Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Yesterday I heard a fascinating story on an elevator ride down from a doctor's appointment. A man probably in his late forties was smiling very happily and said, "Coming from the maternity floor, huh?" I only said, "Yes." I was in a hurry to get back to the car as my appointment ended up being way late past the time it was scheduled at the gynecologist’s office. With a newborn being cared for by my mom, I knew I needed to get back with feedings and what-not. Besides, I had a million things to get home and take care of before the end of the day. These are all important excuses for keeping to myself, right?

But before I could casually face the front of the elevator signaling that I didn’t have time to talk with the stranger, he began. What he was about to share that morning was exactly what God intended for me to hear. He started with his story:

Oh, I remember those days of being on that floor with my wife giving birth and attending appointments. I am past that now. I was given a 3% chance to live until Christmas. I went in 7 weeks ago for a headache and ended up being rushed into emergency surgery on my brain in Atlanta. They found I had cancer all over my entire body. I am not supposed to be alive still. These are my final days and I just wait.

By now, my tender heart turned towards the man and said, “Well, God is not done with you yet. He is still writing your story.”

He continued, “Yeah, now I go to my appointments and do what I need to do. I never know if today will be my last.”

At that point, the elevator opened and out he flew quickly with a final goodbye. I was left shocked, speechless, and with lots of reflection on the whole incident as I made my way to the car. The attentive girl in me went back to that situation all afternoon over and over in my head. Why didn’t I stop to pray for him? He did have a cross around his neck that I noticed as he left the elevator. But does he know Jesus? Why didn’t I bring it up? Was I so much in a rush, a hurry that I couldn’t even spend more time being a listening ear? Why did the foolish girl in me not think about being more caring as I got on the elevator that day?

I couldn’t stop thinking about this situation and I still haven’t stopped. I wonder if he is alive now or if those were his final moments. I wonder at how he kept his happiness when things seemed so grim other than that he had hope for the things to come. I wonder a lot of things and then it hit me. Maybe that meeting in the elevator was meant more for me than for him. Perhaps, God arranged that meeting to help me grow. He must have meant it for me to realize that I cannot always rush through life. I need to stop and listen to those around me. I need to make it a point to greet others and reach out more to hear their stories.I need to exist in the present time.

Today may be it for us, you and me. We might be in our final days here on earth. We might never live to see tomorrow. We could walk outside and a car could run us over. Or we could pass away in our sleep from a heart attack. We don’t know. God has our days numbered in his book. He knows just how long we have here.

Shouldn’t we be spending it as if it’s our last? Or are we so much in a hurry waiting for tomorrow that we are wishing the day away? Maybe we are waiting for that paycheck to arrive or that vacation to start. Maybe we are waiting for that pregnancy to end or the baby years to get easier. Maybe we are waiting for that day we can take a nap. Whatever it is, stop! We don’t need to wait but to let time exist. Let’s let it exist so we can enjoy the present moments making them our best moments.

The next time we get on an elevator, greet someone passing through the entrance of a store, or exchange eye contact with the person passing us on our walk, let’s take the time to ask them how they are really doing in their life. Let’s stop and listen, even if that means we get back to what we were doing a little late. Let’s pray for that person and with them.

And even more, let’s stop wishing time to pass. It will not be better tomorrow. Whatever we are going through that is difficult or tiring is where we need to be at the moment. Even when our coffee cups run dry and our energy levels are depleted, it’s still good. Even when our heart aches for something or someone, it’s still good. Even when our money is tight, it’s still good. Even when we’ve been hurt by others with their words or we are experiencing real pain, it’s still good. There is no better time than now. Embrace it for what it is and make the most of our current surroundings. It’ll be okay. Just breathe and exist. 

1 comment:

  1. What an incredible story, Carrie. Your reminders to us are right on. I'm usually hurried and distracted like you described. I need that jolt of perspective shift occasionally.