How often is it that I am in crisis because I am in need of a post office?
Yet, there was one day last semester when I, a shameless millennial, needed to mail a letter to a friend and rushed to a post office on the other side of town because I was in dire need of a stamp. I walked in about 15 minutes prior to closing time and there was a long line of people waiting in front of the counter. I took my place in the queue and proceeded to observe my fellow envelope enthusiasts. As I appraised the demographic on the scene, one older woman caught my attention. She was about two people behind me in line and holding a little girl who could not have been older than 2 or 3 years. I looked away and allowed my mind to fill with a stream of complaints about the slow-moving nature of the line and theories regarding the origin of the musty building smells. Minutes later, I heard the rush of a something moving quickly through the air and turned around just in time to see the lady hit the ground, quickly followed by the little girl’s head hitting the ground. The line reacted quickly as the people directly around them offered hands and lifted them up. The little girl was scared, screaming, and inconsolable as the old lady held her close and comforted her. Other people in line told the old lady to watch for signs of concussion in the little girl and asked if she was the caretaker. The old lady nodded in affirmation and also mentioned that she was the grandma. She was then informed about not letting her granddaughter nap as a precaution.
Something about that experience shook me. I never spoke nor was I spoken to, but I felt off in the aftermath. I sat in my car for a couple of minutes after I mailed my letter. I watched as the old lady came out and searched for her keys with one hand while holding the little sniffling girl with the other. I watched as she gingerly set the girl in her car seat and buckled her in. And I watched as she slowly backed out of the parking space and drove away.
The hurt and fear and love in the eyes of that grandma. Her innocence and concern. The way she ignored her own hurt and fall to administer to the other. Goodness, she deserves rest at her age. Someone like me should be doing what she has taken on. The whole thing really hit my heart and made me think. I looked at her and only saw her hurt while she looked out of her hurt and only saw the hurt of the one she loved.
It’s post-Holy Week, but Jesus seems to continue to shower me with images of the cross left and right. The love of this grandmother, the vulnerability of a friend, reading the story of a social worker in Syria—Jesus has been speaking truths about his sacrifice through these souls. He knows my heart and that I need a “why” for what he did and doesn’t hesitate to share little images of the love he has for us and the brokenness that he died to heal.
In these people and events and whirling thoughts, He says, “I know mine and mine know me.”
Madison. That’s me. I love cats, John Mayer, and freshly baked cookies. I don’t really like to work out but I love the feeling of peace that follows the intense struggle it causes me. I love walking in the dark, especially while listening to music so loud that I can hear and feel every layer of the sound. I prefer beaches to mountains (probably because of my intense fear of heights) and watching the sun rise and set over waves is one of my favorite ways to pray. Sitting on the sea side and watching a sunrise with my dad is an irreplaceable memory. I love to sing (horribly) and it is only recently that I have developed a love of dancing to anything anywhere and feeling totally free. I ponder things probably too intensely and seem to feel most emotions with greater depth than they require. And I desire to know, REALLY KNOW, in my heart that I am loved completely, totally, and always.
And He loves that–He created that.
He sees us hurting and fragile and begging to know why we keep hitting the ground. He does his best to get our attention and remind us that he made us for more. We choose to fall away from him and yet he is right there in line to pick us up. What’s more? He falls with us, cushions our fall, and, overlooking all of the hurt in his own heart that we have caused, seeks to heal us.
Maybe your heart is hurting right now and your Easter feels like an extension of Lent. Or maybe you have never felt more joy or wholeness. Either way, Jesus desires to be more than a bystander in line and to walk side by side with you wherever you are. At the post office, in the classroom, on the way home from work—He is waiting for you there and He knows exactly what your heart needs.