January Journal: Day 6



Two days before Christmas, we had a family breakfast at Tandem. It was the usual amazing crepes and coffee and the lovely friends who work there. We bought two gift cards as Christmas gifts, sat in the heated outdoor patio, and marveled with the kids at the snowman design in the latte on the table next to us. TJ and I split both a Lumberjack crepe and a Pumpkin Pie crepe, and I vowed to try the Blueberry Cream next time.

After breakfast, we went to the chiropractor, Staples, and the cell phone repair place for an iPad fix.

But none of that is what sticks in my mind from our Friday morning out. It was the unsettling image of seeing a homeless-looking man being sick in the parking lot of the strip mall where we were. As we turned into the parking lot, I zoned in right away that there's someone being sick. The man moved from the grassy curb area where I first noticed him into the middle of the parking lot and continued with his unfortunate condition. The worst of it was that a minute later, he got into the backseat of a car packed with people. Or maybe that was the best of it, that these were his people and he wasn't homeless and alone after all? Even at a quick glance, I saw both black and white, male and female in the car into which the man soon entered.

Who was this variety of people? Where were they going? Why was this man sick? Did he drink too much, or have a stomach bug? Was it carsickness or vertigo? Why, oh why, did he have to get right back in the car? Did they stop for him because they knew he was sick? Was he feeling rushed? Was he sad? (I was sad.) And did they care for him in his condition? If so, why did they drive out of the parking lot so speedily? What happened later? Was he sick again in the car, or did they have to pull over somewhere else? Was the man all better by Christmas? Did he even have a Christmas?

Above all, why did these kinds of questions keep coming into my mind all day that day, and at random times on days since?

Although difficult to witness, this unknown man's condition has given me a visual reminder of the war we are engaged in.

Wars with our bodies, 
Wars with our minds, 
And wars with our fellow
War of all wars,
The fight to stay young.
The fight to keep death,
A war cry not sung.

This is nothing like the fun card game my boys love playing these days. Or the "great civil war" of the Gettysburg Address the kids have just finished memorizing for school. We are engaged in a daily war against all that is good and beautiful and true. The world can make us feel as if all is against us, as if all is lost, as if no one cares. Like this man, this poor sick man, we find ourselves fighting back the weakness and weariness that our bodies and minds eventually succumb to.

Who will rescue me from this body of death? asked Paul in the book of Romans.

Who lifts our heads? Who heals our wounds? Who takes our sickness? Who bears our sins? Who comforts us in all our trials? Who is our very present help in trouble? Who causes those who sow in tears to reap with songs of joy? Who always watches for our return? Who forever gives hope?

It is Jesus, who may as well have been the homeless, sick, and lonely man I saw in the parking lot. For He is the one who put on our humanness to fight the war against death for us.

I love that man.