Wednesday, January 22, 2014

entertaining angels

Today was kind of an off day. So on my way out of town, I decided to stop and get gas at the station I usually stop at, rather than one down the road a ways, though I had originally intended the latter. My windshield was dirty from the tree I'd been parked under, so while I filled the tank I cleaned the back and front windows. In cleaning the front window, I realized there was some fresh sap on the front windshield that I wanted to get off, so I went back and grabbed a paper towel and started cleaning it off. I was almost finished when a woman called 'hey sweetheart', and proceeded to ask if I would be able to buy her some gas. I asked how much she needed, and she said whatever I could give her.
Now, running through my head briefly were all the safety concerns, the worries about being conned or finagled or whatever. But she wasn't asking for money, but gas. So she pulled up to the pump, and I pumped some gas into her vehicle for her. She got out and chatted with me while I did this, telling me she was taking her kids (who were in the car) and all her stuff (apparently also in the car, she said) (there was also mention of her husband, but I think I missed what it was), and was headed to stay with her mom for a while til she could get a fresh start.
I'm not much for small talk; as an introvert it's not really something I find very natural. But after a moment of pause, she suddenly said, "Some people say life sucks. But I think it's really what you make of it. It's what you do with it that matters." This kind of caught me off guard a bit, but I told her she was right.
I finished putting some gas in her car, wished her luck, and she drove off. I got back in my own car, and drove off, thinking about the whole thing. Thinking about how I almost didn't stop at that gas station today. How, if I hadn't had sap on my windshield, I would've already been gone before the woman came by. I don't know how many others she had asked before me. I don't know how much of the story she told me was true. But it doesn't really matter. It was a moment to imagine the best in someone, to do a good deed in hopes that it was a good deed and might make a difference for someone, or several someones. An opportunity to live out hope for humanity. Something I hope I never stop doing.

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