Meet Jerry. Jerry is in his late 50’s early 60’s. Jerry doesn't smell very nice. Jerry has cute sunburned cheeks and rough dry hands. His unruly hair stands out from underneath his one hat and two toques. He has a British accent, then I hear a bit of Irish mixed in with a touch of Canadian east coast slang, yup he seems to have it all! “I'm from Ontario you see.” He'd say. Jerry has all his possessions in garbage bags piled onto his bike. Jerry is homeless. So how did I meet Jerry? Well let's rewind eight hours to when I was still at work.
I sat at work looking outside watching the wind get stronger and stronger. I checked the Canadian Aviation Weather Web Site and saw that it was only supposed to get windier. I emailed my instructor saying that I didn't want to fly in that amount of wind and cancelled the flight I had booked for that evening. I'm always bummed when I have to cancel a flight. I was going to have a busy evening anyway though because the worship team I'm on was practicing for that Sunday's worship set. When I finished work for the day I went home had supper then went to the practice.
Worship team practice is always something that makes me happy. When you come together to worship with a small group of people that are all there for the same thing it tends to lift ones spirit! We had a great time worshiping, tweaking songs, laughing with each other and talking about random things. It just so happens that my boyfriend Jeffrey is on the team also! *insert cute sigh* :P After we were done the official practice he asked if we could go somewhere on a little date, and where I wanted to go, McDonalds or Tim Hortons. I wouldn't say I'm overly partial to either one but I was hungry and I don't like McDonald's baked treats so I based my choice off of that and Tims it was.
Upon arriving at the Tim Hortons I noticed a man giving a coffee to a man in a shabby coat but didn't pay any mind. In the town where I live we have a lot of farmers and farmers don't need to wear the latest fashion to go to work with oil and dirt and seed so I see a lot of men in shabby outfits walking around and it doesn't mean that they are poor it just means they are practical. The two men had disappeared by the time I had walked into Tims with Jeffrey. We stood in the line up deciding what we wanted, talking to each other when I noticed that man all of a sudden! He was filling up bigger water bottles/jugs with water from a tap in the kitchen part of the store. I just had the overwhelming urge that I needed to talk to him. I looked at him, then looked away. Looked. Looked away. Then I whispered to Jeffrey “I feel like I need to offer him food or something.” Jeffrey looked up and saw the man for the first time, then looked at me and said “sure. Go for it.” But my feet wouldn't move. I seemed to be glued to the floor! So I just looked again. Aaaand looked away. Then I whispered to Jeffrey again, “babe if I don't do this I won't be able to sleep tonight.” Jeffrey looked at me with a little smirk and just motioned with his eyes that I should do it. All of a sudden my feet started taking me towards this man… this man named Jerry.
I asked Jerry if he was hungry and if I could get him something to eat. He smiled at me and said “oh thank you! A ham and cheese sandwich would be great thanks! And a coffee!” So I went back and ordered him the coffee and sandwich. We talked and ate our food… more like Jerry talked and ate, while we listened and ate. As he was talking and we ordered two muffins… and then another sandwich for him to take on the road…. that's when I noticed something -the people around us. As they'd walk by us or standing in line looking at us I noticed one thing, no one smiled. No even offered a smile of encouragement. They all looked at us three sitting there eating at talking as though we are from another planet. It didn't bother me in the least! I didn't care what people thought! But it made me think and wonder how I react when I see strangers helping a stranger. Do I smile and say hi?! Am I a person who shows love without speaking?
Well after I asked Jerry if he knew Jesus and Jerry seemed pretty eager to get back on the road and started walking to where Jeffrey was waiting for the food we had ordered that Jerry could take with him on the road. Jeffrey handed him the sandwich and he started walking away. I kind of ran after him slightly and asked if I could quickly pray for him. So right there in the middle of Tim Hortons I prayed for Jerry asking that Jesus would show Himself throughout Jerry's travels and for safety and revelation of God's love for him. Out of the comer of my eye I saw this middle aged couple unashamedly staring at us the whole time… not smiling…. just staring. 15 dollars worth of food and a prayer later Jerry was gone.
I asked Jerry that in his travels if he had generally had people be nice to him… he said there had been so many kind people to him in traveling. That made me confident that the little I did would be built on in the future days ahead in Jerry's travels.
