So, today I had a perfect reminder of one of those wrong/right turns. I had a busy schedule today. We had church service from 9:30-11:00 and then I packed a lunch to eat while I was in route to a Children's Hospital. My best friend is there with her youngest child who is battling a double kidney infection. I had time to stop and get coffee for the exhausted parents, get to the hospital to visit for a little bit, get to a funeral (but miss the visitation), and go the dinner after the funeral. As I pulled into the hospital parking garage my gas light came on, so I made a mental note to leave ten minutes early so I could get gas on my way to the funeral. (This hospital isn't particularly in the best part of town.)
So, I took my friends their much-needed caffeine, chatted for a bit, and the baby woke up just around the time I probably should have left. I stayed to play with her for a few minutes and left about ten minutes later than I should have. It was worth it to hear her laugh for the first time in a few days. I never realized how funny slinkies were.
Now I should add that I've never been to this particular hospital before and my sense of direction has never been one of my best features. So, as I left the hospital room, my friends ask me repeatedly if I know how to get back to my car and/or the highway. I assured them that I could figure it out. Of course, I got lost. I got off the elevator on the first floor and nothing looked very familiar, but surely the first floor is the correct floor to exit the hospital. Right? So, as I wandered the halls trying to not seem lost and glancing at the time on my phone, God placed the perfect reminder for me in this flustered moment.
Obviously I had to take out my camera and snap a picture and hope that no one sees the crazy lost lady taking pictures of children's art in the hallway. The art on the walls is all created by patients of the hospital. So, I started to wonder what made this child make this piece of art? Perhaps she was adopted? I'll never know, but I'll thank God for the opportunity to see it. I love these reminders that we are on the right path for our lives. There was a lot of art on the walls, but this one caught my eye. Thank you God.
As I turned another corner, a kind nurse asked me if I was lost. I guess it was obvious. She was actually heading to the parking garage as well, so she let me tag along. It turns out that I got off on the wrong floor, and the correct floor is actually *G. Go figure.
I found my car, and I also found the highway without incident. As I headed down the highway I decided to get gas in an area I was familiar with. It still is not the best part of town, but I went to college there for three years and I was never once confronted by a homeless person or "questionable" person. I had actually just discussed this with my friends. I had no issue stopping for gas in this part of town.
So, you can guess what happened, right? I got to the gas station, grabbed my credit card, opened the door, and started paying for my gas. When I turned around, there was man standing between me and my open door. He asked for a quarter, which I did not have (on my person anyway). He said he wanted to buy a piece of chicken. Then he asked for a dollar. Then he said that he just got out of the hospital and he was just trying to get to a shelter (there are shelters within walking distance of where we were). He then said that he just needed to eat. "Did you have that dollar?"
Of course I had a dollar, but I know full well that you never pull your wallet out in a situation like that. I did tell him that I had some food in the car and I gave him a box of granola bars. A conversation I had with friends just minutes before flashed through my mind. People have asked if it is scary to be in this part of the city and my friend said, "As long as you don't 'act a fool' you have nothing to be afraid of." Well, I don't think I 'acted a fool' and I think I tried to show the love and compassion that God calls me to show to anyone. As I left the parking lot I said, "God Bless!" Then I watched him approach the next car that pulled up to the gas tanks. I can only pray that something in his life helps to turn it around. It may just be a random stranger who pulls into the gas station.
So my wrong turns in the bad part of town may seem like nothing, but any little moment in a day can change the course of not only that day, but of a life. I thank God for opening my eyes to things that may seem meaningless and opening my heart more than I can imagine on my own.