This morning, I was running an early errand that took me off of my usual path to work. As I rounded a back corner near the red light area, my path crossed those of two women I know.
“Gomer” yelled a greeting from across the street, then came near to hug me. She asked where I was going, complimented my skirt, and apologized that she smells like cigarettes. She told me she’s been sick lately. She can’t eat without vomiting. She’s planning to see the doctor today. Then, she said she’d walk with me to my destination, and proceeded to tell me (again) about her French boyfriend who is coming back to visit her in January. While she waits for him, she’s been working the street day and night. She is tired. She peppered me with questions about when I’ll get a boyfriend and fell into her characteristic fits of uproarious laughter.
Then, we saw “Daisy.” As far as women on the street go, “Daisy” is near the bottom of the pile. Very often dirty and confused, she sleeps on the streets and wears a glassy stare. Today, she engaged me, waving from the other side of the street. She crossed over to talk to me, too. Whereas “Gomer” smelled of stale cigarettes, “Daisy” smelled of alcohol. White powder was smeared on the sides of her face, and she reached out to me asking for money. Taking her hand in mine, I apologized that I didn’t have money for her this morning, but the conversation couldn’t continue. She turned away as quickly as she had come.
“Gomer” shook her head patronizingly and laughed after “Daisy,” telling me to hurry off before “Daisy” came back.
As I walked away from those encounters, my thoughts turned to Jesus, and I realized afresh, “I am in the same boat with these women. I am like Gomer. I am like Daisy.”
We are all like Gomer who want love and affirmation, sometimes giving it just so we can receive it. We are like Gomer who feel inadequate and live our lives with others either hiding or apologizing for ourselves. We often live unable to really digest the Truth – vomiting it up before it can help us live – before it becomes part of us. Our souls often reject what would keep it alive. We long for friendship, and we desperately need security. We wait for someone who loves us to provide the acceptance and security we need, but we betray that love, by working hard day and night to try to earn it in the mean time. Life tells us that acceptance, love, and security is only available in limited supply, so we’d better fight for it – deny it to some to reserve it for ourselves.
We are all like Daisy who sit in the filth of our lives, feeling unable to change and unsure if we want to. All of us are like Daisy who feel our immediate needs so strongly that we don’t have perspective of a larger life. We grope through our days, filling them with the chase for fleeting satisfactions that come up empty and leave us longing… and when we reach out to God, we often pull back the second He takes our hand. “You won’t give what I asked for? Ok, fine. I’ll look somewhere else.” We don’t stay around long enough to really know what His love might do in our hearts. Uninterested in relationship with Him on His terms, we trust ourselves more and hurry off to find our own way.
Father, I know I can be like Gomer and Daisy. In those precious women, I see my story.
I see humanity’s story.
Thank You, Father, for choosing to tie yourself to the human race in Jesus. Thank You for valuing us so much that You made Your Son one of us. You came near to us. You bridged the divide.
You chose us.
We may run from You. We may not trust Your love – after all You’ve done. We may not believe that Your salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice is enough. We may still strive and strain and work and stress to get the security You’ve already purchased for us. We may not believe You are enough. We may not believe You want us. But, You do! In Jesus, You fully accept us. You love us. We are messy, adulterous, guilt-ridden, straying children… and You pursued us. You wait for us. You are FOR us.
Thank You, Father.