Today, our good friend Lara Scott from The Fish in Los Angeles wanted to share this reflection moment she had this week while walking taking her son on a walk around the neighborhood.
I may not have time to take a shower every day, but I make it a priority to get Baby Dallas out for some fresh air on a walk. He is usually out by the time we take the first corner.
A few days ago, we were strolling around our usual block when I noticed a little boy about Dallas’s age, around 8 months. He was just precious, with sparkly eyes and curly black hair, standing up in the driver’s seat and hanging on to the steering wheel of a car that was parked at the curb. His dad was in the passenger seat. “That’s so cute,” I thought. “Dad is letting him pretend to drive while they wait for mom in one of the shops up the road.” I glanced over, and then back down to Dallas, who looks especially chubby when he is asleep–he’s got the pouty lip and cheek thing going on, which I hope lasts forever. I know they warn us about walking and texting, which almost sent me right into a pole once, but walking while cooing at a sleeping baby can be hazardous, too.
Round the block we went, and as we came around the corner again a few minutes later, I saw the car again. This time, the little boy smiled and waved at me, and I smiled and waved back.
In those few seconds, I saw something that broke my heart.
That little boy was dressed in a worn-out onesie, like what kids wear to sleep in, and there was a plate of 2 biscuits on a paper plate on the dashboard.
The back of the car was stuffed with blankets and trash bags overflowing with clothes.
And Dad had stubble and the kind of sad expression as he smiled and watched his little son that tears came to my eyes.
I was glad I had sunglasses on so he couldn’t see that. I wish I could tell you that I went right up to the car and asked if they were okay, and told them about some safe shelters where families can sleep.
I wish I could tell you that I went home and grabbed some food and brought it back for them.
I wish I could tell you that I kept waving at the little boy, and then asked his dad if they needed any clothes, since our sons looked about the same size.
But I can’t.
I kept walking.
Would a kind word or some baby jeans or oatmeal banana cereal from me have changed their lives?
Maybe not. But maybe yes.
I have gotten really great with rationalizing my way out of being available to be used by God.
I feel like, as I rush about my days, that there are no margins in my life. Maybe you have scheduled every second of your day like this. And it works as long as there is no traffic, no sick baby, no lost keys, no equipment meltdown, or anything else that would hold you up for more than ten seconds. But even when it’s “working,” you find yourself asking, “Is this really what it’s all about? Why do I feel so tired all the time? And like I”m missing something?”
Will you join me in the quest for a simpler life? Even though I kind of think I”ve been trying to do this since the baby was born, I have failed miserably, because I now find myself busier than ever with work, and appointments, and things on my to-do list. I panicked the other day when I accidentally deleted my to-do list on my phone (hmmm….maybe it wasn’t an accident?), and frantically started a new one and tried to fill it with everything I could remember from the other one.
What needs to be on my to-do list, or better yet, seared on my heart, is to be sensitive to the people that God has put in my path.
Someone who, at that very moment, might be going, “God, if you’re real, I need a sign. Please. Let me know you hear me.”
“It’s not safe,” I told myself as I pushed the stroller home. “Anyone could park on the street with their kid, and be up to no good. I have to protect my child.”
I kept seeing that little face grinning at me as he clung to the sides of the steering wheel.
“I’m a busy person! I’ve got a ton of email to get through, a show to prepare for, and a house to clean.”
I thought about that movie The Pursuit of Happyness, where Will Smith and his son are sleeping in the public restroom, and someone is trying to get in.
I’m sure I”ll see them again, and then I’ll do something nice.
I thought about the little biscuits on that paper plate on the dashboard.
I haven’t stopped thinking about those biscuits.
And I haven’t seen them again.