There's so much more I could tell you about Jerry but that's all for now. So if I had flown earlier that day I probably wouldn't have gone out that evening because flight lessons always make me really tired and they drain my bank account. And if I had decided that I wanted a vanilla chai frappe then I wouldn't have been at Tim’s. If practice had gone as long as it normally does then I would've missed Jerry. God obviously had his hand in the appointment and I love looking back and being able to see that!
God bless you Jerry! And if any of you west of Winnipeg across Canada see a man with a huge garbage bag on top of his bike and ten little ones hanging off the handle bars stop and say hi! He's a very nice man.
He just laughed, looked at me and said “Regan since when did you care what people think?!”
Well, um, since always… since never… I really don’t know.
For everyone there are some people who's opinion mean the world to them, that’s normal and probably necessary. For me it would be my best friends, my parents, and my boyfriend. To me their opinions matter and can change the way I act or feel, but regarding other people's opinions I’m like “I am who I am, if you don’t want this then sorry.” probably not the best attitude but it’s not like I totally blow off other people with it, I am still a nice, caring and tender person (I think). I do care for others but I try not to let them affect my heart. What matters is how Christ works through your life and that is most definitely not going to line up with how the world is going to say you need to act. But keep this in mind “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. “ (Romans 12:2 ESV)
So when is comes to caring what people think and just going ahead knowing it's what you're supposed to do... I think of flying. For me flying was something really no one did and it's just super cool to say you're a pilot! (Not to mention the amount of time and hard work that goes into being able to say that you are a pilot) Well I was so excited to become a pilot! I couldn't wait to tell people that I had signed up and was in flight classes! But to my shock not everyone responded as happy or encouraging as I thought they would. I get being afraid of flying, I've been there and I know what it's like to be afraid of heights, (I’m ironically terrified of heights), and yes I know about all the airplane crashes and the hundreds of people that have died in them, and that breaks my heart, but quite honestly I choose to look at the thrill that flying brings! The smile I always get doing a spiral dive! The amazing view I get of God's wonderful creation! What kind of life is it when you always focus on the negative or the “what if” when you can enjoy what is now and think positively! Yes hundreds of people have died from plane crashes but how many people enjoy safe flights daily?! Or how many pilots are there that have lived a good full life and die naturally in old age?! So many! I could go on forever and am obviously practiced at giving this speech haha.
I got some concerns from lots of people but they were all in love and I'm still a pilot… I'm still going because I know God has a plan with this even though I really have no idea what it is!
Learning to ignore what well meaning people say that gets you down is very hard to do. Another example was right after my mom died. I remember one lady stopping me in the street in the small town I live by and saying to me “I am so sorry for your loss. But your poor dad! Now left with four girls! That must be so hard!” That hit me like a ton of bricks! I felt like saying back to her, “oh I'm so sorry for not being a boy because I know that would be so much easier on my dad. Made I'll leave and make his life easier!”, (I didn't say anything) we politely parted ways, but after those words I felt like I shouldn't be alive because my “poor dad” had four hormonal girls now to deal with! Which it is so true that that has been difficult but you don't tell a grieving 15 year old that! I choose to not let it bother me. Chalked it up to experience in what not to say to a grieving child and moved on with life.
There are people though who's opinions matter. I was about 12 and I remember lying to my mom about stealing some cookies from the freezer. Why I didn't realize that moms are smarter than we think... I really don't know. The only reason she asked was because she already knew it was me and wanted me to confess. Well I kept saying I didn't do it and finally my mom told me she knew it was me, or something to that effect. I cringed and hung my head. Then mom said something that will forever be ingrained in my mind and was really good for me to experience, “Regan you have broken my trust that I had in you. It may take a while to gain that back.” I looked at her stunned! Those words ripped my heart in two. I started bawling begging her to trust me again. It sounds overly dramatic, but that's really how it played out! I was so utterly heart broken at the fact that my mom didn't trust me it made my word fall apart! All I wanted to do now was gain that trust back! That was so good for my young self. I cared what my mom thought about me and that made me grow into the person I am now! That is where caring what people think helps! If it moulds you into a better Christ-like person it was constructive, but if it doesn't and it drags you down leave that on the path… don't carry the burden of unnecessary cares.
