To the woman I didn’t see.

6th September 2016

We got back yesterday mid afternoon after spending a gorgeous Labor Day weekend boating, fishing and swimming with family. It was a perfect three days–weather and all.  seb Coming home after a trip is mostly the best thing ever expect for the need to go grocery shopping. And since we had spent hours in the car driving home we weren’t really in the mood to prepare for the week ahead by thinking about what we were going to eat {because that would have definitely been laboring on labor day}. So instead we called an order in for overpriced pizza, wings and salad. We drove just a few miles to pick it up and decided to enjoy the fall (ish) weather by eating on the porch. It was a great night minus the skeeters (a.k.a mosquitoes) and the fact that my mind kept replaying a scene from just a few minutes earlier over and over. Let me back up just a bit.
porch

Most of my readers know by now that we live in an urban neighborhood that is on the rise but certainly has its drawbacks. We are right next to downtown which means we get a lot of foot traffic from homeless men and women or just transient folks passing through. As someone who used to work for a homeless shelter it has really never bothered me. I know that there are always stories these men and women hold. Ones I would probably never understand.

But that doesn’t mean I always treat my transient neighbors in a way that I am proud of. We have all had those moments stopped at a red light right next to someone holding a sign–coming up to your window and trying to meet your gaze. Your heart starts to race as your mind tries with all its might to change the red light to green so you can go. So you can leave the situation–the awkward and uncomfortable moment.

This is our version of that story. We had just picked up the pizza and were heading back through downtown to get home so we could eat. I was feeling ravenous (#pregoproblems) and couldn’t wait to dive in. We stopped at a red light and there she was, holding a sign with words that still remain a mystery because I didn’t want to meet her gaze. She was more assertive than most and got close to the car mouthing something. Aaron mouthed back that he didn’t have cash (which is true) and I just sat there holding our dinner in my lap and staring at the light willing it to turn green.

It crossed my mind as we sat there in that uncomfortable moment to give her our dinner. We had some food at the house to make eggs or PB&J or something that would suffice. But the light turned green and we rode on home. And I just kept replaying that interaction over and over in my head.

I was (am) ashamed. Not because I didn’t physically give her anything but because I didn’t emotionally either. I chose not to see her. To ignore her and treat her as if she wasn’t a person. And for that I am feeling the sting.

I think a lot about just moving out to the country and buying land and how much my heart would LOVE that. Raising my kids in the wide open spaces with no neighbors and no transient folks either. That would significantly decrease all these uncomfortable moments and awkward interactions for sure.

But then I am reminded that in this season God has us right in the face of the hurting and broken. He uses the discomfort to reveal things within my own heart. He uses my neighbors (with and without homes) to remind me I am needy and broken too. Most of all He reminds me that He is right here in the dark corners and in my dark moments–and He will always give me and my neighbors another shot at restoration.

“Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” -Psalms 27:13

6 thoughts on “To the woman I didn’t see.

  1. Kate Barnette

    Shaina, I hear ya on this one. And chances are that she may be on that same corner again. Which is another chance to love on her, whether it be by giving her food next time, or a couple bucks, or by praying for her either in person or in your car. This is a great reminder for all of us.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. Whenever we see people standing at a freeway exit holding a sign, my kids always ask me for money. Like many, though, I never have cash on me. :/ But if I have food in the car (Mom bars a.k.a. granola bars), I offer to them when I can before the light changes. 😉

    You’re good peeps, Shaina! Good peeps!

    Reply
    1. Married to Restoration Post author

      Yes I am sure I will see her again or another face on that same corner. I hope more than anything that I can give a genuine offering next time–whether it be food, money or just acknowledgement and a smile. Thanks for your encouragement, friend. Love you BIG!

      Reply
  2. Sabrina

    Thank you Shaina for sharing this! I know how hard it is in those situations. It always crushes my heart when I don’t have cash to help the people in need! There is saying that you see everyone twice in life so I am sure you will see her again! You sharing this might even encourage others to give in the future as well! Again thanks for sharing this 🙂

    Reply

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