Thursday, January 11, 2007
I was in my usual in the car hurry this morning on the way to the office when I spied a big, black SUV sitting in the curb lane. The no parking lane. The lane I use. The light I was approaching turned red and I stopped and glared at the back end of the SUV, brake lights gleaming a half a block ahead. Just sitting there. What a doofus, I thought. Now, I'll either have to race ahead of the guy next to me and get in front of him or creep through the light, wait for the line of cars on my right to pass me and then fall in behind them and probably not make it through the lights. One nice thing about downtown Indianapolis is that the lights are synchronized. If you make one, you make them all. One bad thing about downtown Indianapolis is that the lights are synchronized. If you miss one, you miss them all. Sitting there I got more and more upset with this person who was blocking my way -- my important way -- down the street.
Then just as the light changed, the big, black evil SUV took a hard right across all four lanes of traffic and pulled into a parking spot. A man climbed out of the driver's side and bounded up the steps of St. Mary Catholic Church where he stood in front of the church's statue of Jesus. He reached up and began touching its face, its hair, the folds of the robe. My anger drained. Embarrased, I turned at the light heading for my parking lot. I looked in the rearview mirror. The man was still standing there, touching, caressing Jesus. I felt like a fool. I also felt humbled. I rush by that statue everyday. Sometimes I see it; sometimes not. But here was a man who stopped just to touch Jesus. I don't know his story. Perhaps he just wanted to see how the sculptor had formed the statue. But something tells me he had some deeper reason for stopping for that touch.
As I turned into the parking lot, I was reminded of the biblical story of the woman who was ill and felt she would be healed if she could just touch the hem of Jesus' robe. And that touch did heal her. Perhaps this man needed some healing -- a cure that came from a caress. I need that, too. A healing from my need to hurry. A cure for conditions that nobody but Jesus knows. A touch. It seems so simple and yet so hard to remember. Thank you, Mr. Big Black SUV for teaching me today.