So two days ago was Mother's Day. There's something in me that has never cared for this day because I know mom didn't like it…. but when you get the sympathetic looks as people hug their moms or walk by then it starts to bother me a little bit that I don't have a mom to give a card and a hug that morning.
I was falling asleep one night and thinking… (because that's where I get most of my thinking done.) I was thinking about how much I love hearing stories about my mom! We had one of mom's best friends and her family over for supper one evening and she had been telling me and my sister stories about mom that really only girls would care about.
I loved that time so much! I didn't want her to stop sharing! I have been known to randomly ask people for stories of my mom or things they remember about her.
A dear woman gave a tribute to my mom on Sunday at church [link at the end], along with a few other tributes to other moms. I started crying as soon as she walked on stage and I didn’t stop until she was done. I walked out of the sanctuary to get some tissues and one of our pastors wives followed me out. She gave me a hug and just told me that she had been praying for us. I was so full of gratitude and love for the family of God Sunday that it brought on another flow of tears! Afterwards people came and just have me hugs or showed me they cared in their own ways… that whole morning really touched my heart in a very special way.
I read a quote on a blog somewhere recently that “time is the “currency” in a relationship”... that meaning that time is the best gift and most valuable thing you can put into a relationship. I loved that! It made me realize that even though I'm incredibly busy with flight school and work that my main priority needs to my relationships first with Jesus Christ and second with my family and friends. One thing I've found difficult is a boyfriend (sorry babe), but I have made mistakes in the past where I put him above everyone else. Once I realized that I tried to make a weekly rule (it didn't always work out but it was more of just a mindset thing); one evening/date a week for the boyfriend, one for girl friends (per girl friend) and the rest for family. Of course sometimes I spend more time with Jeffrey in a week and sometimes it doesn't workout to get together with my friends but it made me feel a lot more productive in giving the needed “currency” to each relationship.
Now how does that tie into Mother's Day you may ask… well let me tell you! I only realized all of this after my mom died. I got a lot of time with mom, but there's still always those times where I think back and know I let a precious moment slip away. I don't beat myself up over it but it makes you realize just how valuable time is. That my friends is why I was crying Sunday morning, I realized how precious those memories are that I have of my mother, how blessed I was to have her for 15 years of my life, how honoured I am to have Lisa Wiebe as my mom and how people respect that name as one of an honourable woman of God, and how much I need the family of God that Jesus has placed in my life for such a time as this.
The sermon with the tribute to my mom click here [the tribute is at 37:30 min]
“... the 12 year old little kids downstairs… you guys need to be an example to them.”, my youth teacher stated confidently, unfortunately he didn’t know that I was 12.
At Portage Evangelical Church you are placed in sunday school classes according to the year you were born not your current age, which makes complete sense. Since I was born at the end of the year I’m one of the last to turn the next age… which is why I was in youth at the age of 12.
That sunday has always stuck in my head. Mainly because “little kid 12 year old” kept going through my head, but also because of what he was teaching on, 1 Timothy 4:12 : ”Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” and was calling us out not to be detoured from doing great things just because we are young. I liked that verse so much, it was humbling yet empowering to think that I was an example to some people and that people may look up to me.
I remember going home and telling my mom about that verse and I made a point to memorize it. Maybe I had sort of the wrong reasons for liking the verse at the time but I know it was a good thing that I memorized it and took it to heart. I still am a pretty quiet girl but when people started asking me to fill positions and help in different things that required leading I wasn’t so quick to say no. I also started taking initiative in group settings and being the one that spoke out.
Now I am by no means saying I’m perfect, or that I always led correctly, or that I am always brave enough to lead… in fact I just the other day I was terrified to lead something. Also sometimes it’s not good to take leadership and I’m still learning that in different areas and situations in life.
Being an example isn’t only leading though, you can be an example in a quiet and silent lifestyle. The woman who has had the biggest impact in my life, other then my mom, has lived a quiet life and shows how she loves by how she serves and listens. That is a beautiful thing too, a very beautiful thing. It is an awesome skill to know the fine balance in the challenge that verse puts forward.