Sunday, November 7, 2010
Recently, I've been the recipient of grace, in various forms, I suppose. Maybe charity is a better word for it. And, it's been a struggle to know how to deal with it. I think that a lot of it has to do with my personality, how I'm wired if you will. Take for instance a guy in Belen, NM, that gave me a few bucks out of nowhere, just walked up and gave it to me. Another guy, in Fort Sumner, NM, when I asked to fill up my water bottles, he started giving me a bunch of candy.
In Texico, last night (11/7), I was sitting in the gas station reading my Bible, solely because it was warm there, and I wanted to chill. I promise, I wasn't looking for handouts. A guy, with some coworkers, sits down near me, and shortly asks me if I'm hungry. I guess I look homeless – oh well. I said I'm fine, and we proceed to swap stories. He's from Cuidad Juarez – crazy, right? - and he travels back and forth to Oklahoma every week with a load of used cars. Anyway, he presses if I want anything, and I let him buy me a candy bar, since I have the worst sweet-tooth ever. He pays for it, and I see a disgusted look on the face of the lady behind the counter. Now, maybe I was imagining the look, but I started questioning myself – was it right to let him buy me a candy bar, potentially under the pretense of me being a legitimate hobo? I mean, I have food, I'm okay on money, I have a place to sleep at night (although it's sometimes cold). I'm not homeless or poor – so is it wrong to accept his charity?
So, today I get blown away, for the millionth time on this trip. I go to church at First Baptist in Texico, New Mexico. I'll admit, that I did want to, while I was at church, ask somebody about a place to do a load of laundry – my clothes reeked from desert sweat. So, when I'm chatting with the pastor, and he asks me if I need a place to stay, I decline, saying that I'm camping in the park. However, I did say that I'm looking for a place to do laundry, even a laundromat or something. After the service, he drives me and all my gear to Clovis, pays for a hotel room, pays for breakfast, and gives me a bunch of money for laundry. A hotel room. That's kind of a big expense, you know? I think he got tired of me saying “Thank You.” I feel like I should give him something in return, like I should somehow earn this gift, maybe clean his house from top to bottom or something. But, all that was right to do was receive. And that's really hard for me to do, all along this trip, is receive that which is freely given. I try to make sure that I don't beg, and that I'm honest about my need situation. But, even so, I feel like I need to earn it, to be independent. And that part of me is such an American, individualistic thing, and I think it makes it so hard to accept God's grace that He gives us, that we could never earn anyway. And yet we try. Or I try at least. The least, I can do, I think, is be grateful. Thank you so much, Rob Hollis, for a shower, and clean clothes, and being a conduit of grace. And to everyone who has given, I can't say thank you enough. May you be blessed even more than I.