Today I was up early, before the sunrise, and set out to begin a very busy day. Much to do, as always, and intent on marking some things off my list. I readied Noah for school for his first day back after a bout with croup and dropped him off. Then I headed straight to the car dealership to have my car serviced, brakes checked, and new tires priced.
I hurried from there to make it to the flu shot clinic at GA Power to get my flu shot before the nurses left. Rushing out intent on getting another price on tires since the one just quoted to me was far beyond what I was willing to pay, it occurred to me that I should swing by and have my car washed, the place where they REALLY wash it for you and then dry it down. I wavered thinking, “I could do it myself, I almost always do…” And then I remembered the many other things on my list and said to myself, “live a little sister, you just got a paycheck and the carwash folks have to eat too (smiles)! Considering that, off I went to have my car washed.
Being my usual self, I forgot to move the stack of folders, paperwork, and books from the front passenger seat and thought nothing of it until I saw one of the gentleman workers bent over the seat taking quite some time there. This is the point where I feel a little ashamed…The folks who wash the cars there are sometimes unkempt and look as though they’ve seen and lived the rougher side of life. In this honest moment, I admit I was suspicious and thinking “what is he doing and what exactly have I left out in clear view?”
I meandered down toward my car where they were working and continued to inch closer until I could see, through the car window, what the man was doing. He looked up to meet my eyes with his. Holding my gaze, he calmly smiled and said, “I was trying to find a good way to keep from losing your place in this book you’re readin’, I first started to fold down the page and then thought some don’t like that so I’ve moved it from place to place being sure to keep it flat like you had it.”
Oh dear me…
I thanked him and lingered there as he continued to diligently shine and clean my car for me. He worked as though it were his own, taking care to cover every surface just so. My heart was expanding with gratitude, humility, and a deep understanding of my need for a daily spirit check.
Once he finished his work, I thanked him and complimented him on the fine job he had done. A man who only moments before had looked one way to me had transformed into quite a different looking character because I caught a glimpse of something that lay beneath the surface, something that seemed awfully pure and kind.
I don’t know the road that man has walked, what he has done or seen, but I know this morning he took the time to care about something concerning a total stranger and it touched my heart, reminding me that my own heart needs daily tending so that I cause no harm to anyone, even the harm of a suspicious look on a kindly soul just doing his job with extra special care.
I left there and went on to accomplish the tasks I had determined to tackle today, but with a different heart attitude and more sensitive awareness of what lies beneath the surface. We don’t always encounter what I did today. Sometimes the opposite happens and we find a person so very beautiful on the outside but after interacting with them we learn the beauty is only skin deep. That can be as disheartening as today’s discovery was an encouragement.
The unfolding of this experience brought several scriptures to heart and mind: Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
I recognize my continual need for my Heavenly Father to open my eyes to see as He sees…”for the Lord sees not as man…; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1Samuel 16:10) May I ever be drawn by the Holy Spirit to love and to care as the Lord Himself loves and cares for all His own.