“Humans are made to fight and overcome. We love heroes, and we all get opportunity to be one, whether in small situations or large.”
I wrote that earlier in the week in a query letter for my leukemia book. Even though I wrote it myself, it really convicted me.
I started paying more attention to opportunities to be a small hero in someone’s life. Well, to be more precise, I was forced into a situation where I had to help a stranger. Afterward, I felt so good that it reminded me that I had been convicted and needed to be paying attention to these small God-given opportunities.
First, let me point out that I know people who live like this all the time and have for years. They see everything around them, and they are always meddling in other people’s affairs, sometimes to life-changing effect. I’m not one of those. I’m writing about this subject for those who, like me, don’t naturally consider other people. We’d be happy to be locked up in a room somewhere reading a book or, in my case, writing one.
So now I’m trying to pay attention. I’m at 2.5 out of 4 for being a small hero since then.
Twice I saw a situation, and I followed through. Once I was driving by somewhere, saw someone, and thought, “Nah, that has nothing to do with me,” then drove on. Later I realized I could at least have cheered someone up.
The half point came from an elderly couple I saw when I was taking my daughter to a physical therapy appointment. It’s a great story.
The man was old, tall but bent over, and struggling to push his wife’s wheelchair up the tiny ramp to the front door. Worse, he was trying to move a steel walker along beside him. Walkers are made to be in front of you. They get in the way when they’re at your side.
The man let me carry the walker for him, though he was intent on making it up the ramp, which he did. Then he looked at me and said, “Would you take my wife up to the second floor? I’m going to go park the car.”
I was a little surprised. This man didn’t know me, but I did it anyway, chatting with her a bit along the way. When I got to the second floor, she said thank you, and I left … sort of. I didn’t want to leave her alone until her husband showed up, so I got a cup of coffee (free in almost every doctor’s office in my experience). As I was doing so, I thought maybe I should offer to bring her a cup of coffee. Thinking (stupidly) in my mind that she’s pretty old and probably didn’t drink coffee, I just found a seat near her to wait for her husband to come.
A sweet lady came over just to talk to her, and the woman in the wheelchair said, “Would you get me some coffee?”
I shouldn’t ignore those little promptings by the Holy Spirit.
I gave myself 1/2 for that opportunity, so I’m 2.5 out of 4 over 3 or 4 days.
By the way, I haven’t created those opportunities. They’ve just arisen.
A couple weeks ago I was coming out of a Starbucks, and a homeless guy asked me for money. I didn’t have any. I use a debit card almost everywhere, so I only occasionally have cash. It wasn’t till a few minutes, and a few miles, later that I realized there was plenty I could have done. I could have offered him a meal at Taco Bell next door. I could have offered him a drink from Starbucks. Either way, I not only could have fed him, but I could also have talked to him. Homeless people are easy to talk to if they’re in their right mind, easier than comfortable people who have no time to talk. I just didn’t consider the possibility of offering time as well as provision.
Anyway, from one inadequate person to another, there are small ways we can make a big difference in people’s lives. Stories like this help me not to live my life dodging the uncomfortableness of meeting strangers, so I thought I’d tell you a couple of mine in case you needed the same motivation.