It is Memorial Day and I am driving home from the cemetery.
Trying to make the green left turn signal at the top of the ramp, I gunned the gas and, YES - I made the turn just as the signal turned yellow. Getting onto Route 59 without stopping is a rarity.
But, what did I see out of the corner of my left eye as I approached the light - still focusing on the light, but grasping a figure with a sign. It was 90 degrees and a woman was standing out there in that heat with a sign - begging for someone to notice her plight. I had sped by, not only not noticing her, but not allowing myself an opportunity to help someone because I was so focused on the "green arrow" which allowed me a few less seconds in traffic. Anyway, it always made me uncomfortable to be at a stoplight and someone was begging along the side of the road. And, I was hungry and it was way past lunch time.
Then, I wondered how long it had been since she had eaten. I didn't know what her sign said, but I would guess it was for money for food or some other necessity. I said a prayer that God would send someone to help her.
Then, I decided that maybe it was supposed to be me and I was in too much of a hurry - or too uncomfortable because she was begging.
Driving to Portillo's, I decided to order both of us lunch. I would backtrack and take a lot more time than the stoplight would have cost me - but how could I eat lunch with her begging, in the hot sun, for attention I wasn't willing to give her?
Portillo's apologized for the wait - they were unusually slow. Would she still be there? Finally, I had both of our lunches and gunned it back onto I-88 - and YES - she was still standing there with her sign. I headed toward the exit east of Route 59, so I could get off, get back on and arrive at my destination - the exit ramp with the lady on the left side holding her sign.
The exit was two miles away - not a long turn around, but a long 4 miles when I am trying to keep her lunch cold in the car - it was an Asian grilled chicken salad and bottle of water. The water was dripping.
Finally - I approach the ramp and hoped the light would be red so I can talk to her a little.
WHAT?? A red convertible is now stalled and sitting where she was standing 5 minutes ago - two men sitting in the sun waiting for a tow - taking her place. At first, I thought they were giving her a lift and looked for her in their car - but she was no where in sight.
I checked two more stop lights in the area -
She was gone -
I missed an opportunity to bless someone -
Will I slow down next time?
Will I stop feeling uncomfortable at a stop light with someone standing there begging and just help them?
So, today I get to eat the same lunch that I had yesterday - Portillo's Asian grilled chicken salad.
God bless you.