The Human Thing to Do

I never imagined in a million years, that I would be sharing this story any further than myself and the unlikely stranger that is the center of this somewhat peculiar moment in time. But I am thrilled to be able to share it with all of you, just the same. May it serve as a reminder that the kindness of strangers does really still exist today. This happened quite some time ago, but I think it is so worth sharing. Every now and then, this person crosses my mind. I don’t know why, but he does.

I was on my way to church one Sunday morning. It was already hot and humid, even in the early morning hours of that particular day. From a distance I could see a man on a ladder, reaching up as far as his body would allow him to, in an effort to trim some of the tallest hedges I’ve ever seen. He reminded me of a tiny spider attempting to climb up a massive wall. As I drew nearer, I noticed a woman instructing the man on what she wanted done. The fact that he had removed his shirt, didn’t seem to bother her in the least, as she made her way across her expansive lawn and back inside her home. I couldn’t help but notice, that no glass or container of water had been offered to him in the midst her seemingly explicit instructions, nor did this man seem to have any water with him.

As I got closer, I could literally see the sweat dripping rhythmically from his brow and beading up on his bare chest. As I passed him from the street, I immediately became thirsty for him. My throat tightened as I swallowed hard. My heart went out to this stranger, as I witnessed his determination drive him to conquer the unconquerable; those humongous hedges that seemed to have no end. I quickly took a sip of my own bottle of water, that I almost always carry with me in my travels. Still, I was thirsty as the vision of this man, scorching in the hot Sunday sun, remained singed in my memory.

As I made my way to church that morning, I couldn’t get him out of my mind. I thought about him during the whole church service. I prayed that the owner of the house would come to her senses and do the human thing and at least offer the man something to drink. I vowed privately to myself that I would go back home the same way, so I could see if the man was still there.

Would you believe? Low and behold, he was still there, burning up in the Sunday heat, just as he was when I first saw him. I don’t know why I was so surprised. Not only were the hedges majestic in height, but they were massive in width and so deeply thick in appearance, that he could have easily disappeared within their clutches. Of course, this man needed a cold drink and there was no way I was going to drive by and see him a second time, with no signs of libation in anywhere in sight, and just proceed on my merry way.

I drove several blocks down to an area McDonald’s and got a huge cup of ice and purchased a bottle of water. Never has there been a better union than that that of ice and water, as I brought them together in refreshing matrimony. I drove right back down to where the man was working, pulled over, parked my car, and casually walked up and greeted him. I remember making a comment on the enormous job that he had embarked on while extending the cup of ice water to him. He had a look on his face that I have never forgotten. He thanked me profusely as he readily accepted my gesture. He looked at me incredulously, almost as if he were seeing a mirage and said that he couldn’t believe that I would stop and do that. I simply said that I would hope that anyone would do the same. For me, it was the human thing to do. I wonder if that day ever crosses his mind? A day where he came face to face, with an act of human kindness.

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

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When My Inner Voice Speaks

I usually speak to my mom each night before I go to bed. It’s funny…it’s seems that no matter how old I get, there’s still a kind of comfort that can only come from that one, all-important phone call to end my nights properly. My mom asked, as she usually does on Saturday night, if I was going to church the next morning. I said that I was pretty sure that I would not be attending. My mom accepted my answer with no fuss or muss as we both agreed that we would speak in the morning before she left home for service.

Well, I couldn’t agree with that old adage more, that says something about the best laid plans not always working out. When I woke up this morning, I became immediately convicted about my decision to stay home and not go to church. After all, there really wasn’t anything that I had to do that should get in the way of my going. But my original plan was to take a shower, get dressed, make myself some breakfast, and then sit on the side of my bed, (as I often do) and either envelop myself in the computer or a book that I am trying so diligently to complete. Now, to you, the reader, these plans may not seem like anything dire or anything that has to be done with any kind of urgency on a lovely Sunday morning, such as this one that I have again been so blessed to wake up to. Yet, it was my original quest to do each of these non-critical things.

However, once my feet hit the cold hardwood floors of my bedroom, and the warm sunlight streamed in to bid me good morning, I automatically walked over to my closet to figure out what I was going to wear to church. Yes, just like that, my best-laid plans had changed, within an instant. I didn’t have to look very long to figure out what to wear and quickly began preparing to make my way to morning service. You may be wondering, what happened? I was determined to go in one direction, but quickly found myself headed in another.

You see, I couldn’t bring myself to sit idly by, not properly paying homage to my Father; the one who makes it possible for me to open my eyes every day and take in my precious surroundings. God has been showing me some really pivotal things lately, things that I cannot ignore. I’ve been learning to put every bit of my trust in him and his promise to provide for everything my heart desires. The world has been crashing down around me lately, one thing after the other. Things that the average person would wonder how they would manage to work through. I have truly been realizing, with shocking clarity, that no matter what happens, no matter how big or small the problems are that arise, God is always there and has never and will never let me down.

Worrying is the human thing to do, but what does it really accomplish? A headache maybe, an elevation in blood pressure? And oh, yes. Let’s not forget, much unnecessary stress. Worrying certainly doesn’t make the problems disappear. If anything, it seems to exacerbate them. Who needs that, right? It’s a beautiful thing when I came to realize that putting my trust in God is the worry-free option that can move all the mountains that seem to be forming around me. I can only sit in awe and marvel at the profound blessings that God has bestowed upon me. But I had to first learn to cast all my worries and cares upon him. Admittedly, I’m not perfect and don’t always do this, as the human side randomly rears it’s fickle head from time to time.

I said all that to say this. I’m so glad that I listened to my inner voice as it is always speaking to me, ever so subtlety. It was so wonderful to fellowship and commune with others. Attending church is one of the ways I say “thank you” to God, for all that He does in my life. I can now sit on the side of my bed, envelop myself in the computer, or go back to reading that book I’m trying so diligently to complete, and do it all with a clear conscience. My new quest…to listen to my inner voice when it’s speaking. It usually has something very important to say; something I need to heed!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Put Your Shoes On!

    

I like to start my Sunday mornings off with a segment of Joel Osteen. He is one of my favorite television pastors. Always so positive and uplifting and most importantly, he seems so genuine and down to earth. I feel like I could sit and have a conversation with him. Yesterday morning he spoke about the need for people to put their shoes on each morning. He was referring to ‘shoes of peace’. He stressed the importance, of making a commitment to ourselves to not allow anything to move us from our peaceful state of mind. No matter what that something is.

I liked that Joel Osteen referred to this as one putting his/her shoes on for the day. I’ve never thought of things in quite those terms. It’s much like putting on your armor everyday, to protect yourself from all the impending bullets of life that are bound to come your way. Prayer is also another way of putting on your ‘shoes of peace’ or ‘armor’ for the day, providing protection for you from what may be lying in wait. This segment of Joel Osteen really blessed and enlightened me, as he always does. As a result, I’ll be sure to put my shoes on every morning, so that I may walk in peace as I face the world. How about you?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google images

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