One day while I was walking home, I noticed an old woman walking in front of my carrying a heavy-looking package. I started to pray for her, sort of off offhandedly, and when I got to the generic, “please bless her” part of my little prayer, God whispered back, “I am. Through you.”
Oh no, I thought, really? Right now? She's going to think I'm so weird.
It took an awkward couple minutes of walking uncomfortably close to her before I worked up the courage to say a word.
“Can I help you carry that?” I asked.
She sort of jumped, blinked in surprise at me over the top of those white face masks everyone is wearing against the pollen in the air.
She wouldn’t let me help her, but she really wanted to talk. She showed me where she lived, in an apartment building right next door.
I went home, and she nestled into a corner of my heart. She lingered, God whispering the crinkles around her eyes across my thoughts; but I couldn’t seem to find the courage to go to her house.
And there was always so much to do.
I made cookies, determined to bring her some. Three days passed, the cookies sitting, undelivered on my counter.
I bought a pretty box.
I put the cookies in the box.
The box sat on my counter.
Finally one night, I was prepared to talk myself out of visiting once again. It was too late, I decided, elderly people go to bed early.
I tried to continue my evening, I started cooking dinner, but in the middle of it God whispered; “Just go see if her apartment light is on,”
It was too clear to ignore, so I turned the stove off on my half-cooked carrots, threw a coat on and walked out into the street. I peered around the corner to her apartment building, and I laughed.
Hers was the ONLY apartment light on.
Even then, it took me a while to get to her door. I lingered in the hallway of her apartment building, praying, ridiculously nervous. I lingered some more in front of her door. And finally I rang the doorbell.
She wasn’t home, but her husband was.
“I’ve heard about you!” he said.
Today I came home early, and she came to my door. She told me she’d come often after we’d met in the street, but no one had ever been home. She’d even asked our neighbors about me.
We talked for a while in my Genkan. She’s funny and kind, and very patient.
She scolded me and bent down to wipe my feet because I’d gone outside in my socks.
Her name is Etsuko.
“I was so happy that you remembered me” she said as we parted, with all those lovely crinkles around her eyes.
We’re having lunch next week.
This is what God does. All these tiny miracles, the God of the universe weaving his voice into the small things. The inconsequential people. Me.
This is what God does.
We keep looking for the revivals, the lightening, the earth-shaking, head-turning, glory we think He should look like.
But so often it isn’t like that at all.
Instead, He’s whispering love into the life of the old woman next door.
He’s convincing me to press ‘pause’ on my selfish insecurities long enough to step into the symphony he’s writing in the life of someone else.
This is what God is doing.