“God helped me relish, rather than resent, the unscripted nature of this day.”
I read that while I was waiting yesterday. I did quite a bit of that. Waited. I hadn’t planned my day like that, but I ended up being kind of a shuttle driver of sorts because it’s what was most needed. See, we had a weather forecast of a few inches of snow, but ended up with 16″+ instead. It came down wet and heavy with fat wide flakes and visibility was awful so we didn’t want our staff driving around in it.
Or walking in it either. We have on our team a 63 year old Nepali woman (she will be 64 on Wednesday) with a wide smile and a heart full of love who sometimes takes the bus home after work. Yesterday I drove her to her bus stop so she wouldn’t have to walk through the snow, but as we waited for the bus I wasn’t confident they were running on time, if at all. I didn’t want to leave her at the bus stop and drive away, so I asked her if I could drive her to her home instead.
“Ohhh… Sorry, sorry, sorry,” she said, clearly upset, distressed and feeling like she was inconveniencing me. I assured her I would feel so much better about driving her home, and that I wanted her to be safe.
The drive to the east side took longer than normal in yesterday’s conditions. There’s a bit of a language barrier, but our shared concern for our fellow humans resonated between us as we watched cars spinning and sliding into one another through the sticky, accumulating snow. Visibility was terrible and plows could not keep up with streets; no one was attempting to yet clear the sidewalks. She showed me the places her bus stops along the route. Number nine bus.
When she showed me the stop where she would have normally gotten off, I realized she would have still had to walk nearly two miles home. Two miles…in yesterday’s terrible conditions. She was not dressed for the snow yesterday, no scarf or hat. Tears welled in my eyes as my mind’s eye pictured her trying to trudge two miles in knee deep and still falling snow.
When I pulled into her driveway and the SUV stopped abruptly, I was a little concerned even 4 wheel drive was going to now be stuck. She tugged on my sleeve.
“Tea. Coffee. Please?” Her eyes insisted I come inside. I needed to pick people up, make a few more shuttle runs, I didn’t really have time…but I said yes, I’d come inside for just a few minutes.
Loud Nepali music emanated from inside her home and her husband greeted us at the door, his face marked with traditional Hindi markings. They exchanged a few words and I was invited inside. She hurried and rushed around their kitchen, making a sweet coffee drink. She served it to me in a simple white cup, gratitude lighting her eyes as she nodded. Drink.
“Sit down,” her husband said as he motioned to the couch, commanding but not unkind. Over the next hour, he would proudly show me home videos of their Festival celebration, tell me about his concern that his wife could not pass her citizenship class (she can’t read to study, can not retain the information to recite the answers) and asked how we at work could help her. She brought out a scarf from Nepal and draped it around my neck, arranging it just so… A gift. I was so honored with this time, this glimpse into her life which is so different from my own.
My phone began to ring and texts were coming in…people needed to be picked up, cupcakes needed to be delivered, staff needed to be switched from their various locations and I had the 4 wheel drive. It was time to go. When I walked out the door, the magic of those moments was gently popped like a bubble, reality returned and my feet sank into snow to my knees. As I pulled gingerly out of the driveway, she and her husband stood in their shirtsleeves at the edge of the driveway, waving and grinning as the snow fell on their salt and pepper hair. These two wanted their hospitality to follow me until I could see them no more.
No, this was not how I had planned my day. There were things that didn’t get done, emails that went unanswered and phone calls that were unreturned. They’re still there today, waiting for me. That’s ok.
The large amounts of snow had ruined so many people’s day. And yet, because of it I had received this most unexpected and cherished gift. My heart was full and is still warm with the memory.
Had it not been for the snow, that memory would not have been made. I would still be dimly unaware of how far she walks when she takes the bus. I’ve received a gift and I will receive it well, and do well with it.
God helped me relish rather than resent the unscripted nature of this day.