Last Sunday, on a sweltering 95-degree afternoon, I had a car accident.
I was running to Wal-Mart for some allergy medicine after dropping my son at soccer practice. My afternoon literally took an unexpected turn when the blinding sun kept me from seeing a tall long concrete median in front of me. I drove right over it, tearing up the front of my car.
When my car finally quit bouncing over the median, I pulled over and climbed out. I felt like a complete dumb-ass! Everyone in the Wal Mart gas station was staring at me. I waved and smiled at everybody. That’s when I noticed two men under a shade tree. One of the men sat in a wheelchair, with just one leg. The other was in a tattered, old blue shirt waving me down. His red, wrinkled and weathered face told me he had lived a hard life.
“Ma’am! You are leaking fluid. Are you alright?” he asked.
I could see his eyes were a beautiful periwinkle blue. Even though his face was furrowed with deep lines, he managed to give me a kind smile. Somehow, I knew I could trust him. Without hesitation, he got onto the ground and looked under my car to assess the damage. I didn’t even have to ask him for help.
“You’re alright. It’s just windshield wiper fluid. But man, you tore up the bottom of your car.”
He was right. My bumper was torn off on one side, and my parking light was missing. Half of the plastic undercarriage was hanging down underneath my hood.
“Yep, this is one of my finest moments.” I said.
He laughed. “I’ll be right back. I think my friend has a wrench. I’ll get this plastic piece off and you should be able to drive it home.”
“Wait, what?,” I thought to myself. “ His friend – who was in a wheelchair, with only one leg, happened to have a wrench? The only belongings I saw between the two of them were a small plastic sack. But sure enough, he walked over and his friend in the wheelchair man handed him a wrench.
I can’t say I wasn’t a little nervous. These two men were different than me. Thankfully, some local police, who had just pulled someone over, parked their police cruisers about 100 feet away from where I was. I took it as a sign from the Man above that I was safe. I shifted my attention to my new friend, who was back underneath my car.
“What’s your name?”
“My name is Joe.”
I said what was on my heart.
“Joe, you are my angel today. Thank you so much for your help.”
He smiled at me.
“Are you from around here?” I asked.
“No ma’am. I am from Cheyenne, Wyoming. I’m just passing through.”
I looked over at his friend and I knew that they were both probably homeless. I looked back at Joe.
“Where are you headed?”
“Corpus Christi. It’s just taken me longer to get there than I thought.”
I looked at Joe’s hands. They were dirty, with grease under them.
“Are you a mechanic?”
“Well, you could say that.”
Joe smiled kindly at me again as I walked back over to the median to collect FOUR pieces of my car. A moment later, a brand-new white Honda Civic pulled up. A well-dressed man rolled his window down and called out for Joe. Joe walked over to the car. I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation.
“Hey Joe, will you be able to meet me here tomorrow morning, around 8:00am?” the man asked.
“Why?” Joe replied.
“Because I will have a train ticket for you, so that you can go home.”
Their conversation continued for a few minutes before the man left. Joe slid back under my car. I felt like this was the perfect time to run inside Wal Mart and buy the allergy medicine I had originally come here for. As I wandered down the aisles looking for cold drinks for Joe and his friend, I thought and prayed about what to do next.
Our church had been focusing on a lesson was about breaking down walls stone by stone, showing others how Christians should love and not judge. It was an unlikely thing for the two of us to cross paths, but we did. When I looked into Joe’s eyes, I saw someone that had been through a lot. I also saw Jesus in his eyes.
When I got back outside, I was surprised to see the piece of torn plastic undercarriage propped up against my car. Joe was nowhere to be seen. I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to thank him for his help. He re-appeared from behind my car and walked towards me. It turned out he had just gone to return the wrench to his friend. He opened my car door, gesturing for me to get in.
“Joe, I cannot thank you enough. You were my angel today.”
As I sat down in my seat, I reached in my purse and tried to hand him money.
“No, no.” He said. “I don’t need that.”
“Joe, please take the money.’
“No ma’am. Happy to help.” He propped his forearms on the inside of my car door and looked at me.
God’s handprints were all over this chance meeting with Joe. Tears welled up in both of our eyes.
“Joe, you blessed me today. Please let me bless you. Take this money and you get out of here, too. God is trying to help you – you have a train ticket and some spending money. Go to your family in Corpus Christi.”
He reluctantly took the money, and gave me a smile.
“Thank you very much.”
As someone who struggles with accepting gifts, I understood how difficult it was for him to accept mine. Ya’ll, Joe wanted to bless me that day. All he had to offer me were his mechanical skills. And you know what? That is exactly what I needed in that moment.
I knew he wanted to get where he needed to be. I watched God working in his life at that very moment (the man offering the train ticket). It. Was. Divine.
I remember a conversation that I had with my gestational carrier, Tiffany four years ago. She had just given birth to our biological girl/boy twins. We had a profound discussion about how important it is to be able to ask for help when you need it. (Especially when you have twins!)
For the last nine months, Tiffany had been an angel to me and my family, so I took it to heart when she and her husband said, “You rob people of an opportunity to bless you when you don’t accept their help.” I had never looked at it that way. Even though I’m the first one to offer help to someone in need, I have always prided myself on being self-sufficient, independent and not needing anyone’s help. After that conversation with Tiffany, I decided I would make a conscious effort to be comfortable when I’m on the receiving end of kindness or thoughtfulness.
I learned to think of these moments differently. The person on the giving end is responding and being obedient to the Holy Spirit. The Lord is working deep in their heart and the blessing is actually OBEDIENCE. So, the next time someone offers you help or tries to refuse your gift, you might try saying, “Please don’t rob me of my blessing.” A kind gesture can also reach a wound that only compassion can heal.
Below are some of my favorite quotes and scriptures about Blessings….
“Blessed are they who see the beautiful things in humble places where other people see NOTHING.” – Camille Pissarro
“The greatest blessing in the whole world is being a blessing.” – Jack Hyles
“Those who bless others will be abundantly blessed themselves; those who help others are helped.” – Proverbs 11:25
“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” – Barbara De Angelis
“Use your God-given gifts to serve others.” – 1 Peter 4:10