By Connie Martin
The writer Anne Lamott relates this in her book Traveling Mercies: “I was remembering an old story the other day about a man getting drunk in a bar in Alaska. He’s telling the bartender how he recently lost any faith he had after his twin-engine plane crashed in the tundra. ‘Yeah,’ he says bitterly, ‘I lay there in the wreckage, hour after hour, nearly frozen to death, crying out for God to save me, praying for help with every ounce of my being, but he didn’t raise a finger to help. So I’m done with that whole charade.’ ‘But,’ says the bartender, squinting an eye at him, ‘you’re here. You were saved.’ ‘Yeah, that’s right,’ says the man. ‘Because finally some goddamn Eskimo came along…’”
Lamott used this story to illustrate how we sometimes miss recognizing God’s hand in our deliverance from a difficult or even life-threatening situation. But I also try to remember that sometimes I’m waiting for the Eskimo; sometimes I am the Eskimo.
A couple of winters ago I drove to a friend’s house to return something I’d borrowed. Her husband is crippled by a progressive, debilitating illness. Their car was running in the driveway and she was struggling to clear several inches of newly-fallen snow to get the car out and take her husband to a doctor’s appointment. I asked her if she had another shovel; she said no, so I sent her back in the house to gather up her husband, took her shovel and started shoveling for all I was worth. I was grateful to have been “sent” when my friends needed me.
Another friend told me a story about an acquaintance moving to her town. The woman was pregnant and dealing with a move, a new job, and a new home. My friend thought, “Gee, someone should introduce her to people and give her a baby shower…wait…that someone would be me!”
Prayer: Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? Help me to see the need. Help me to fill the need.
Connie is a long-time member of Linden Hills UCC.