Me, Myself And I Missed It...
Gary just said “I can’t stop thinking about Michael, I wonder how long he has?”. How long he has for what? I thought. So I asked him and his response floored me, "I wonder how long he has to live? I wonder how long he has been battling AIDS and how long he has been on the meds?”
I immediately felt sick to my stomach…First of all, I am usually the observant one in our relationship. Gary jokes that he is a ’surface looker’ (and he IS! I can't tell you how often I hear--"where is the_____?" and it's right in front of him...)—and apparently it’s hereditary because 4 out of 5 of his children are ’surface lookers’ as well... (and I love them all--surface lookers or not!)
But how did I miss all the signs about Michael AND how did Gary see them? They were all there now that I have had time to think about it. Michael is probably entering a later stage with AIDS. And now that I have had time to think about it, I saw the weariness in his eyes. Yet he was so kind and gentle with me. We met him at a skin care store on vacation last weekend when Gary and I had a few precious (child free!) days away. Michael and I talked for over 30 minutes about all the options for my ‘issue’—adult acne. (Hello 35 kick in and kick acne out! But apparently ‘adult acne’ is common. Even though I have convinced myself I am the ‘only one’...a post for another day).
But the whole time I was with Michael it was all about me, myself and I... Not ONCE in that time did I ever think about him and what he may be going through in his own life. And there were so many signs-- Gary and I did extensive research about HIV and AIDS several years ago—a dear friend of ours was diagnosed…
It led me to wonder how often I must miss other "Michaels" because I am so focused on me, myself and I... I am mostly upset I missed the chance to just give him a hug and ask him if I could pray for him.
I didn't intentionally ignore all the signs in Michael, it was like I had blinders on and all I could think about was what was going on in my little life at that moment. But compared to Michael’s issue it is nothing at all.
Trust me I could use this experience to beat myself up—and I don’t want to ‘brag' but I have a black belt in self-inflicted karate to my soul for my failings. But I think instead of beating myself up, which by the way just leads to more inward focus on me, myself and I... I intend to use this experience to spur me on and remind me to look outward more and find the "Michaels" in this world and love on them.
The truth is we live in dark times. There are so many “Michaels” out there that we live with, work with, go to Church with, and interact with every day. Truthfully, aren't we all "Michael" in one way or another on occasion, carrying burdens we were never meant to carry on our own.
One of the most beautiful things about being a part of God’s family in this day and hour means that I am a part of the cure. And YOU ARE TOO! I believe part of the gift of walking through this broken and battered world is we get to be a light in each other's darkness. God never intended for any of us to walk alone. Never. Even Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane on the night He was betrayed and sentenced to die—Asked for His brothers to stand with him during His darkest hours.
Matthew 26:38 “Then he said to them, “my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Peter, James and John were to do nothing but to be there with Him. He didn’t want (nor need) them to solve His problem or issue—He just wanted them to be with Him. That has been such a powerful lesson in my life and ministry. I can’t solve anyone’s problems. And I am not called to. I am just called to ‘be’ with people. We can’t save people—we are just called to love them right where they are and allow God to do the rest.
We have the ability to care and love people no matter what they are walking through. I don’t want my issues to consume all of me and my time. I want to walk around with an awareness of others, and that people are hurting and some are in very dark places. What a gift if we can be a little light in that darkness.
We are not alone. Michael is not alone. You are not alone. I am not alone. We are all in this life together and I hope I get to meet and hug and pray for another "Michael" today...
And in case anyone cares--my new skin care products I now call "Michael" are helping with my acne--Thank you Jesus!
Daily Grace to you.
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