Antique Mommy is taking the day off. Here’s something from the archives.
The morning sun was harsh and blinding as we headed east. It bullied its way through my windshield and bounced around on the dashboard. It was not the gentle, renewing sun that greets me through my kitchen window every morning and baptizes me into another day of life. This sun cut through my cheap sunglasses and directly into the center of my skull like a gamma knife. This sun pushed my “GO!” button over and over like someone impatient for an elevator.
Sean sat in the back seat of the car and provided the color commentary as we drove. “Mommeeee! A pick up twuck!” and then “Mommeeee! A school bus!” We were a good ten cars deep as we approached the four way stop. It seemed as though no one had ever encountered a four-way stop before.
Stop. Inch up. Stop. Inch up. Finally we were just three cars away from our turn before we could zoom on with our lives. And then I saw him. He was sitting on the corner, in a tattered lawn chair. He looked like he might be somebody’s dad. He could have been my dad. His silver hair peeked from under a dirty baseball cap. He wore sunglasses. He was waving at every single car that passed through that intersection. Not a half-hearted flip-of-the-wrist wave, but a vigorous hand-over-head wave. He tipped his chin up to the sun – THAT sun – and with a full smile sent goodwill and greetings out to universe and to those who crossed his path that morning. “Hi!” or “Have a nice day!” he called to every driver.
My first thought was “What kind of nut…” Finally it was my turn. I pulled up to the stop sign. “Look Mommy! A man!” Sean called into the front seat. “Him wave at me!” “Yes Sean, that man waved at us,” I said as I looked in the rearview mirror at his baby face, so pleased. As I pulled through the intersection, the man in the tattered lawn chair made eye contact with me. Even though I couldn’t see his eyes through his sunglasses and he couldn’t see mine through my tinted window, I knew that he had looked into my eyes, that he had laid eyes on my soul. I rolled down my window and yelled “Hi! Good morning! It’s great to be alive!” And I wasn’t even embarrassed.
We continued down the road, heading east. The sun no longer seemed as harsh and my “Go” button had been magically disabled. Such a simple gesture had changed the course of my day and my attitude and maybe even my life.
I thought about that man in the lawn chair off and on throughout the day. I couldn’t let it go. Something had happened to me at that intersection. As I lay my head on my pillow that night, it came to me. Like a feather floating down from the ceiling, it settled on my heart. And it is this: It takes so little to reap so much for the kingdom of God, the kingdom of humanity. If you’ve got a lawn chair, a smile and an arm to wave, you’ve got a ministry.
What are you doing for the kindgom?