There was a strange sound…
It was whiny, like some kind of bee was buzzing around in my room.
My eyes darted around as I tried to figure out what the heck it was. As I sat up and looked around a little more, I realized it was coming from my purse sitting on my vanity. That’s when I saw my purse breathe. But before I could freak out, I saw that it was not in fact a possessed purse making the sound, but a black cat passed out and snoring on top of the purse combined with one not-so-awake Hunter. Yeah, this is pretty much how the entire day went.
I was able to go to my hometown church today before having to head back to the Big Apple. I decided to wear my new sweater that I had just bought with Charlene the other day. But when I pulled the sweater out of the dryer, it had shrunk and was no longer as big and comfy as it had been. Now it just looked awkward. I frowned in my mirror as I critiqued my own outfit.
Hunter, try not to forget how beautiful God thinks you are, okay? It’s just a sweater.
Regardless of my morning starting out as one of those your-favorite-sweater-shrunk-and-your-cat-made-you-feel-crazy mornings, I headed to church with my family. This where it gets pleasantly stranger. When I left in the summer time, my church was just getting accustomed to our current Pastor and his wife. Now, after going through a Sunday school and a service, I am aware of what it going on: the church members are becoming armed. We were discussing prophecy in Daniel. DANIEL! The craziest thing is that people were actually responding and I think they understand what Pastor was saying; they showed just how hungry they are for study, for knowledge, for wisdom, for God. Oh it was amazing.
During the service, we read Matthew chapter 1, which I found rather interesting since I had just read that chapter for devotions. I guess it was just God helping me prepare my heart for church 🙂 Then, after we had sung and Pastor had given his sermon, we were getting ready to do communion. One of the deacons was passing around the little cups filled with grape juice, and as I held mine I thought, “Man, it would be a bummer if this spilled on my sweater, because it’s my new favorite sweater. Yeah, it would probably stain. I sure hope that doesn’t happen.”
We go to drink the juice.
It spills all down the front of my sweater.
By this point I’m beginning to wonder if God is questioning my fashion choices.
I rush to the bathroom and start scrubbing the living daylights out of the stains with hot water and apple pie scented hand soap. Thankfully, all of the stains come out. I put a sweatshirt over my sweater to hide the giant wet marks all over it. Of course it’s below thirty degrees outside and only slightly warmer inside, so now I’m freezing. But I don’t care, because I’m just grateful the stains came out of my recently shrunken sweater.
During the winter, we have potluck dinners after church. So we all head downstairs to the basement where we eat a bunch of great food. Gracie and I get plates after Pastor prays and we’re sitting next to each other, eating. She gets up and grabs more goulash. When she sits back down, I take some from her plate. The goulash totally misses my mouth and falls onto the bright white sleeve of my sweatshirt.
I am not a sloppy eater! I’m just not a graceful eater! I don’t understand why I can’t just eat food and consume drink like a normal human being. I don’t understand why my clothes attract all of the foods that stain the worst. I think it’s because I’m so uncoordinated to begin with so why not just throw ‘incapable of eating properly’ in there. Oh well, everybody laughed, so I guess that’s good 🙂
After church and after I had packed all of my things and said good-bye to everyone, Mom and I headed off to the bus station. We stopped at Panera on the way there and I got a red velvet cookie with cream cheese chips because I had a free pastry on my rewards card. Instead of eating it right away, I put it in my purse to save for later.
Mom drops me off at the bus station, I get my ticket and I stand in an insanely long line behind a guy who looks about my age if not younger. We start talking until the line moves and we’re ushered onto the buses. We sit next to each other and talk for half of the ride and sleep for the other half. Don’t freak out; it wasn’t a romantic thing. It was me being awkward and geeking out about Lord of the Rings, God, and Star Wars and him talking about school, agreeing with me, and discussing Justice League and Les Miserables. He was a cool dude though 🙂
We walked to the train station together and then went our separate ways. I had (of course) left my metro card in my rain coat…which I had left at home. So I bought a new one and got on the A train headed toward Brooklyn. I sat there, listening to music and reading The Two Towers and thinking about all the homework I needed to finish when I got back to my dorm. As I read, I looked up to see a man sitting in a corner seat, sleeping. Every once in a while he would let out a terrible cough and then try to sleep again. His clothes weren’t tattered; they were actually in relatively decent shape. But something in my chest told me he was homeless, hungry, and sick.
God, what can I do? I’m pretty much useless. Besides, he’ll probably try to get money or something.
That’s when I felt like God had thwapped me upside the head.
Hunter, really? What’s in your purse?
That’s when I remembered the cookie that I hadn’t eaten.
But God, it’s only a cookie. It has no nutritional value, it’s not warm, and it’s certainly not healthy. Would he even want it? Besides, he’s asleep.
This time I didn’t get any kind of answer, because I already knew what I needed to do. I felt really selfish for trying to rationalize giving someone food. What was my problem? I remembered my go-to saying of “If you want to lose weight, share food with the hungry.” Also, I had been asking God for opportunities to practice showing love to others. Now here was an opportunity and I was running away in the other direction.
My stop was coming up, so I stood up, pulled out the packaged cookie and set it next to the sleeping man. I got off at my stop and transferred to the G, hoping that the man would wake up and see it there and not feel totally alone. I wasn’t even one-hundred-percent sure if he was homeless, but the Holy Spirit was leading me to do it, so I did it.
I arrived back at my dorm safe and sound. The moment I came in I threw down my duffel bag and changed out of my damaged sweater. I was ready to tackle my Critical Thinking & Writing. Although my professor waited until the night before the assignment was due to give me an answer to my question, her answer was most helpful, and I punched out those revisions like nobody’s business. All day I’ve been feeling incompetent, like I wasn’t capable of handling all of these final assignments, but I kept reminding myself of all the talents God has given me. He’s given them to me for a reason! I’m not trying to sound egotistical, but God gave me smarts, determination, and perseverance. It’s about time I started using them.
Turns out when you use your talents to do what God wants you to do, when you put your pride aside and realize it’s okay not to preach the gospel through every assignment, you make a lot of progress. Sometimes it’s not my job to preach the entire gospel message; most times it’s my job to plant a seed. I’m really good at planting seeds in people’s brains, putting rocks in their shoes 🙂 and God knows this. For my revisions, instead of preaching the entire gospel message, I simply established the understanding that all of mankind in its innateness is searching for answers. Humans search for answers in religion. Humans search for temporary answers to tide them over until they need a new set. Humans make up their own answers. By establishing this, I can transition to talking about what answers are really worth searching for, what the answer to the soul’s big questions are, what the purpose of life is. All of these questions can be answered by God’s word, by His love, by the greatest answer in the universe. The human heart is searching for God, yearning for Him, even if the body where the heart resides doesn’t acknowledge its desperate need for Him. People know when something’s missing, but they don’t always fill that hole with the right thing. They fill it with people, with works, with careers, with infatuation, with adrenaline, with false religion; they fill it with pretty much everything except the one thing that can sustain them forever and never run out, and that is God’s love. Period.
Well, it’s just the next two weeks and then I’m off for Christmas! 😀 This week I’ll be powering through several final projects all with oodles of reading. I also have to return to the Botanical Garden some time to complete one final Botany assignment before the final exam. Good luck to all the college people who read this; I understand your pain. We can do this! 😀 Just remember God has given you the ability to learn, the ability to think, and the ability to create and imagine; you’ll do fine 🙂
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them.” —Genesis 1:26-28, ESV