It’s Not Always About You

Part 1

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Moxie looked up at her owner with eyes full of questions. What’s going on here? Who is that hyperactive newcomer running all over the place? Why was he brought into her world? What is she supposed to do with him? Was she supposed to be playing with him? Showing him where the food and water bowls were? Helping him settle down somewhere? Or instead was she supposed to learn something from him?

Not getting an answer from her owner, she looked back at the intruder. He was still running from one room to another stopping to sniff different items from time to time. That wasn’t too bad. But what was bad was the ear piercing high pitched bark he would make at unexpected times in the middle of all that running. And, even worse than the barks, were the sniffs. She had accepted his initial sniffing which all dogs do to acquaint themselves with other dogs, but apparently this small runt had not been satisfied with that. Or maybe his brain was too small to remember anything because every so often he would come charging up to her to begin the sniffing ritual all over again. And Moxie had no ideas left on how to handle it. She had tried being friendly, but he didn’t seem to want a friend. She had tried ignoring him but that didn’t stop him. She had tried growling softly, warning him to leave her alone, but he didn’t seem to understand that. She had looked to her owner for intervention but, even though her owner was watching, nothing seemed to change. So Moxie did the only thing left she could do – she hid. She found a safe place far enough from the small nuisance not to be noticed, but close enough where she could keep one eye on him. She didn’t trust him and she didn’t want any surprise attacks like he had done to her friend Acey. She kept her other eye on her owner, silently asking that something be done with this crazy guy and feeling bad that she wasn’t better able to handle him.

Part 2

The tired woman looked up to her Lord with eyes full of questions. What’s going on here? Who was that homeless young man running up and down 11th Street with his dog? Why was he brought into her world? What is she supposed to do with him? Was she supposed to be providing him with transportation and money? Showing him where the food resources were? Helping him find a place to stay? Or instead was she supposed to learn something from him?

Not getting an answer from God, her thoughts went back to the restless man. He was still running from one place to another stopping to check out different people from time to time. That wasn’t too bad. But what was bad was the heart piercing rude comments he would direct at different people at unexpected times. And, more personal to her than the rude comments, were his pleas to her for help. When he had first approached her, she had accepted his initial questions which were typical of the questions all people ask to acquaint themselves with other people, but those questions had quickly turned to requests for help. She told him she would do what she could but apparently this guy had not been satisfied with that. Or maybe his brain was too messed up to remember anything because every so often he would suddenly begin pleading for help all over again. And she had no ideas left on how to handle it. She had tried being friendly, providing what help she could, but that wasn’t enough. She had tried ignoring him after directing him to other resources, but that didn’t stop him from texting her. She had tried warning him subtly to leave her alone, but he didn’t seem to understand that. She had looked to God for guidance but, even though she knew He was watching, He wasn’t saying anything. So the lady did the only thing left she could do – she hid. Since she was leaving town anyway, she made sure he knew so he wouldn’t have any reason to keep asking her for help, but she monitored a few facebook groups where she could keep one eye on him. She didn’t trust him and she didn’t want any surprise attacks like he had done to others. She kept her other eye on the Lord, silently asking Him to help the man and his dog and feeling bad that she wasn’t better able to handle the situation. Should she have done more? Should she be doing more even now?

“Not everything is about you.”

“What?”

“Have you considered that this is not about you? Think about Moxie.”

The lady thought about when she had recently agreed to dog sit a puppy for a friend. The puppy had come in with all his puppy energy, charging around the house curious about everything, stopping to chew or sniff whatever caught his attention. After his owner had left, this puppy had looked for her, stopping to bark from time to time as if calling out to her, then running around the house searching again. Moxie, one of the lady’s dogs, had kept looking from the puppy to the lady then back to the puppy again as if wondering what was going on. The lady had watched as Moxie accepted the puppy’s sniffing, at least for the first few times. She had watched as Moxie tried unsuccessfully to play with him, and then had watched as Moxie tried to ignore him. “It’s OK, Moxie,” she had said. “The puppy is not going to be here long. He just needs a place to be for a while.”

“So, was the puppy there for Moxie’s benefit?”

