Not to be trite, but I see you. I see you even though you don’t want to be seen. All the good things you do that nobody ever hears about. The jackets bought, the lunch dates scheduled, the babies rocked. I don’t see them because you talk about them or post about them or, heaven forbid, brag about them. I see them because, sometimes, they just catch up with you on a day that I am there.
Someone stops by the table where we are eating messy hamburgers with toasted buns– working diligently to keep the juices under control. The person will stop and speak to you and you will put your hand up to cover your mouth full of food and smile warmly at them. Ask them how they are doing. Found a job yet? How’s the baby? Did y’all make it back from your trip ok? Then, just before the person walks away they will say quietly, “Thank you. We wouldn’t have made it without you.” You will duck your head quickly and put your hand out to touch their arm. Smile and send them on their way. We will continue fighting the battle of our hamburgers and one or the other of us will take a long pull of our Dr.Pepper. Anything to keep from having a conversation about what just happened. But, I will grin– happy to have you as my friend and happy to be eating lunch with you even though I have lost the battle with the juices and they are running down my arm.
Sometimes, I won’t be there on that day, but I will hear about it another way. My phone will ring. A mutual acquaintance calling and I will answer wondering what’s up. An excited voice will ring back, “You won’t believe what she did for us! It was just so nice and it made our whole day.” I will answer with a laugh in my voice. “She’s a keeper that’s for sure.” Then I will hang up the phone and sit down to say a quick prayer for you and to wonder.
Wonder how many kind things you have done on the sly. How many needs you have met without any expectation of thanks or recognition. How many groups you’ve led or rides you’ve given or hospital visits you’ve made. It’s one of the things I’m looking forward to in heaven. That day when we all settle in with popcorn and watch the movie of your kindness. I really can’t wait. What a joy that will be! I’ll clap and cheer and probably get popcorn everywhere.
I will do this because you are a guidepost. I don’t know if you know that, but you are. When I feel the urge to do something nice, I always think of you. How would you handle it? What would you do for this person in need or hurting? How would you show Christ to them? Some answer always come back. Sometimes, I am smart enough to follow through and sometimes I am not. (I don’t think it’s a secret that you are nicer than me!)
But, always, your example is there. Floating in front of me. Do nice things and keep your mouth closed about it. Do them because they reflect your heart. Because love is always a good choice. Because you are on the path to becoming more like Christ and loving people quietly is a good way to make some progress on that journey.
I have been a part of so many Bible studies. Mark this. Color that yellow. Memorize this. And, I have learned from all of them. But, I have learned the most about what it means to be a Christian by watching friends like you. Friends that love people. Naturally and honestly and with their cars and kitchens and spare change.
So, I have this little hope. I hope that someday one of my own good things catches up with me while we are eating lunch somewhere. Maybe, a salad for a switch, and I will have lettuce stuck in my teeth as someone stops by to tell me thank you. I will reach out and touch their arm and when they leave you will be grinning at me and taking a long draw of your Dr. Pepper. My face will flush because I won’t know how to handle it gracefully, but you won’t say a word and neither will I. Because, you have taught me that to talk about the good things we do is to cheapen them. Instead, let them swirl and journey until they find their way back to a lunch table with a blue checked tablecloth and mismatched salt and pepper shakers. Then, they will land safely and do the job they’re meant to do. To encourage someone further back on the path to keep trying. To follow. To understand that there are good people doing good things for absolutely no glory. No glory except to follow our Christ and to share His love with the world.
That’s why I want that day to happen. I want you to know that you have made a difference in my life. That you have been a teacher in addition to being a friend. The way you live out your faith has changed mine and I will be forever grateful for that. I am so, so proud to call you a friend, but don’t worry I won’t name you. However, I might pick up the lunch tab next time. Chinese sound good?