They caught my attention. Two weary sojourners trudging down the highway with their faithful canine companion trotting along at their side. Not that I would EVER want my daughters to do what I did… I pulled over to ask how I could help.
It used to be hard to explain why I do the things I do—even to myself.
I get out of my car to rescue turtles from certain death. I pick up lost dogs and track down their owners. In another era, I helped hitch hikers and distraught drivers with broken down cars. (That changed when I became a mother and realized my daughters needed me more than the travelers did.) There’s just something deep seated within me that draws me to people and animals in need, especially those whom others might not be inclined to help.
Now that I fully grasp my life purpose, I get it. One aspect of our purpose is our essence…who we are at our core. While going through the True Purpose™ process, I discerned that my essence is the following: “I’m a messenger of God’s love, joy, and compassion for His creation.” My natural tendency is to reach out to those who can benefit from a bit of God-love or agape in their life. It’s how I’m wired—I just need to be prudent about when I act upon this inclination.
Before slowing down to help Doc and Paul and Gypsy, I checked in with my “Trusted Source” (Jesus) and got the OK to proceed. That may seem crazy to a lot of folks; but so far, checking in like that has served me well throughout my life’s journey. Turned out the men were good men who had survived a rough upbringing. Brothers raised in separate foster homes (removed from parents who had abused them), they’d only received a sixth grade education. Yet somehow along the way they had acquired a deep love for God, a talent for plumbing (Doc) and roofing (Paul), and excellent manners. I thoroughly enjoyed the 150 miles we drove together.
As Gypsy napped on top of my luggage, my fellow sojourners and I listened to worship CDs. We were able to refresh not only our minds but also our souls through the uplifting notes and lyrics of the music…especially the songs of Elisabeth von Trapp. Doc, Paul, and Gypsy were exhausted after walking from Northern Pennsylvania to South Carolina to escape the cold winters and start a new life. They hadn’t had a ride in three days.
I dropped off the trio in a Wal-Mart parking lot (at their request) in Myrtle Beach, then continued on to the luxurious Sheraton Inn and Convention Center where I would be staying for the next three days. The contrast hit me like a ton of bricks, despite my homeless friends’ assurances they’d be fine. All they needed, they said, was a grove of trees to sleep in, a shower somewhere, a change of shirts, and a job. All I “needed” was … well, let’s just say my list went on and on and on.
I doubt I’ll ever see Doc, Paul, and sweet Gypsy again this side of heaven. I pray they’ve found work and that Myrtle Beach is good to them. I pray too that I remember to give thanks that I don’t have to fret over where I’ll sleep or what I’ll eat or how I’ll pay for dog food.
When I wrote my friend Elisabeth von Trapp that the three of us had been blessed by her music, this was her soulful response:
The people you are reaching are like the men who were traveling that you helped. Everyone is in transition some way, somehow toward a new place. Your work helps those who listen to consider options and possibilities that they have been hoping for but can’t find. Your program gives voice to ideas that help open people’s hearts and souls. Wishing you many new blessings.
Thank you, Elisabeth! I wish you abundant blessings as well.
In case any of you are wondering (and I suspect my daughters are curious), I’ve promised my husband not to give rides to homeless men any more–even if a sweet dog is walking along beside them. I’ll always remember Doc, Paul, and Gypsy, however, and be grateful for the many gifts they gave me.