Climbing up to the bench, down a little and across from us, I noticed a couple of retirement age and a young adult. It wasn't obvious at first that the younger adult was challenged. Stairs without railings aren't my friend either these days so I didn't think twice about how he came haltingly up to their row.
Waiting patiently in the aisle by their row, the woman smiled and held out her hand. The young man looked up and beamed at her, as he reached for her hand. As he drew himself up to his full height, I saw the older man standing a few seats down the row also smiling and reaching.
It was such a picture of love and trust! And it framed a vignette I watched just a few minutes later.
It was nearly time for the opening act to begin and people were starting to move a little faster to their seats. Sitting near the end of our row, watching the ebb and flow of fans was easy.
That's when I saw another mom trying to scurry down the steps with her daughter slightly behind. I recognized that gait. Arms and hands flailing for some kind of support, something to hold on to. Head twisting to see any barriers or bumps in the path. Legs slow and awkward. My heart hurt for her.
And then it broke as mom turned to yell at the girl for not moving faster. Honestly, it took all of my self-control not to yell, "Mama, please don't rush me!"
We can never totally know the back stories around us; my head understands that. The impatient mom was juxtaposed against the smiling, reaching parents, and the looks on the young faces seemed to tell a lot.
Those two brief episodes were reminders of expectations placed upon us. I couldn't help but think how often the world seems to yell at us to hurry up, move faster, without first taking in our circumstances. It's almost like it has a "show no mercy" attitude to us at times.
How often do we long for the smiling face and reaching hand of our Heavenly Father who longs for us to come, anyway we can, as soon as we can. He's waiting, just waiting, for each of us as though there was only one of us. How great is that!
What works for me when the world "shows no mercy" is to remember there is a beaming face and warm hand waiting for me to look up and reach out. What works for me is to remember we are called to be the hands, feet and voice of God to each other, smiling, welcoming. What my heart never wants to hear is, "Mama, please don't rush me."
I am linking this post to Giving Up on Perfect and Coffee for Your Heart.