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Year Two, Day 294: "They Will Know We Are Christians..."*

I am still trying to conquer this snuffly nose, head cold/allergies thing.

Yesterday, I felt like my whole head was filled with cotton.  I was convinced it was allergies, because I sneeze and my eyes itch.  For the past month or so.

Snuffly old me!


Yesterday, one of the church members came in and was talking about how some procedures need to change (instantly I felt my defenses come up, but luckily I was working on my "patience" fruit of the spirit!). He was concerned about the look of our bulletins.

Because people will judge our church by the look of them, since they are the "first impression", said he.

Oh boy. Older stern man correcting me. I instantly thought of my father.

What I wanted to say was, "They will judge us by how we treat each other. And God will judge us in the end".

Oh, and it would have felt  nice to quote scripture too! But I have never found that right scripture at the right moment, nor the courage to do so.  Not sure if quoting scripture ever really impacts the other person, besides making the quoter seem quite full of self...BUT, if I could have pulled up a scripture at that moment, the following would have been my choice:


"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God". (1 Corinthians 4:5)

But I held my tongue. Tried to take a deep, calming breath.

Only it came out as a sniffle.

He paused and asked me if I was just getting over a cold.

I told him I thought it was allergies.

But then I realized, if other people notice, then I do need to do something. Oddly I do not feel sick. Just snuffly.

I attempted to move past my over-sensitiveness and smile at him, wishing him a nice day, telling him it was nice to meet him, all the while trying to breath without snorting and silently will my pulse to slow down. He left. I shook ot off.

But my nose. Oy!

I mentioned my snuffliness to the pastor and one of my favorite church ladies. They both said "Mucinex" simultaneously.

So after I got off work, my plan was to go have yet another bowl of pho, heavy on the hot sauce and then buy some Mucinex. And a Vicks inhalor.

I was feeling kind of poofy and sorry for myself.  The computer at my church job is out to get my, I swear. And what kind of administrative assistant sounds like Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer? Remember the scene? Where his dad tried to hide his red nose with a bit of mud on it so it wouldn't glow? But it made him talk funny.

That's how I sound.

But my afternoon took an amazing turn upwards starting with my first bus.

I got on to see my new favorite driver. Most days he just drives me 3/4 of a mile. But one day a week, he drives me all the way down the hill. He remembers my schedule. And is always so cheerful. He makes me smile and puts a sparkle in my eye.

If you recall from some old posts this summer, I do have a thing for older, friendly male bus drivers!

But yesterday, he did not greet me with a smile.  To the contrary, he looked sad. And then he spoke to me with a catch in his voice. As if he were about to break out into tears.

He said, "I'm sorry if I do not seem friendly today. Do not take it personally. I have a lot of really rough stuff going on."

I asked him what was going on? Did he want to talk about it?

He said, his dog "Inky" had to go into emergency surgery that morning for a tumor. The surgery would be $4,000. But she was his only family. He had no kids. She was his best friend. So he had no choice. Even though she was 10 years old, he went ahead with the surgery. But it is going to be difficult to pay for.

I told him I would pray for Inky. Yesterday was my short ride. As I was about to hop off the bus he said, "Thank you, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. I'll tell you more tomorrow."

I told him I would pray for him too. As I walked to my next stop, I realized I did not know his name. I like to know the name of the people I pray for. But I told myself I would ask him tomorrow. Besides, GOD knows!

I rode the bus up the hill to my next bus stop.  At this stop, I had several amazing encounters! I was so touched by them, that I posted a brief description on Facebook.

This is what I wrote:

"I just had two amazing bus rides with people who asked me to pray for them, told me about a shelter called "Father's Heart Ministry" in Oregon City where people can get food, showers and shelter. And a single mom was upset because she lost her bus ticket (I bought her one), a Hispanic man with a cart full of cans needed help finding "The Bottle Drop" (a homeless man told me where it was and another man, fluent in Spanish helped us give him directions). Then the man who told me about the shelter shared with me how God saved his life when he was considering ending it. All this within 20 minutes of me getting off of work. I have been cranky with a stuffed nose and feeling sorry for my snuffly self. But being there to help people instantly made me feel better! I think there are angels on the bus today."

What is even more amazing to me is that earlier, at my church job, a young lady stopped by looked for one of those "211" referral booklets. I think Street Roots publishes them. They have a plethora of information for people needing help with food, housing, clothing, etc. We didn't have any, but the pastor recommended a social service agency down the street.

I was thinking about her, and thought about stopping into the agency when I got on my first bus, but was distracted by my bus driver friend in need. Then I talked to my daughter later, and told her about my incredible experiences and how it seemed to start with the lady looking for the 211 booklet, and how helping all those people today lifted me up out of my self pity gloomy state. 

My daughter, who works at a hospital told me they had a whole stack of the booklets from 2016. They just got the 2017 ones in, but she told me there were very few changes. She promised to bring me some. 

AND THEN...my first student this afternoon had a 2017 booklet laying on her coffee table. I asked her mom where she got it. She told me I could keep it. She had bought a "Street Roots" newspaper from a homeless person earlier who had given her one.

AND THEN...my next student cancelled. So I had time to redeem my free Starbucks drink (Yes, another!). My daughter was just getting off work, so she picked me up and gave me a stack of 211 booklets. And I had a "Venti Soy Green Tea Frappuccino" - my new favorite drink!

Finally, my evening ended with a very healing choir practice. We are working on several movements from Bach's B Minor Mass. We ended rehearsal with "Crucifixus", which is hauntingly beautiful.

I had goosebumps.

Especially when I realized today is Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent for Christians. A time of forgiveness, repentance and self examination.


I really need to listen when God speaks to me.  Through homeless people, bus drivers in crisis, wonderful students, loving daughters and green tea frappicinnos.

I do feel better in every way when I can be of service to others!

And that, my dear friends will be my focus during Lent!

Today, my fruit of the spirit (Galatians5:22-23) is "kindness". Most appropriate!

Happy Wednesday! :)

*The song "They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love" (music and lyrics by Peter Schools) keeps running through my head. It is based on John 13:35: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

(Here is a link to a youtube video that I like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XhUsJD0w1M&list=RD9XhUsJD0w1M)

Google that song. It is uplifting! And if you want to be deeply moved, google Bach's B Minor Mass. In my  opinion, you do not have to be religious to be moved by beautiful religious music.

(Here is a link to a youtube recording of the Mass in B Minor that I love:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxKR7BaitxM)


I've said enough for one day...Mucinex take me away!


Peace out,

Zita

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