My mom was an extraordinary woman. She delighted in serving her family and church. There was nothing that was beneath her. If her task made someone’s life easier, better, happier, she would do it.
For many years my mom had a friend in church, Her name was Judy. Judy was blind and she had a lovely black guide dog who was very capable of navigating the church obstacles. All Judy had to do was hold the reins on his harness and she would be guided safely. However, my mom delighted in helping Judy and Judy, being a kind woman, was happy to let my mom take over. One Sunday morning the pastor called people up to the altar for prayer. Judy rose up to go and my mom immediately stood and took her arm. “I will take you,” my mom quickly exclaimed. Judy did not skip a beat, she told her guide dog to sit and graciously took my mom’s arm. They weaved through the crowd, navigating between chairs and people. My mom was beaming with pride and Judy was boldly walking beside her. Church folk were smiling at the sight. Then my mom walked Judy smack dab into a pole. My mom was so upset, that she added to the incident by farting loudly. Now I am not sure if my mind made this part up, but for a split second, I do believe that at least 100 people all gasped in unison. I was caught between the childlike need to laugh at the fart and the adult need to make sure that Judy was okay.
I walked quickly to my mom and Judy’s side, and here is the conversation I overheard. Judy, “Next time we need to ask for directions!” Mom, “So sorry I had my eyes on the prize!” (Note this is an old school way of saying I was following God.) Judy, “Next time could you make sure the prize is not behind a pole? Let’s get going before the stink follows us.” They both giggled, Judy retrieved her guide dog, and with Judy safely behind his reins, they moved on. The church went back to singing and I quickly returned to my seat trying hard not to laugh hysterically.
Now I am sure you are saying, “What the heck is this crazy woman talking about? Exactly where is there a lesson in this situation?” Well, I really didn’t grasp that until recently. This event kept crossing my mind. If this recollection only happened once I would have just chalked it up to remembering a very funny mom story. But, it didn’t. I would be saying my prayers and this little movie would play in my head. My mom walking with Judy and then the bang, then the fart. So one night, I just stopped my evening prayer and had a true conversation with God.
Then it hit me. This silly little event had a real meaning!!
Have you ever been talked into leaving your guide behind? You dropped your reigns and plunged ahead without being sure of the path? Have you been nudged into situations that caused you to take the hand of a well-meaning friend and then crashed and burned? Despite all you had been given, your talents, your dreams, your spiritual guide map, you decided to take someone else’s path? Then, despite all good intentions, you found yourself a bit lost, a bit hurt and surrounded by a smelly situation? Well, I am here to tell you, I have seen it with my own eyes – at times I have lived it myself.
If you have the tools to get where you are going – use them. If you don’t have them, ask God for them. He is your provider, your creator, the one who holds your GPS system in the palm of His hand. Walk side by side with others, but do not let them control your path. Walk side by side with friends, but do not choose their path. Let God do that. Be sensitive to God’s purpose for yourself and for others. Your journey is your own. Your friend’s journey is their own. Their farts are their farts, your farts are your farts.
In each of us, there is a “guide dog” (which I call the Holy Spirit) that will lead us on a journey that is designed just for us and will lead us to God’s perfect plan. Only He can lead us past the stinky messes that we sometimes will leave behind. When you allow God to have the reins, you can be certain that you will arrive safely.
Never hesitate to walk through the stinky things of life. Stand side by side with one another, and once through the cloud – have a good laugh – rejoicing in the fact that each of us is a unique and beautiful creation on our own path.