I’ll Take You There
Running late for work this day was a little different than other days. I was going to meet with my boss, who happens to also be my pastor. I had a full to do list running through my head. Time to get busy. After a quick stop at the Starbucks drive-through, I headed downtown. Then, a few blocks from a packed day, I saw her walking along a busy thoroughfare. All her bags, her belongings, on her shoulders. As cars whizzed by, I thought of stopping, but there were people behind me. Had to keep the momentum…plus I had a meeting…plus I’d have to make this huge circle out of my way to get back to where she was…if she was still there. But, I felt like God (my boss’s Boss) said to turn around. Stopping to chat with her in church on Sunday but speeding by her on Monday is just …wrong.
Slowing down the traffic on the road (and the traffic in my life), I pulled up beside her and asked if she wanted a ride. She said, ” Well, I was just going to Cornerstone (a local ministry for the homeless) to see if anyone sent me anything. I said, “I’ll take you there.” She proceeded to throw all her belongings in the back seat and hopped in. I said, “I’ll be your chauffeur.” She laughed. I tried to spot a place to buy her coffee. She seemed to be content in her Ms. Daisy position and said, “You ain’t gonna find no coffee shop around here.” We arrived and she started unloading her things. I said, “No, let’s go in together.” We walked in, she had no mail, and we left.” I asked her where else I could take her. She said, “To the library.” I didn’t mind the Driving Ms. Daisy thing, but asked her to sit up front. On the way to the library she said, ” You know we could get that coffee you mentioned.” Happily, I made my way to the McDonalds…drive-through. As I pulled into the drive-through lane, she said, “We could go inside and sit down.” Parking and walking in, people looked at her like she didn’t belong. I know she’s felt that in churches as well. But she does belong.
We sat down together. She never stopped either laughing or talking. She told me of her family, her past, and her dreams. She wants to one day become…a singer. “Well,” I said, “Let me hear you sing something now.” She started. “I know a place ya’ll, where ain’t nobody crying. Ain’t nobody dying. I’ll take you there.” Hmm, I’ll take you there. Interesting song choice, as I thought I was the one taking her somewhere. The joyful smile on her face put a smile on my face. She seemed happy to have a listener. At that moment, she seemed…happy. She got louder. Quite a bit louder. People stared…so I sang with her. She then wanted to hear herself, so I recorded her. We sat there listening to her second song, “Keep smiling…that’s what friends are for…” Another good choice.
We left and finally made our way to the library. Before leaving the car she said two last things. One, “Is there anything I can do for you or the church while I’m here?” And two, “Thank you for this time of healing this morning.”
Probably similar to two things we could all say to God today. “What can I do to serve you?” and “Thank You.” And thank you again, Theresa.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Jesus
Lastly. I’ve been relatively silent regarding the presence of my closest neighbors at work…the homeless just outside our door. My heart hurt deeply when “No Trespassing” signs were posted around the church this year, and though these neighbors have disappeared from our property, I pray that Theresa and all these voiceless ones never stop speaking to our hearts of the love of God in Jesus.
There’s no place like hope,