“Sir!” she shouted as she tapped my closed car window, “Can you help me? My car needs a jump!”
Her words were muffled between the phone call I had just answered and the snow storm outside.
I opened the door and shouted through the storm, a bit tersely, “What do you need?”
“I left the light on in my car and now it won’t start. Can you give me a jump?” she replied.
All I had done was drive to the gym to get my morning workout in, although it wasn’t A.M. anymore, since I had been out driving my children to school, orthodontist appointments, and made a few detours along the way of service around the community that was unexpected this day for church, family, and friends.
Now it was 1 P.M. and the day was slipping away. To add insult to injury, a blizzard had just blown in and I was underdressed for the storm.
Reluctantly, hanging up my phone call, I hopped out of my car to assess the situation:
- Elderly woman from England
- Parked with hood in the worst spot possible for a jump, no way could I get my car near hers
- I would need to push her car to another location and block parked cars at the same time
She had already walked around to get her jumper cables ready, multiple sets, this must be a thing she does often, I thought.
Under my breath I mumbled and murmured how this was ruining my day and my plan to get my one thing for me in: My Workout. And now, because of this, I’d have to cut the buff sculpting short.
We tried everything, as the snow poured down, covering my shoulders and neck with freezing water, as I did all I knew how to jump an old car with what was available – old shabby cables.
After 20 minutes of troubleshooting, revving engines, gingerly walking back and forth between her car and mine, moving my car for the parked cars so other gym goers could drive away, and continuing to be all-in with this stranger, we finally got her car started.
The woman came over to me, as I took cables off and closed her hood and mine, and said, “You, kind sir, are a true gentleman.”
I said, in my kindest attempt to continue acting un-angry, “Oh, not true, but I just hope you have a better day and glad I could be of help.”
Even though, I actually wasn’t glad. I was in no way happy this was how my gym time was spent, I was quite ticked off, truly. Embarrassed to admit the truth, but maybe you’ve felt this way before…
Yes, you helped another person, but it wasn’t in your plans to spend THAT much time assisting. The ASK came at the absolute worst time possible. Now “Me Time” becomes “We Time” and I don’t want “We Time” with this version of “We”.
I re-parked my car, went in the gym, did a 15-minute workout, and raced to my daughter’s school to take her to her chiropractor appointment, before spending the rest of the evening shoveling snow and helping the kids with homework for 3 hours before bed.
What a day.
As I lay down I complained to my wife about my unproductive, didn’t do a thing to further my business or profession, day.
She listened calmly and agreed, “Yes, that’s quite the day. And true, you didn’t get anything done for the business, and we aren’t any richer financially tonight. But, it sounds like you were used for what we prayed about this morning.”
I hadn’t remembered.
And then it hit me: “Please help us this day that we might have the opportunity to bless someone in need along our way…”
As I replayed the day in my mind, I realized The Promise I had asked to keep was actually delivered to me in every way I didn’t expect, want, or feel I needed. Yet there it was, culminating in an English woman in a parking lot in a blizzard asking me to jump her car.
I could call it: The Parable of the Car Jump
Did I do so with a heart full of joy? Not at all.
Did I recognize the opportunity was to allow me to fulfill The Promise? Not for one second.
Do we realize this happens to us every single day? Probably not.
The phone call left unanswered.
The skirting past chairs needing to be folded, lifted and put away at the event just attended.
The smile you could have given that passerby, on the street or in the office.
The comment you could have made online, instead just kept scrolling.
The co-worker unsure how to finish the project, even when you know how to help.
The partner at home who just finished cooking dinner and the mound of dishes left behind.
Let’s open our eyes, and our hearts, to these happenings.
Even as I Promise to live this way, and teach it to any who will listen, I still come up short in thinking of what I need before others.
How can we change this?
And even when we help, how can we be happy doing so?
Here’s The Plan to live the Promise today:
- Even if we don’t want to, we still help
- Even if we’re not happy doing so, we do so with an attitude of helpfulness
- Even if we felt it was a waste of time, we recognize we did something useful and good
What’s your “Car Jump” Parable today – that unexpected, unplanned, not on your radar – opportunity to keep The Promise, that just so happened to you, and in turn, absolutely blessed you, today?
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