cool would that be?

  6. Seriously, I thought I was the only one who did that. And I thought it was kind of weird, so I didn't say much about it. I'm so glad that so many of us do that!

  7. This is beautifully written and a great reminder of the long term effect that a merciful act can have! Thank you for sharing!

  8. My aunt told me recently that one of her friends who met me when I was about four said that he has prayed for me every day since then. We don't usually get to hear about our secret prayer team, but it was pretty awesome to be on the receiving end!

  9. I do that, too (when I remember!). I love it and it's such a grace to be prompted like that. Oftentimes I'll see someone walking while I'm in the car or see someone at the store and suddenly think, "say a prayer for that person." So I do. I wonder someday if we hopefully make it to heaven we'll see the pieces of all those random prayers and graces all fit together somehow. I hope so.

  10. I love that quote and am adding it to my bank. Thank you. And yes, I do exactly that. When someone pops into my head randomly I assume they need my prayers. Hopefully they do the same for me!

  11. I dream about random people all the time that I haven't seen or even thought about in ages. In fact, I recently dreamt about someone that I went to middle school with 22 years ago and haven't thought about since. I had the urge to Google his name and found out that he passed away last year after a battle with cancer. I thought maybe this was God's way of leading someone to pray for his soul.


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