I saw a sister walking at the front of the building as I drove into the church parking lot today. When I walked to the back door, she passed me again and I saw her face. I glimpsed it for only second, but there was anguish laced across it and she was on the verge of tears.
I did the normal smile-just-before-you-pass-and-then-put-your-head-down. However, before I started that process, though I saw her face and realized my smile would have little effect. I felt as though I should ask, “Can I do anything for you?”
But I didn’t. I let the moment pass.
It would have been weird to ask a complete stranger what I could do for her. She could have taken it wrong. I might have been embarrassed. She might have ignored me and passed by still sobbing.
All that might have happened. And all of it has happened in my mind many times since passing her by. But more importantly I’ve realized something more embarrassing occurred: I chose not to follow a prompting.
It was small. It was quick. It required immediate response. I didn’t jump at the chance, and I should have.
Although I regret not following the prompting, I take major comfort in one thing: I recognized it. For a lot of months, I was so embattled within my own head that I couldn’t recognize pain in others’ faces. I wasn’t receiving promptings to help others because I wasn’t in a good place myself.
So I rejoice that I saw another’s pain and received a prompting to do something about it, and I recognize the next step: acting on it and doing something about the prompting.
My dear sister whom I saw in the parking lot,
I’m sorry I saw your pain and felt prompted to ask whether I could do anything for you and did nothing. There are a lot of things that went through my head in that split second, and none of them are adequate excuses for not acting.
I’ve thought about you during every moment of the meeting, I’ve prayed for you that my missed chance will not negatively affect you, and you’ve been the muse for a blog post. So maybe two people beside me will pray for you also (my blog doesn’t have a consistent readership), but that’s two more than you had, so maybe that’s not nothing.
I don’t know why you are pained. I hope Father wrapped his arms around you since I passed you by, and I hope you’ve been courageous enough to reach out to friends.
It isn’t as meaningful now, and it doesn’t help you now, but I pledge to be stronger in the future and to follow promptings in the moment they come.
You likely hold no grudge or ill will against me, but I hope you forgive me for passing you by and not reflecting you Father’s love with anything more than a smile.
I wish you the best, Anonymous Sister.
Lee J Hinkle