Confession time: I wallow. Rarely do I wallow in smugness. Nor do I wallow in my successes, or self-importance, or superiority.
I wallow in self-pity, self-loathing, insecurity, inferiority, and feeling as if I don’t quite measure up to where I should be monetarily.
We won’t get into the psychobabble reasons for these feelings–just know, they exist.
It isn’t constant, but it is there-nonetheless. Like my computer’s anti-virus program, the wallowing sits in the background working, taking notes, preparing files and then when the conditions are right–it attacks and I sink into my own dark night of the soul.
The other day, it attacked with unexpected fervor and I was beside myself with grief. The unkind voices in the corners of my heart were spinning terrible tales and the sounds became deafening. I was unproductive and miserable. I needed a diversion.
Since the dog didn’t even want to be near my pathetic wallowing self, I tied my shoes and took a walk to Walgreens to pick up a few things for the house.
Along the way, my eyes fixated on an elderly man pulling an overloaded shopping cart, filled with what looked like everything he owned. Head bowed, he trudged toward me and appeared to be carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. As he passed, I tried to capture his attention to smile, or say ‘Hello’–I wasn’t really sure of my intention.
Our eyes never met.
As he passed, I turned to take a final look and noticed the two pieces of torn cardboard wedged into the back of his cart. Both were faded handwritten messages scratched out in what looked like a black Sharpie. The top one merely said ‘West” and the bottom one said, “God Cares.”
God cares? I thought to myself? God Cares? This man, who had nothing but his shopping cart, worn shoes, and probably a stomach that cried out in agony carried this precious message. Wow! Here I am merely faced with selling our home–but we have a home. We are faced with financial troubles-but we have an income. We are dealing with familial issues-but I was not walking alone. As I walked into the store, I began not only chastising myself for wallowing, but also not for stopping and buying that man, that angel, a meal at the McDonald’s near by. I promised myself that if he was still there when I came out, I would buy him whatever he liked.
Although I hurried out, he was gone. I figured that someone had surely given him a ride to wherever he wanted to go.
For the past few days, I have thought of this man and the message he carried. I am blessed that he passed my way. God does care. We only have to look beyond our own wallowing to see just how much.