Sunday, March 22, 2009

I've Got Nothing To Give - Ahm...Oh Yes You Do!

Saturday I was headed to the dump with my husband. We stopped in the gas station because my vehicle was on "E" for empty. I took my cash money and went inside to pay. As I was coming out I saw these two people get out of their vehicle. They looked disheveled and then I recognized the zig zag saunter of somebody drunk or high or both.

As an aside, drunk people are frightening to me. They make me very uncomfortable to the point of being afraid of them. I don't find them amusing or comical like many people do. As I motioned to my husband that he could begin to pump, I inadvertently caught the attention of said drunk person. Uh oh! She was making a beeline toward me. I swallowed and tried to figure out how to avoid her, to escape. It was too late.

She started talking and I wanted to keep going so badly, to ignore her to act as if I didn't hear her. Then she spun on her heels and faced me. Reluctantly, I turned to face her.

She said,"I deserve to get messed up [high/drunk]. I earned this. I need to do something for myself. I got my check yesterday and I just did my daughter's hair..."

When she said hair, ya'll know my eyes lit up. My fear just dissipated. I said, "It looked pretty, too, I bet."

She then reached for her own head and suddenly became remorseful and deeply saddened. She said," I know I look bad. My hair is a mess. My teeth are falling out." She placed her hand over her mouth and dropped her eyes and her shoulders, shamefully.

I lifted her chin and looked at her ebony colored face and suddenly the drunk woman disappeared. In her place I saw a Black woman with flawlessly beautiful skin and a tattered, injured and bleeding soul. The liquor that permeated her skin and had assailed my nose just moments before was now long forgotten. What knocked me back an indiscernable physical step was the palpable pain oozing from her very Soul. I could feel it.

She said, "I am so ugly but my baby is not. They are trying to take my baby from me."

I told her, "You are beautiful."

Then she started to sob. She fell toward me and into my arms. Let me remind you that we are in the MIDDLE of the gas station parking lot. That place between the pumps and the storefront where cars drive through to park when they are not getting gas.

I said, "Let's pray and began to say a well known prayer." At first I thought she was mocking me as she was adding words that were not part of the prayer. Then I realized that it was a merely difference in religion, the bulk of or spoken words was exactly the same. We said, "Amen," together.

She thanked me and told that everybody needed something sometime.
I got in the car and dropped my chin to my chest, feeling defeated and overwhelmed. I told my husband, "I wish I could have done something for her. She is in such pain."My husband looked forward and said quietly,"You gave her what you had, a hug and a word of encouragement. That is what she needed. She even told you so."
I had completely missed this. What someone may need may not be what you are used to giving. What they may need from you, what you may be able to give, may not even be something that yourself perceive as valuable. Never undersestimate who you are, or what you have to give or to offer. You never know whose life you will touch. Who you will help to hold on for just one more moment longer, who you will help make it through the night.
Even if you come 'naked to the feast', with nothing to offer but yourself, you can feed and nourish others more than any main dish ever could or ever will. We are all connected and even if you don't have two nickels to rub together, just because you are YOU, you will always have something to give.


Always One said...

Amen. The simplest things we do have an impact. I have a love / strong dislike relationship with my smile. However, I smile everyday and people are changed by my persistent smile.

Jc said...

That was very uplifting. I don't know if I would do the same thing in your place. I tend to be very judgemental about people who do things to excess because although I understand that they have issues, I also think that they have choices. To me, rising above all this needs a beautiful soul.

Perfectly Me said...

That was so beautiful, I'm glad you could give that woman some encouragement.

ms:RED said...

When you open up and give, instead of keeping what you have, God blesses you with more than you had before. You letting your guard down gave that woman what she needed, and now God is ready to bless you! I can't wait to hear what it is and I hope you share it with us! :)

Berta said...

This absolutely touching. Sometimes our own judgments and disdain keeps us from seeing true beauty and also assisting our fellow human. Thanks for your honesty and sharing this story.

TLS said...

This was a beautiful post! It really touched me and made me realize, that what we have to offer/ who we are as God made us is enough. I have often had similar situations,where people approach me and freely talk to me and I always wondered why and brush it off as nothing special. Now I understand, that I was suppose to be a vessel to help or listen and that just by doing those things, was enough. Thank you for sharing.

Wes said...

Thanks for sharing your experience... Sometimes the smallest things we do can have the greatest impact.

Maria said...

That was so beautiful, Chicoro. I needed to read that.

nenaspeaks said...

Thank you so much for this testimony. In my journey with God recently, I am finding more and more how God uses our gifts in exactly the place we're needed. I know that woman will never forget you. I only hope that I am able to have a profound effect on someone else through prayer the way you did.