I recently read a quote on Denzel Washington’s social media page that I’ve been ruminating on:
“Easy to spot a red car when you’re always thinking of a red car.”
I asked God to show me what my red cars are. I naturally assumed they were the people that The Foundry serves, so I felt like I had it covered, no sweat. After all, I pray for every inquiry and applicant that comes across my desk, asking for guidance and wisdom as I evaluate her needs against our services. My primary goal/responsibility is to enroll women struggling with addiction in our program. I speak daily with distraught women desperate for freedom and family members who just don’t know what to do next. I’m accustomed to hearing heartbreaking stories.
Those “red cars” are easy to spot because they drive straight to the Foundry’s front door.
Our program is located in a city setting, and seeing homeless in our area is not uncommon. About once a week, we’ll give toiletries, bottled water, a bus ticket, or a plate of food to someone who needs help. Although our focus is on providing addiction recovery, we will love on anyone who needs it if we have the means. As a social worker, I’m hyper-sensitive to those who look like they need a hand-up, and as a follower of Jesus, I’m obligated to love those who don’t look too lovable.
If I’m honest, I’d rather those “red cars” just turn down a different street.
RED CAR 1
Recently I came across a homeless lady asleep on a toddler bed by our donations box. My heart broke for her. I kept checking on her so I could offer her a drink or a plate of food when she woke up. Her shoes rested neatly at the foot of the bed, tugging at my heartstrings. She wandered off before I could speak to her.
She was the first “red car” that God was trying to get me to notice.
RED CAR 2
Later that day, another lady came inside The Women’s Center to ask what services we provide. We gave her water, allowed her to cool off, and gave her an application for the recovery program before she left.
“Wow God, two beautiful homeless ladies in one day…unusual to see 2 ‘red cars’ on one short stretch of road…”
RED CAR 3
The next day I spotted a lady walking in the same direction I was driving. I surmised that she was homeless. She was carrying a bag that was as big as her tiny frame. About an hour into my work day, another staff member brought her in and told me she needed to use the phone. She called her mother and was told that her cousin would pick her up soon.
After giving her breakfast, water, and a blanket, she called her family and curled up on one of our couches. Three hours later, they still hadn’t arrived. Her family had chosen not to help her, fed up with her life choices. They were applying “tough loving.”
She was upset, so I asked her if she wanted to fill out an application for our recovery program. She began filling it out but started making excuses about why she couldn’t come into the program. She hung around in our parking lot for a while and then vanished. She just wasn’t ready to commit to a long-term program.
The “red cars” were getting more frequent and a little more challenging to help.
RED CAR 4
On that same day, a police officer dropped off another young lady with nowhere to go. We had to explain that providing transient/shelter services is beyond our scope of services. He finally left her on our doorstep with three bags of her belongings.
We gave her water, and she waited inside until her ride arrived.
Seriously God, why so many “red cars”? In my spirit, he answered by reminding me of the truths of His Word.
“Whoever exalts herself will be humbled, and whoever humbles herself will be exalted. Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these sisters of mine, you did it for Me. Dana, always clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Do not oppress the poor. If anyone sees a sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.”
Thank you, God, for “red cars” that swerve into my lane. They are worth noticing.