I remember walking into the restaurant bearing the Arches. I had just moved to the city, 10 years old, and had already made a new friend down the street. Her parents asked me to join them for dinner this night. Wow! I was excited! After ordering my Happy Meal, grabbing a bunch of straws to make swords, I sat down on the yellow swivel chairs. As I squeezed out my handful of ketchup packets, and we went on with our tween chattery conversation, I noticed a man sitting there alone. He seemed fine, eating his hamburger, maybe a Big Mac, not sure. He was older, a little rugged looking. He stared at nothing.
Now what I am about to tell you, is telescoping, even catapulting a ticket straight into the depths of my heart. People used to laugh, mock even; and it may sound crazy and disconnected from normality, but this is who I am.
There is something indescribable that happens in my heart when I see certain people eat. I have no words for it. It’s not just any people, but more on the elderly side. It's not just the 'alone' part, but the story.
They don’t have to be super old, just ‘lifed’ if you will. They’ve lived a while. They have stories, decades to share of the hardships and delights that have made up their road. Their eyes expose their chapters.
As I looked upon this man, my heart began to swell, rising up tears in my eyes that could take no route but up and out. It made no sense, but it hurt. As I have grown older, 36 now, and have taken different roads to my own story, I have had plenty more episodes like this. It can happen at any time. It has been many years since that anecdote, but it is still so very real today.
I was recently watching a morning talk show where they were sitting down to share a meal that had just been made, and noticed the one bombastic-type lady who always has a quip to share; she was eating. Maybe I have a judgement of her, but it’s never a ‘set’ one. And I could feel words decorating my heart at that moment. Tears too.
I think a rudimentary description of it all is that It’s because, no matter how strong or confident we are, we all meet at a same level. No matter how full of personality, or intelligent we stand, we all have to sit down and replenish nourishment to our bodies. No matter how Angry, or politically linguistic we speak, we all meet at dinner time and have a meal. I can’t explain it, but it’s so human. You can be pompous and still eat. You can be impoverished and still eat. This one thing stops you and you have to put a break in your day. If we did not, we would halt in the end anyway. We have got to put a break in our stride, and sit...
I believe what this inexplanable emotion is called, in the most purest form, is Compassion, specifically the Father heart of God. When I have not been able to put words to a concrete description, God has shown me a life-long message of His heart. I don’t think I have even hit the full comprehension of what he has to say through this, but I’m beginning to seek understanding.
It gets me thinking of our humanity. We are all in such need of things that sustain us daily, but some of us are not recognizing where it is coming from. We long for something we can't explain. There’s a story in the Bible that speaks of a need that a bunch of people came to have fulfilled. A spiritual need that was so deep and unending that they stayed so long, not recognizing the lapse of time leading to their physical hunger.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
If we could only imagine what God feels.
The end of that story was that more than 5000 showed up to hear what Jesus was saying. Their hearts yearned for something more than they had, and when they began to be hungry, he fed them. A miracle happened that day, beyond what we could think up...
For me, I barely get a glimpse here and there of something I can’t describe that wells up inside me. It’s a minute Compassion for the needy. But My God. Can we even imagine the desire and ANSWER he longs to fulfill in us, when we are in need?
Daily we walk right by an individual who has just had a heart-pain of loss, of hurt, of confusion, of emotional heart break, and they long to be fed. They long to drink- for their thirst to be gone.
“But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water
welling up to eternal life."
Compassion, is just like an edge of a many-colored prism. God has MANY different colors to his character. He feels many different things, while having Strength and Love unchanging, unending. Compassion is seeing through eyes, or feeling with the Spirit what Christ is like. Take for a minute, a look at our children. They do little things, have little antics, little quirks that remind us of something we did as a child, or still do now! “Hey, that’s me! That’s what I do!”
That’s how He feels about us. When we do or feel things that are Christ-like, He says, “Hey, that’s like Me!”
And He chooses for us to gain a glimpse of his gifts, His character for others. That’s our God. He wants to include us by using us for His Glory.
God Knows our every hurt whether we’re for Him, or against Him. He’s aware of EVERY man that eats alone. He's there. Are you keeping your eyes open?
Friends, what’s an odd thing about you that you can’t explain,
but know it has to be from God? Nothing is too small!
TEACHING MY KIDS TO KEEP THEIR EYES OPEN,