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A Day Indeed

April 25, 2006

2.8.2006

Do you ever just have one of those days??…I mean, not necessarily where everything goes wrong, but in a sense it does…or just a day where everything seems to be out of the ordinary, bizarre you might say— only, the unordinary turns out to be the very reality of this world for many people.

Last night I went to bed with the assurance (Lord willing) of waking in the morning and continuing my scheduled day: observation at the school, work at Asbury, work at UCG, drive home by 11:30pm. I suppose the course of my prayer dictated a different day: “Lord, please help me to live each day as a new day. Lord, I do not want to become wrapped up in the daily routine.” This prayer weighs heavily on my heart, as I know how easy we fall into this trap we call ‘busyness.’

I did wake this morning by the Lord’s grace, and I did make my way to the school for observation. However, when I arrived a substitute resided in the classroom. Pulled from the classroom for teacher training, Mrs. Christie would not be returning until 10:30.

In chaos, the students knew they had an advantage over the sub and the two student observers. Of course, we had no outstanding rapport with the students, therefore, respect ceased to exist. I spent most of my time manning down the classroom, keeping students on task and stepping in between two students who seemed to be in rivalry with one another. I desired to understand the instigator of the two; talking with him I discovered his ambition to be a gangster when he grew up and his deep longing to shoot someone since he wishes to follow in the footsteps of 50 Cent . My naiveté did not allow me to discuss the rapper at any great depth, but the sub proceeded to tell this child that even 50 Cent had to go to school. The child responded, “No…he just shoot people.” My heart broke as this little 3rd grade white boy spoke only of what he knew. I could only imagine the home life he returns to each day. Burdened for him I prayed silently and processed every interaction from the morning.

I made my way home to grab some lunch before work. Once home I ate and decided to check my bank account and credit card account. Hmm…let’s just say I have some debt to pay off on my credit card. I just paid a bill only to find that since then a larger sum has accumulated due to large payments being made for text books and such. It pained me to witness the amount—realizing how broke I truly am. I still owe my parents $500 as well…all of this must wait until March when my loan goes through. Sigh…finances…I am at peace to know that my money belongs to the Lord and He is a great provider!

Dealing with the money stuff online I found myself running late to work. I pulled out of my neighborhood and discovered that a cop drove out of an abandoned drive and began following me. I turned onto Tabor when suddenly lights shone in the review mirror. Perplexed, I drove to the side of the road. … “Ma’am, do you know why you were pulled over?” In a state of confusion these words stumbled out of my mouth, “Um, uh, no, actually.” The officer replied, “Well you ran through the stop sign back there, so I’m going to have to give you a citation.” At first I was so confused that I didn’t know what to think. Then I thought, “Well, maybe I did a roll-stop out of my neighborhood—yes I suppose I did?” I sat in anticipation yet peace. Then the more I thought about it, I realized I could not receive a citation within a year that I had previously taken Defensive Driving (which that is another testimony in itself—a story of God’s conviction and rebuking in my life—but great redemption). I began to dwell on this and then started to hold back tears. Of all the times I’ve been pulled over for expired inspection stickers and speeding, I had never cried, but now the tears were coming. “Lord, please don’t let me cry, please don’t let me cry.” …blast…I’m crying! Compose yourself…the officer returned with a ticket to sign. “Great,” I thought, “thanks for letting me help you make your quota, buddy.” I think I was beginning to become slightly irritated that this man had no mercy or grace. Bam—a citation just like that. I think I was crying because I had not even realized I had failed to adhere to a stop sign. Apparently, I failed to, though. He proceeded, “You have ten days to go to court…” The tears came, “Sorry, I don’t know why I’m crying.” Truly, I didn’t—I had never cried before because I knew I was guilty, no question. I’m not about crying to try and get out of a ticket. Honesty is good and in the past I have received both judgment and grace. Now, however, I was feeling a bit of injustice. I drove off with my pink copy and tears welled-up in my eyes, now trickling down my face. “Lord, I feel so broken. I can’t afford to pay for this ticket. Why did you allow me to get a ticket? And before the year’s time? And for a roll-stop I don’t even remember doing? Oh Jesus, please help me with my finances!” At a loss I proceeded to work.

