A friend texted to ask if I could walk the dog for her and her husband as soon as my company left.
I took a couple meals and dessert to share with them and visited for a while. They thought I was doing them a favor, but I think they were doing a favor for me.
That’s what being asked to help feels like when life is done well together. Not only did I get to help them and go for a much-needed walk after eating quite a bit that day, but I also got to watch the excitement of their dog as she leaped over leftover snow and avoided unidentified shapes and shadows on the ground.
Along the route, I saw many vehicles arriving and leaving gatherings with families and friends. I saw people loading and unloading vehicles. I smelled wonderful meals cooking. And I prayed. I’d had my own gathering that day and was basking in the joy of it. Yet I know not every gathering goes well. Our get-togethers are different because we have various traditions and expectations. Everyone is going through transitions. Some gatherings were missing someone for one reason or another. Some were interrupted. Some celebrated great news. Some involved hurt feelings and disappointments. Others were infused with joy. In most cases, people walked away with very different experiences even though they shared the same time and space.
I didn’t know the details, but I still prayed—however God prompted me with each vehicle and person I saw.
My heart was sad, excited, hurt, joyful, and confused along the way. Because, perhaps, that’s what others were feeling.
Despite each person’s experience, I was thankful people were gathering together. I looked at houses with a single light and prayed for people who might not have a place where they belong or people who care or know them well.
I had a wonderful day filled with people I love, but part of what made it wonderful was the added context of considering others’ gatherings and the community in which I live. I not only got to make memories with family and visit friends but also got to pray for many others I might never meet.