Small Wonders: Two women and the call of Christ

by redguthrie

Yesterday was a gray, dreary day where I live, the kind that it’s easy to feel down on. The morning was foggy and the afternoon was rainy. Fortunately, I had the blessing to encounter two women who reminded me of God’s call to service.

The met the first woman at a gas station. She was bent over the hot engine of her car struggling to loosen its oil cap. I intended to walk right on by when she turned and asked me for help. Her oil cap was immovably jammed into place. I was unable to make it budge even with two hands. I wished I could have helped her more, but the encounter was not without its reward. It reminded me that we are always surrounded by those in need of our help and even when our help is ineffective it may still provide a spiritual good. In this case, it reminded me of Christ’s call to love my neighbor unconditionally.

I met the second woman while walking from the library to my car, which was several blocks away. It was raining fairly hard and I had forgotten to take my umbrella with me. I managed to keep somewhat dry on the walk by ducking under awnings and passing through a parking garage, but was still fairly soaked when I heard a voice say softly behind me, “How much further do you have to go?” I turned around and there was this woman I had never met holding out her umbrella to me. We walked the last block to my car both half under the umbrella. I thanked her and she continued on her way. I was truly humbled. Here was this stranger, who sought me out to offer me help. By sharing her umbrella she exposed herself to the rain when she could have kept dry. She loved me, a stranger, enough to inconvenience herself for my benefit, and in so doing provided me with an example of how I should act to serve my neighbors.

Both these encounters reminded me that God calls us everyday to love Him through our neighbors. Sometimes this call is great such as the call Dorothy Day received when she founded the Catholic Worker with Peter Maurin or the call Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. answered as he emerged as a major leader in the civil rights movement. Other times, the call may be something small, like offering an umbrella to a stranger.