It's almost 3:15 a.m. I'm having one of "those" nights. Sleep came easy when I went to bed, but my brain is awake and my hands are hurting, and I have a meeting in less than six hours.
The hands? No big deal. Just lots of little scratches from the one-on-one I had with the Christmas tree yesterday afternoon. It's an artificial tree (only 2 years old), and should have been a piece of cake to put back into its box for its 10.5 month hibernation. It decided, however, to be jackass-stubborn. I couldn't separate the middle and bottom sections. I worked a long time on it myself. When Lyn got home, she and I tugged and pulled and fussed over it. (Video of that would have been quite entertaining, I'm sure.) Then I went next door to conscript the help of a big, burly neighbor guy. He and I together couldn't make anything happen either--even after 10-15 minutes of tug-o-war with the tree.
The bottom line: the tree won the battle, but I won the war. It's in the dumpster as I type. Its "hibernation" will be a little more exotic this year!
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. My insomnia.
As I said earlier, in addition to my battle-scarred hands, my wide-awake brain took me from my bed and down the stairs to the computer.
I was thinking about a lady I met on the street New Years Eve. It wasn't on Times Square for the ball drop--it was on Restaurant Row NEAR Times Square where Lyn and I had dinner a few hours before midnight. As we were approaching our restaurant-of-choice, I heard a little voice call out. It was an African-American woman, standing on the opposite side of the street, wrapped in an old blanket, trying to cope with the very cold night.
I walked over to her and was struck by her simple beauty. Wrapped up in the blanket like she was, she looked rather majestic--certainly not like the stereotypical "homeless person" that comes to mind. I didn't have much cash on me...a $5 bill and a few ones. I gave her the $5 and kept the ones for a tip I figured I might need to give someone before the night was over. (I should have just emptied my wallet for her, but "strategy-mind" trumped "compassion-mind.")
She was so appreciative of my little hand-out. We chatted a few moments. Restaurant Row is on 46th St. She said she usually stayed up around 100-something. I couldn't help wondering what had brought her so far from her normal area...I assumed it was the New Years Eve throngs.
She seemed a bit familiar to me, for some reason. Maybe it was my mind playing tricks on me, but she reminded me a lot of a homeless woman I'd seen the day before. That woman was lying on a cold street, too miserable to even call out to the people who passed by. I noticed her, but walked by, giving only a glance in my haste. But the image of her lying there stayed with me. I felt really badly about not giving her anything that day. Especially after meeting her Doppelganger the next evening!
I couldn't help but wonder if the two women might really have been the same person. In fact, part of me wondered if she was really a "person" at all, but really someone placed there just for me. I know that notion is probably from all those Hallmark shows I watched before Christmas, but whether or not she was an angel, she certainly fulfilled the role of one: a messenger. They/she spoke volumes to me, even though I only conversed with the second.
THEN, in his wonderful message Sunday, Dan (our outreach/missions pastor) spoke about daring to do more for God in 2009. I once again thought of my Angel Lady in New York. Is God laying this on my heart?
My meeting this morning is about establishing a more organized system of volunteer visitation of the sick and shut-ins of our church. My small group is really passionate about taking this on for an in-church ministry. At the same time, we are wanting to become involved at some level with the Orange County Rescue Mission, an organization that works among the poor and disenfranchised of the affluent OC.
I don't know if my New Years "Angel" was human or heavenly, but I think her presence on that street was Providential to my 2009.
Isn't it ironic that today is January 6--a.k.a. The Day of Epiphany?