It was a couple days before my dad’s 70th birthday. This is a HUGE milestone for anyone, but especially for Dad. You see, we almost lost Dad several times. I was just a fifth grader when he had his first heart attack. Not to mention that he nearly died as one of the very first people diagnosed with Chron’s Disease. Insert several other horrible bouts with Chron’s and another severe heart attack, a few days in a coma, dialysis, and you get the picture. Being home for Dad’s birthday was a big deal.
So imagine my dismay when our van (a.k.a The “Good” Car) breaks down and we get ripped off by the mechanic. I was in tears the night before we were to make the 3 hour trek. Feeling nearly hopeless, I uttered a quick prayer, “God, I just wanted to go home for my Daddy’s birthday.”
The next day we were still stuck. It was 2 hours after the mechanic was suppose to show up and attempt to finish the job I had already paid him for. Then I heard the knock.
Imagine my surprise when I opened the door to find my aunt and uncle! The strange thing about that is that they live 3 hours away in another state and have never “swung by” for a visit. They happened to be on the way to visit my cousins a couple states north of us. Right before they neared the exit a few miles from our house, they “happened” to talk to my grandma, who told them what was going on. They were kind hearted enough to say, “We’ll just swing by and pick them up!”
To truly appreciate this, you must understand that I come from a long line of wonderful people who don’t like to inconvenience anyone. I grew up learning that if you are going to inconvenience someone, you just don’t do it. This made my automatic inclination to their offer an automatic “no.”
But then I really thought about it. I had an awesome aunt and uncle who had already gone out of their way. I had 3 kids who were really upset they might not get to see Mimi, Pawpaw, and Great Grandma Apple, plus Aunt Jo, Uncle Chris, and Cousin Josh, who we only get to see about twice a year. I also had Mom and Dad, who’s greatest joy in life is spending time with their grandkids. Even though it would take some re-packing of their luggage, squeezing dirty car seats into a super clean van, waiting a few hours for my husband to get off, a rushed packing job, and borrowing a car from my parents that we would have to make a 3 hour trip to return...it made a lot more sense to inconvenience someone.
So, finally, the moral of the story…I don’t like inconveniencing people. I don’t like needing things from others. But more and more lately, it seems I do. That’s normal. It’s also normal to hide it and act like you have it all together. But none of us do. We all have vans (or cars) that sometimes break down. We are all people who break down ourselves sometimes. We need to let others help us up and give them a chance to experience the joy of serving us.
Not only that, but letting others serve us helps our kids understand why it’s important that they serve others. I wish I had taken a picture of my children’s faces when they found out that we were going to make it to Mimi and PawPaw’s. The only word to describe it is downright JOYOUS. One day they are going to remember their great aunt and uncle’s kindness, and they are going to go out of their way to help someone who thought a situation was hopeless. They are going to be the answer to someone’s prayer that was mindlessly muttered in a moment of frustration. (Thanks, God!)
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galations 5:13-14
Have you ever let someone serve you? Share your stories about how God has used someone to answer your prayers. Let’s give God some glory!