I arrived half an hour late. Not a big deal since someone was working at Ireland. Well, about half way through my 5 hour shift I was startled by a strange man, “Hey,” he said in a low, almost seductive voice. He continued, “How are you?” “Uh, fine,” I half-heartedly replied. “Are you a college student,” the voice continued. “Yea,” I said with little certainty. What was this guy getting at? He is too close for comfort. My booth door was open because the window at Asbury is very annoying and doesn’t open high enough, usually resulting in my ability to only see people from the neck down. I felt very uneasy. He said, “A lot of people like my car,” and then asked, “Do you like my car?” A million things shot through my mind—is this a distraction so that he can try to get in the booth and rob me while I’m looking at his car? Is he a little off in the head? Is he just socially inept? Should I look at his car? Oh Jesus, please make him go away. Please make him go away. With caution, I leaned slightly to look out the window to see his car parked outside of the garage…a jalopy at that with the front hood propped open. What was I to say to this? “Sure, I guess,” was the only response I could manage. Lord, please make him leave! He started to walk away and went back to his car. I shut the door and locked it, phoning Alex who was over at Ireland. I watched as the man sat in his car, then got out to shut the hood and walked back to the garage and passed the booth going toward the stairs, looking back at me a few times. Alex told me to call West Campus—so I did. By the time they sent someone out to me, the man apparently came around the outside of the garage and got in his car and drove off—so there was nothing wrong with his car as it had appeared earlier. (I had not been able to gather his license plate number due to the angle of the car as well as the fact that I was not going to get out of my booth b/c I did not know this man’s location or motives). The Scan officer walked down to the Custodial office to ask if this man worked with the department (I thought maybe he had??). According to my description, the man did. Some relief came to me, but there was still uneasiness about it all—and regardless, the whole situation was creepy. Lord, please protect me!

I walked out to my car and drove over to UCG for my second shift. This was to last until 11:15pm. Fortunately, this was a day filled with the unordinary. Gates apparently declared free parking at Koldus from 8:30-2am for Silver Taps. To mine and Ashley’s advantage, we were able to go home early. Walking out to my car I prayed for safety, for I felt that something else was going to happen on my way home. This day had been a little off already.

The gas light came on and I stopped at the usual gas station near home. While pumping gas, an older black man came walking through the parking lot, dressed in a worn suit. He was missing most of his top teeth. He was talking to himself and then began talking to me I guess since I was the only one who made eye-contact with him. He sat down next to my car and began telling me stories of Pearl Harbor and the war. He was genuinely interesting and honestly, I wanted to talk with him, but did not feel led to. After everything that had happened earlier and the fact that I was a woman by myself, I decided against it. I began walking for my car door, trying not to be rude but at the same time maintain alertness and discernment. He kept talking…I eased into my car telling him I had to go. He popped up quickly and came toward my car door. A little uneasy, but not fearful, I kept the door slightly open to hear what he had to say. He asked if I had any money I could give him. Unfortunately, I was broke myself and had none to give—no cash at hand anyway. He then said, “Just a bun, a piece of bread. Some dinner.” I shook my head with sadness as I had nothing to offer. “God bless you,” I said and shut the door. He smiled a genuine smile, hands in his pockets and walked away with a slight joy—something I could not understand with circumstances such as his. I drove off and began weeping. My heart broke as I realized this man’s desperation. “Oh Lord, this world and life is so unfair! Jesus, be with this man tonight. Bring him dinner, Lord.” I debated whether or not I should turn around and do something for him, but decided that at this point prayer would be the only proper thing to do. I drove home with the street lights blurred by my tears.

Here I have been today, put in several straining situations, grappling with the hardships of teaching, the homework I have, the bills I must pay, and the laws I apparently broke. Whereas this man could only wander around in hopes of crossing paths with a generous soul who might spare him a few dollars—maybe he’d eat tonight and if not there would always be tomorrow if the Lord wills. I dare to say this man had some mental issues, but at the same time, he was quite sincere and had a big heart.

I am not fully aware of everything that the Lord was trying to teach me today, but I do know that today I felt the depths of a reality many people live each day. I felt the burdens of a people I may usually disregard because of my own busyness, selfishness, or disassociation—perhaps a bit of each. I discovered my desperate need for the Lord in my life. For His protection, His provision, His discernment, His grace, and His Love. Oh Jesus, may we turn to you in times of brokenness and in times of joy. May we cry for others and share the burdens of the world. Jesus, may we be surrendered before You!

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