Driving to work late one morning my head was filled with thoughts about church, about conversations, about seats that were empty that I wish were filled, about a finance email that detailed facts about lower income, about some challenging stuff happening. Some days I use the wrong measurements, and as a result feel ordinary, not extraordinary. I think perhaps many of us wish we measured up to something different than we think we do. This was one of those days.
I had not read @ScottSauls tweet yet, but it is needed. He wrote: “What if success was no longer measured by our accomplishments but in terms of humility, thankfulness, wonder, a life of love and being faithful in the ordinary stuff of life.”
So, I was just driving. I’d prayed. I’d written out my gratitude. I’d read Scripture and a devotional I’m using during Lent, and it was time to head into the office.
As I drove, I passed a young man on a bicycle without a helmet. My first thought when I see anyone riding without a helmet is “Oh man, get a helmet!” and then I think of this young woman, daughter of Joann Corrao who at 19 had crashed while riding her bike without a helmet, and ended up brain damaged. When I met her at 21 she knew she was disabled, would never work, could not comprehend school. Her life had changed forever.
So, I thought my helmet thought: ‘Get one!’ and drove past glancing back and realized that it might be a guy I know named Malachi.
Malachi is 18, the oldest in his blended family, has already spent time in jail, in detention, away from his family for most of a year to live with relatives; high school has not been an easy path. Now at 18 he’s a cool guy and pulling his life together.
Malachi and I had not talked for the longest time, but after I had pulled into the parking lot at the church, to my surprise, Malachi pulled in behind me.
I jumped out to greet him as he rode up, a big smile on his face. “Hey Brian,” he said, “I saw you and thought we hadn’t talked for a long time so stopped.”
“I’m so glad you did,” I responded. “So, what’s happening in your life?”
He is seeking to finish his schooling, hopes to graduate this year, and might enroll in a summer work program.
He asked me, “how’s the church going?”
The list of complaints, I had been rehearsing went through me. I mentioned that there are some factors that are challenging me but it’s going ok. I told about the cool Lenten season we were having. That he asked, that he was curious about my life touched my heart.
Then I asked him, “How are you and Jesus doing?”
He told me he waffles between faith and doubt but doing better. What was obvious to me by the way his eyes shone, was that faith was triumphing!
We talked further and I asked if I could pray for him. I did. When I finished he looked and said “That prayer will bless my whole week.”
Meeting up with him did the same for my day and week.
I walked away realizing that on that day Jesus, in his Malachi form, had ridden up without a helmet. And my life wouldn’t go back to what it had been.
How is Jesus showing up for you? He’s alive…