friendly friday: a {gentle} slap in the face

{photo credit}

It was Monday, the day after that night of “sleep”  and I was having a Day. A got no sleep, baby vomited on me (like, threw up, not spit up), then while I was cleaning it up, OBoy had a ‘number 2′ accident. Classic. Clean up one child’s bodily fluids only to turn around and need to clean up more.

My mother-in-law came over to watch OBoy while I took OBrother to the pediatrician’s (two kids, two visit in a week. Oy.) After leaving the doctor’s office with a diagnosis of an ear infection and a nose infection (because apparently very young babies don’t have sinuses yet?) we headed to the pharmacy, prescription in hand.

There they were in the parking lot, an older couple standing next to their mid-nineties Toyota Carola, hood open. The man was pacing, speaking on his cell phone in a language I didn’t understand.

I got out and asked the woman “Is it your battery?”

Yes. Uhm, need cables for another car.”

“O, I think I have some in here, I can give you a jump.”

She smiles, calls over to the man, who hangs up his phone call and comes over. I start thinking about how this is it! I have been in the midst of my horrible awful no good terrible day, and God put an opportunity right in front of my face to help someone else.

Except the cables weren’t in my car.

(I could have sworn I just saw them in here!?) I call my husband. He has them in his car, which is probably where I saw them when I drove it the day before. I am so incredibly embarrassed. I explain to the couple that I thought I had them but I don’t, that I am so sorry, and that I hope someone comes soon.

I feel helpless to help them. It sucks.

I go into the pharmacy and while waiting for the prescription, I search for the car aisle. I would be more than willing to buy a pair of cables and go out and jump them (we should have a pair for each car, anyway). No such luck. My heart sinks further.

They call our name, I pay for the antibiotic and we go to the car. The couple is still stranded, man back on the phone.

DanO’s office is less than 5 minutes from here.

I hop in the car without telling the couple my plan, and drive literally less than 2 miles to DanO’s building. I unlock our other car with my keys, snag the cables, and I’m headed back to the pharmacy parking lot. As I pull in, I see the car and the couple.

And I see the large pickup truck pulled in front of them with a man outside connecting jumper cables.

O, you guys. The emotions I had are so mixed, but it was so good for me  to have them.

I feel like such a dork.

Why on earth would I be upset that these people got help?

Because I wasted my time.

Really, Allison? Your time? That’s what this was about? Not, say, about those two people having their needs met?

It sent me reeling, reevaluating my motives. Am I doing good things because it feels good to do them, or am I doing good things because it is good to do them? Then WHAM, like a ton of bricks it hits me. It’s not about you. Your task is to be obedient, not to be successful. The glory is God’s.

Self-serving altruism is no altruism at all.

It’s hard, isn’t it? This dance of giving and doing without taking credit? I think I stink at it sometimes (and clearly my heart isn’t always in the right place, evidenced this week). So let’s keep working on it. I sure need the practice.

So next week I think I will switch it up. What I commit to do to make a difference in someone’s day will be anonymous. Sure, I will be sharing it here, but my blogging about these things is for the purpose of 1) keeping myself accountable to step out and serve others throughout my week 2) encouraging others to do the same 3) encouraging others to encourage still others by talking about acts of kindness with their friends and readers (who are hopefully friends they haven’t met yet). Hopefully this will help keep my heart in check. Join me?

:: :: :: :: :: ::

Did you step out and do a friendly act this week? I would love to read about it. Please link up here. Only rules are 1) that you link to the post about your act of kindness, not just to your main blog url, that way if people are surfing through in the future, they’ll still find your post. Then, 2) within your post, link back to this post so that others can come join in the giving and the sharing and the love.

(Any links that don’t follow the rulesies will be deleted. Capiche?) 

So? Go ahead! Warm fuzzies all around! Link up below:

8 Responses to “friendly friday: a {gentle} slap in the face”

  1. sidnie

    O, Allison.
    There you go.
    Bringing me back down to earth.

    Humbled, my dear.
    And so thankful we are so loved by the One who is so good at loving.

  2. Kristy

    Oh Allison, I can totally feel your pain in that situation. I sometimes feel the let down of not feeling appreicated when I do good things for others. I many times have to think about my true intentions. I love how brutally honest you are about your feelings. You really do make me think.

  3. Elaine D.

    I learned a lesson too…but through my husband. I had packed him a nice ham and tomato with a bit of mayo sandwhich on fresh hoagie bread ( he loves it). He went off to school since he’s also a student. He callse me 20mins later saying,”HOney, there’s a homeless lady outside Target and I know you worked hard making lunch for me but can I give her my sandwhich.” I say…”Baby, I don’t want you to be hungry. I’m sure God will provide for her.”
    Well, it turned out when he went to his class they had food…a lot of food and he didn’t end up eating the sandwich. He went back that way to look for the lady after and she was gone. He came back with the sandwich, which I promptly rescued from his bag and put it in the fridge. It stayed # days in there before throwing it away (sigh)
    Dear God, I’m sorry.
    I need to work on my giving…and trusting God to provide. This was an opportunity for him to show kindness to someone else and I blew it. Grace abounds….sorry Lord…Again…

  4. shelley

    What a wonderful post. Ugh, it’s it so discouraging sometimes to realize how sinful we are at heart…it’s so hard to truly do something with pure motives.

  5. Tera

    Oh Allison. So true that it’s not about OUR sucess or failure–we are just called to be obedient (maybe *just* isn’t quite the right word, because it’s not all that easy, being obedient). I didn’t blog about my skittle adventure last week (maybe I should), but I had a horrible time figuring out how to deliver them. My first instinct is to do my serving and giving in secret, always. Mostly because I’m an introvert–I hate calling attention to myself, and I don’t think I could bear the awkwardness you mentioned experiencing in your first two posts. But I was thinking, friendly fridays is more about forming community, being a friend. And it’s hard to be a friend anonymously. I really, really agonized about it, and finally decided that if the person I was serving was there, I would serve her publicly. If not, I would serve her anonymously…in any case, I need to do the opposite of you this week. I need to serve someone who knows I’m serving her.

  6. anna

    One snowy day, we bought a meal and coffee for someone standing with a sign on a busy street corner. When we got back to him, he was gone. And the emotions I had were so similar to the ones you described… It is a good thing to get those gentle slaps, isn’t it?


Leave a Reply to Elaine D.

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>