Saturday, October 1, 2011

God. with skin on.

I was at a gathering once (not church) where someone shared about a difficult experience that was recent, wrenching, and very fresh.  He said at the end, "I guess I just need God ... with skin on."  And he hung his head, ashamed at the tears that stung his eyes.  Immediately, one or two people closest to him went over to him and hugged him as he broke down and sobbed.  With it came the realization that this is truly the physical manifestation of the presence of God - and his healing could begin.  

God.  With skin on.  That statement has stuck with me as being a perfect description that breaks past the platitudes of "Yeah God loves ya and we love ya too", puts its shoes on, rolls up its sleeves, and actually means something.  

Sometimes the load is too much for one person to carry.  Sometimes there's so much stuff that folks just feel overwhelmed ... and someone comes along and just lends a hand for a while to help them.  Even if it costs.  Even if it hurts.  

The trick is in knowing when helping is a response to the white knight syndrome or actually backing up statements of love.  Motivation is key.  

About a week ago, I put out a request - using two different avenues - for some help for a friend (who's recovering from a couple of fractures to the back and ribs) who needed help moving into an apartment.  No response. Nada. Even though some of those same people had promised two weeks previous that if there was anything they could do, just let them know.  Hm.  

Finally, last night, after an unforeseen delay of 3 hours, the moment came and ... nobody showed up.  We got a frantic call from my friend at suppertime, telling us the situation.  I sent out a final, urgent plea for assistance before we went out the door to help them, gave the address.  Nobody came.  

(note - dated Sunday, Oct 2 :  discovered that those people didn't get the notes I sent - if at all - until 10:30 p.m. Saturday night, a full 24 hours after we finished moving the last box into our friends' apartment...partly because some were trying to stay away from facebook and partly because I only sent an email to the church and no courtesy copies to the pastors.  My bad!!!)

You can bet that she and her spouse (and we) were disappointed at the time.  We helped them ourselves; the children volunteered too - and even at that, it took way longer than it should have, and caused more pain and exhaustion for all the participants, because it was extremely physically demanding. My friend ignored my warnings to not go up and down those stairs carrying anything more than pillows and other light-weight stuff.  Stairs nearly kill me, so after several trips carrying boxes, bags and assorted containers up those stairs and feeling like I was going to have a heart attack, I decided to keep her occupied in the apartment.  

She and I busied ourselves re-arranging the smaller items / boxes coming into the apartment, making paths for people to carry the large and/or heavy belongings into the general area where they would eventually rest.  Her hubby and mine worked like Trojans - and so did our kids. My hubby is 59 and has high blood pressure - by the end of the third hour he was sweating profusely, nauseous, seeing black spots before his eyes, and having chest pain (said his lungs were on fire).  But he pushed through.  There was nobody else to help, and the truck rental company was waiting for its vehicle; as it was, the truck got taken back over four hours after the deadline. It took all of us, sore, exhausted and sweaty, nearly 5 hours to completely unload the 5-ton truck and get the contents up three flights of stairs.

I guess we are "nobody", according to the little story I heard once.  

Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody were members of a group.
 There was an important job to do and Everybody was asked to do it.
 Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.
 Anybody would have done it, but Nobody did it.
 Somebody got angry because it was Everybody’s job.
 Everybody thought Anybody would do it, but Nobody realized that Anybody wouldn’t do it.
 It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody, when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

It might have been nice for God to have shown up.  With skin on.  

Or - perhaps He did.

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