With only a few hours left in Texas, I made the decision to drive into Dallas early to beat traffic into the airport. I'd been staying with family about an hour out of the city and since I had a little time to kill, I was told that I'd enjoy the area of Deep Ellum, which has a large body of graffiti work adorning the walls in the neighborhood. Traffic getting into the city was easy and I ended up with a few hours and a beautiful day to spend outside.
The streets were indeed lined with beautiful artwork, cobblestone, and rustic buildings that had the feeling of impending gentrification, but raw beauty still. As I pulled parallel into a parking space and got out to pay the parking meter, a few coins jingled in my pocket that I pulled out. 2 quarters and a nickel later and I was good for 66 minutes. Leaving the meter, a man approached me and told me that I didn't need to pay until after 7 PM. By this point, my change was already taken and I joked with him that the government was going to get a few more pennies from me today. He laughed and that could have been the end of it, but for whatever reason, something from church yesterday popped into my head.
And with that, I asked the man his name.
Here's where the message yesterday really started to bore deep into my soul. I answered him, yes. But beyond just giving him money, I wanted to walk with him. I had an extra hour at least and I realized at that moment, that I wasn't there for the graffiti. God puts us in places, like divine appointments. This is new to me. I'm realizing that in every moment of my day, I am given opportunities. I talked last week about not complaining and how these posts are reminders to myself at times, because I need notes and subtle hints that in order to make changes, I have to do things differently. I'm going to guess that for years, God has been putting me in places, but I haven't always taken advantage of the opportunity, or in reality, I just plain missed the chance. My often moody and detrimental attitude has probably lost me a lot of friends and missed chances to be something, literally ANYTHING to someone.
You could say that I was in Deep Ellum, TX today, because Larry needed me today, but that isn't fully correct. I was here, in this place, because God needed me to be here, to take advantage of an appointment He'd set up for me. It was up to me to make it or miss it. Because I made it, I had a chance to listen to the story of a man who told me all about his disability, the loss of his wife in her sleep 4 years ago, his denial for state disability, and how difficult it is to live homeless in Dallas. I met a man who had every right to be upset and to curse the world for his losses, but what he showed me was that in everything, we give thanks. His ability to teach me something about attitude is something that I won't ever forget.
So, I listened. For an hour, we walked, we talked, he ate, and I prayed with him. On the streets of downtown Dallas, we prayed together. Yesterday, I had no voice. The final thought of our church service was a quote that went like this:
12 hours ago, I couldn't use my voice and I was beaten. Today, a new day, with a whole new set of opportunities, and I had my voice back, most likely, so that I could pray with this man and be something in that moment. All I want, is to not miss appointments anymore. #UntilWeMeetAgainProject. Day 44. Larry.