The day is hot and the line at the gas station is long.
After all, it’s the least expensive gas in town.
I pull in behind a tan Toyota, tired and dusty – ready to fill up my
gas tank and make my way home.
Only the Toyota isn’t moving.
The Toyota and its occupants seemed to have settled in for the afternoon.
Parked and content to sit next to the gas pump without actually
exiting the car to pump the gas.
I was cranky and
growing increasingly annoyed as the seconds – and I do mean seconds – ticked by.
All the other pumps
were occupied and I was stuck waiting with
mounting impatience behind this car that
was going no-where, doing nothing…it was just sitting there.
Finally – after about 30 seconds wait time – the driver of the Toyota emerged
apologetic and mildly frazzled:
“My car” she says “It won’t start. I’ve never had car troubles before.
I just had the battery changed yesterday.”
I wasn’t sure what to say to her.
I only drive my car, I don’t actually know a single thing about cars.
Just then, in a flash, they seemed to arrive out of thin air –
unlikely superheroes – two men were pushing the Toyota.
One, a lanky white guy with a buzz cut, covered from neck to wrists
in tattoos. He was guiding the rescue. Steering the car through the window
as he pushed.
The other, young clean cut Latino gave his all to the task.
I finished pumping my gas and to justify all the hours I put in at the gym,
I joined in pushing the car and driver to safety.
Once safely parked, the three of us fanned out in search of jumper cables.
It became an “operation” and just like that, I forgot that I was hungry, tired, and dusty.
At one point, I paused to look at us. An unlikely tangle of individuals
coming together in community to help a neighbor in need.
Sure, we didn’t live next door to each other, but in that moment
in that gas station, we were neighbors:
A Caribbean woman, an Asian American woman, Latino youth, tattooed white male – we were all working together for a single purpose
Human kindness / overflowing
in a small – yet for the driver of that Toyota – significant way.
Moments such as these unfold for us everyday.
We can choose to step into them or step around them.
It’s always a choice. It’s always a choice to slow down and give our full attention.
To see another into being.
To stop and engage giving of our very best in that moment
whether to ourselves or to others.
No one else has the right to define for you
what your best may be at any given moment.
Only you know what that is
what it looks like
feels like – and truthfully, what you have the reserves for
because, let’s face it: there is a lot of need in the world
There are needs everywhere…and we determine when and how much we give.
Sometimes we are asked to stretch way beyond our places of comfort
To truly see another…to attend…to listen…to be present…to give…
When that happens, when we are able to do that, when we reach back out into the world
Sometimes a little bit of magic happens.
A little bit of salvific hospitality leaps into our reality…into someone else’s reality
and for a moment, we are less lonely.
We are less afraid.