On November 7th, I had the awesome opportunity to meet a beautiful soul. It felt quite like divine intervention.
I was having an anxious, but GREAT start to the week. All was well until I started receiving text messages. For the past two weeks I had been overwhelmed by people who can't see past their own desires. I have a handful of people in my life that are selfish and lack self awareness. They generally don't take an interest in anyone else but themselves, their feelings, their life, their events, etc. I feel so drained when these folk reach out even after carefully considering plausible explanations for their behavior such as: 1) Some people have a conversation style where they expect you to bring up things about yourself without needing to be asked, 2) Plenty of people are a bit shy and awkward. They may be nervous about asking you questions, because they don't want to pry or are afraid of saying something unoriginal and boring. Or they may not know it's important to ask about you in the first place, 3) More people than you'd think simply don't know it's a good social practice to take an interest in others, and/or 4) they may be like me- I have trouble remembering things when in conversation, due to anxiety, brain fog, and just because of overstimulation and when I ask about them, they ALWAYS say they're fine so what's the point in keep asking. *shrugs*
I hadn't heard from one of these drainers since August. I suddenly get a text message asking for $14,000+. Not a, "Hello." No, "How are you?" No, "How's your son?" Though I can ignore the text, based on the relationship, this isn't someone I can just write out of my life.
Drainer #2 needs a mindset shift. The constant complaining of victimization led to me drifting away. My disengagement is viewed as cruel and unloving; notwithstanding, some people are so tied to the victim mentality that they project it onto you and start blaming you (mostly because they're seeking recognition for their victimhood). When they aren't seeing themselves as perpetual victims, they're asking for money. It's depleting. Sometimes I want to say, "“OK, now I’ll tell you what’s going on in MY life so we can have a mutually-caring conversation.” But being passive aggressive doesn't help either. Ho hum....
After being emotionally spent and simply shocked by the inconsideration of others, I came across a real gem.
My husband and I were exiting our bus to enter Caesars Superdome to see the Ravens vs. the Saints football game. Though we had noshed most of the day, we were yearning for something authentic and satisfying. As soon as we stepped off the bus, we saw tents and trucks of tailgaters. The aroma of food drew me to one tent in particular. The setup was so organized and well planned. I've never tailgated in my life so I didn't know people cook full meals/dinners before the game. I walked to the table, turned to my husband, and told him I had no cash. I then asked the woman at the table if she accepted CashApp. She replied, "Are you hungry?" I answered, "Yes, but I only have this two dollars." The woman rolled her eyes, pulled up a chair and told me to sit. She proceeded to make me a plate of red beans and rice and fried chicken.
The chicken was the best chicken I've ever had in my life. She didn't stop there. She served another person the was on our bus. She offered us both something to drink. Her entire family came over to chat with us. She offered my husband food as well, but he doesn't eat meat. Nonetheless, he got so much joy talking about sports with her brothers and cousins.
We spent about an hour at their tent. I learned so much about Michelle, even that she was graduating from culinary school on the 14th. She told me about the loss of her father, taking care of her brothers, her daughter's business, she showed me pictures of her grandkids, etc. Though we discussed heavy topics, it didn't feel burdensome or awkward. I walked away from her tent feeling full, physically and mentally. She sent me away with two fried turkey wings and warm hugs.
Michelle has no idea that she was exactly what I needed in that moment. EXACTLY. The loving kindness with no expectation. Although she rejected any ideas of repayment and was quite offended, I grabbed her address and her CashApp handle. I wanted to find a way to show my gratitude. And I want her to continue to be able to serve folks in need---just like me.
Today, I'm thankful for people like Michelle. Michelle provided more than a meal. She helped me lay down my burdens without judgment. And Jesus Christ demands nothing less from you. “Go on carrying the burdens of one another...” (Galatians 6:2).
Read Galatians chapter 3, where the apostle Paul explains convincingly that the purpose of the law is not to save us, but to show us our sins, lead us to Jesus Christ, and then guide us in thankful living.
So thankful that I paused to refuel and Michelle was like my twenty-person-pit-crew changing my four tires, filling my gas tank, adjusting my air foils, and cleaning my filters in less than seven seconds. I've made a new friend and we've kept in touch after. I can't wait to offer my pit-crew services when she's in my town. It would be an honor. Thank you Chef Shelly! Ya'll show her some love!