“No, it had nothing to do with Moxie.”

“Who was this all about, then?”

“It was about the puppy.”

“Right. It was about the puppy and his needs. Not about Moxie at all. She didn’t have to do anything. Yet her presence, especially her willingness to let the puppy sniff her, added to the puppy’s socialization. So even though you didn’t bring the puppy into Moxie’s world for her benefit, Moxie did play a small role in the puppy’s social growth.”

The lady nodded. She could understand that.

“It’s the same with you and the homeless man. It wasn’t about you. It was about him. I allowed him into your world for his benefit. Your presence, especially your willingness to help, added to what I’m working in and around him. You played a small role in what I’m doing.”

But then God smiled teasingly.

“But you know I am the Master at multitasking. And although this was for the man, I am using it for your good too. Now get some well deserved rest, my daughter, and leave the man to me.”

And so she did.

Do You Remember… Field of Flowers?

She was upset. She didn’t want to go but didn’t know why. She had spent weeks away before. Why was it so hard this time? Because it was going to be a week and a half instead of the week she first thought it would be? Why should that make a difference?

She packed slowly, feeling worse by the hour. She liked being home. All her things were there. She didn’t have many responsibilities lately and was enjoying working on her projects.

But she was needed elsewhere. And she wanted to help so she agreed to go. And had been OK about it until it came time to pack. Her online business required she take her computer, sewing machine, and the boxes of orders she needed to finish. By the time her SUV was packed to the brim, she was angry and stressed and wishing she didn’t have to go. But she had promised. She was needed. So she went.

On the way, she stopped to buy the groceries she would need while she was there. The store was very small and didn’t have everything she wanted. Anger turning to sadness and a bit of self-pity, she  squeezed the few bags of groceries into her car. As she opened the driver’s door, she looked down and saw a penny. She knew God was telling her He saw her and would be with her. She picked up the penny and put it into her pocket, thanking God for the reminder. But it didn’t help much with her feelings.

Driving the long distance, she slowly became aware that almost every light she went through was green. As many times as she’s driven this route, that almost never happens. And where was the traffic? It should have been bumper to bumper at this time of day. God again?

Once at the house, and her things were in the room she would sleep in, she set up her computer and checked her emails. Nothing exciting. She took a few notes on what she would be responsible for  – such as where things were, how to prepare them, what his daily routine was like, when to give him his meds – and felt increasingly insecure. Could she do this? What if something went wrong?

She decided to take a walk to ease the restlessness building in her legs. As she entered the nearby walking track, she looked down and saw something small and colorful. She picked up the little toy and looked around for its possible owner. But there were no kids around. She looked again at it and saw that it was a little plastic flower in a little plastic pot.

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“Aw… God gave me a flower.” she thought.

“It’s more than that,” came a still small voice.

More?

“Remember what you wrote… about a flower…”

And the story she had written about the field of flowers came immediately to mind. And she knew.

She had written about a picture God had given her many years before. About a flowers growing joyfully in a field. And she had been sad that she had picked some of them to give to Jesus, who had promptly given them to the Father.

“These are growing beautifully, just like You said. But the ones I picked are not growing anymore. I ruined them.”

“No, child,” He said gently. “You didn’t ruin anything. Even the flowers you picked were given to the Father. It’s all for His glory – whether growing or picked.”

He continued. “Be like the flowers.  Be the beautiful you He made you to be. Enjoy life, praising and loving Him, relaxing in His care, and sharing your beauty with everyone.’

“That’s easy to do, when I’m in a place as wonderful as this field. But what if someone picks me? What if they take me away from the peace and joy of this field?”  She was thinking about all the demands the people in her life place on her.

“Don’t resist them. Give yourself joyfully. And just like those flowers, you, too, will be given to the Father for His glory.”

She thought she understood. At least here, in this place, it made sense. She wasn’t so sure it would feel the same when she put it into practice.

“Will You help me?” she asked Him. “When people make their demands and take me from where I want to be, will You help me remember the flowers?”

Amazingly, that’s just what He did. With a little plastic flower in the little plastic pot.