These days, I’m never sure if I should offer anyone a seat – I’m always afraid that I might offend someone: What? Me? Do I look old to you?
A few days ago, while riding the subway on my way home, I did offer an elderly gentleman my seat. He refused. At the time, I was more amused by his rebuttal than offended. But, if I had taken the time to look a little more closely at him, I would probably have guessed that he would not have accepted my offer. In spite of his full head of silvery hair and somewhat gnarled appearance, his clothes told me something else of his outlook on life: he was wearing a light grey sweat shirt, a pair of blue jeans and white running shoes. He wanted to look young, and as such, my offer was less than flattering.
Perhaps all this seems harsh – my critique, that is. And of an elderly gentleman at that. Maybe he just likes blue jeans and running shoes. Maybe he really didn’t need a seat. All that could be very true. But my observations are completely justified in my mind when I remember what he did a few minutes after he refused my offer: he went and sat down in the next seat that became available.
I’ve heard it said that we most often notice in others the things that are present in our lives as well. And honestly, I’m very much like the gentleman who didn’t want my seat. Not that I’m refusing seats when they’re offered to me; no, I’m still a little too young for that. But help is not something that I easily ask for or accept.
But I’m learning. And, I will keep offering my seat to others.
Psalm 77:7-13; Isaiah 53:4; Isaiah 55:8-9; Matthew 5:4;
Matthew 6:11; Luke 22:41-45; Romans 7:18-19; Romans 7:24-25
You who live in heaven
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt
Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread?
Did You forget about us after You had flown away?
Well, I memorized every word You said
Still I’m so scared, I’m holding my breath
While You’re up there just playing hard to get
You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that’s not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then
Did You ever know loneliness
Did You ever know need
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on
And Your friends fall asleep
And don’t see the blood that’s running in Your sweat
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You’re up there just playing hard to get?
And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained
And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow
All I really need to know
Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time?
We can’t see what’s ahead
And we can not get free of what we’ve left behind
I’m reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret
I can’t see how You’re leading me unless You’ve led me here
Where I’m lost enough to let myself be led
And so You’ve been here all along I guess
It’s just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get