I saw him briefly. Standing on the corner holding a cardboard sign. I didn’t even take the time to read it. Instead keeping my eyes carefully trained in front of me. My right foot hovering, itching to press the gas pedal and move on as quickly as possible.
I saw her. Careworn with her three young children, faces bright red as they wailed in the grocery store. I threw her a sympathetic glance but kept pushing my cart the other direction.
I read about them. Final number, seventeen lost their lives on Table Rock Lake. That one hit a little closer to home. I had been just 50 miles away from that lake. I had survived the same storm. I prayed for all involved but could I have done more?…
How many others have I passed that are struggling with battles I know nothing about. How many are smiling faces trying to hide the storm within?
I hear him. My young son begging me to play a game with him. My response? “One minute honey. Mommy needs to finish this. I need to check one more thing off my list.” I wonder if what he hears is “I don’t have time for you right now. Whatever I am working on is more important.”Ouch…it seems like I am failing with compassionate love even at home.
Our society is so busy. I get it. We have lists (even if they are just mental ones). We have a lot to get done. So much we HAVE to do. We must pay the bills, put food on the table, clean the house, feed the dog, and make the soccer game, plan, budget, and REPEAT! It’s enough to keep anyone’s eyes down. Focused. On task and on to the next and the next…but when we look up with eyes wide open. We will see a world in need. We will be reminded that this is not all there is. There is an eternity to think about. While what we do to pay the bills and take care of our families is necessary and good. How much of it is preparing them and others for eternity? Because we will all live forever. In Mark 16:15 Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Who are we taking Jesus to? How are we putting Jesus in everything we do?
For me, it would be buying that man some groceries and saying, “Jesus loves you” as I hand them over. It would be stopping and saying to that mom, “I get it. You are doing a great job. Is there anything I can do to help”? It would be to stop scrolling and start praying and keep praying as they days go by. Imagine how we could change social media if we stopped by each name said a quick prayer for them.
Most importantly, it starts at home. I could say to my son. “Yes, I will stop what I am doing for a while and play because you are more important.”I can always get back to that chore, blog, or dinner later.
It is like Pastor Steve said on celebration Sunday. It is not enough to feel compassion for others, we must also take action. It is time to stop looking the other way. Time to start living with eyes wide open. Then DO something about what you see. Sometimes a smile and quick prayer is all someone needs.
Wife, blogger, outdoor enthusiast, and mother to two wild & free boys, you can read more from Betsy at her blog coloradorhoades.com