This is a long story. Bear with me. I could probably refine it and cut it down and make it short enough for more people to read it, but I need to just get it out.
About 8 months ago my friend & mentor Sue told me to call some lady. They met at a health center on the west side of town where Sue works. They met, they chatted, Sue discovered that of all the places in Columbus, this lady lives on Morrison on the East Side. A little 4 block-long road that does nothing but connect Main to Franklin Park. MY Morrison.
Now if you know me you know this assignment was a stretch. This woman I respect and look up to in all aspects of my life – ministry, church, family, general growth, this woman who has seen me grieve and walked me through it, this woman who knows my gifts and abilities and my weaknesses – and calls me on all of it… THIS person was telling me to call a stranger. um….
A stranger who happens to live 6 houses away (seems like a good reason), is a believer (that’s safer… maybe), is lonely (now my heart is listening), and looking for a body of believers to connect with (hmm… we just started a home church)…
Fine. Yes. I’ll call. Ugh.
So I did. three times. Twice with no answer. The last time I called and we chatted. She seemed nice enough, we said we’d get together, she said she’d come to our Friday night small group. We said pleasantries.
And then nothing. Never saw her. Never heard from her.
This week, in the midst of day camp and mission teams when I’ve got 5,000 things to do and keep track of – THIS week – while hauling trash out of Betty’s House, a lady walking down the alley stopped to say “wow that’s a lot of work thanks for making things better” and we started chatting. You know where this is going right? It’s her. It’s the lady down the street. And yesterday of all days in the last 8 months, she invites me to her house.
Really Lord? Today – 5,000 things to do and NOW you want me to go? The team needs me… the house needs my attention… I have a meeting about the parade in an hour… Really? Can’t I just tell her I’ll stop by tonight?
This, my friends, is why I keep going. In that moment it was clearer than a new pair of glasses: Now. This is the moment. This is a moment I was put here to connect with this person. And in the time it took me to delay while we were standing in my yard chatting and I was debating whether it was now or I could put it off and just about the moment I came to this “NOW” conclusion, my new friend said “You know Cathy, I think this is the moment we were supposed to connect – this is our God moment right now.”
Okey Dokey. Now. Ugh.
Feeling guilty about leaving a mission team covered in trash and plaster, feeling guilty about leaving my dog out and not going to take pictures at camp… NOW.
For this woman, who I seemingly have nothing in common with – African American, older than my parents, her children grown and moved away, living alone, hasn’t lived here long – arthritis people… that’s what we connected about. My stupid arthritis – and hers. That and Trayvon Martin – and our concern for browner-toned young men in our neighborhood and the vigilante types that live here (yep, we have ’em, I said it… it’s my blog and I’ll vent if I want to). These are the things we connected over.
She welcomed me into her house, was thrilled to hear that we are moving our home church from Friday to Sunday, and asked me to pray with her.
I’m telling you … this woman is going to stretch me, friends. First I have to call her when she’s still a stranger, then I have to abandon my task-oriented plan to connect with her and now I have to pray with her?
Yes. Now. Ugh. but I didn’t hesitate – of course I didn’t hesitate – I’m not that dumb.
Pray for me, would you? Our connection is strong for now – pray it continues. And pray for my new friend – she wants to get into senior housing so she doesn’t have to go up the steps with her bad knee. This would be good for her, but I’m hoping she’ll still connect with our home church group. Pray for us, our relationship, and that she’d feel the love of Jesus through those of us at UC, and that she’d stretch me slowly. I need this kind of stretch, but I need it to not exhaust me! Thanks for joining me, I hope you’ll meet her soon!