WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Be a Blessing

By S.J. Butler

"The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God—if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody."
—Maya Angelou

Look up. Look around. I’d gotten in the habit of keeping my head down when running errands, stuck in my own dark cloud, closed off, and hardly noticing where I was or who was around me.

On this day, I decided to greet the world differently.

I stopped for gas and started filling up when I noticed a man several rows down. His car was old and packed with junk — so what? He had old work clothes on and looked to be in his 20s — again, so what? All I did was look at him. Although there were other people around, he came over to me, said hello, and tried to explain something to me in half-English, half-Spanish.

I finally understood that he had to get somewhere and needed directions. No problem — except I didn't speak Spanish.

He pulled out his cell phone, punched in a number, and handed me his phone.

“Hello?” I said.

The voice on the other end told me that her son had just driven straight through from another state, had only forty-five minutes to get to a job in another town, and didn’t know which direction to go. Did I have any kids?, she asked.

I have sons, too. Mom to mom, I explained to her where he should go, she looked it up on Google maps, and together we came up with the best plan to avoid rush hour traffic and get him out to his job without a minute to spare.

I gave the phone back to the young man. His mother gave him directions in Spanish while I pointed in the right direction. Then he handed the phone back to me.

“What’s your name?” his mother asked. She said she wanted to thank me by name for helping her son.

I’m sure the mother and son from Texas have forgotten about this day, long ago, but the named blessing I gratefully accepted that day has long stayed with me, a reminder of the simple act of looking up with an open heart.

May you give and receive the blessings of kindness. May the compassion you show another be a light in your life, as well.

Audio version of "Be a Blessing"

Listen to S.J. Butler read her reflection.

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