“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
— Luke [11:28]
FINDING GOD IN UNUSUAL PEOPLE
While at Drew University getting my Master’s in Divinity, I noticed an unusual woman named Theresa. I had seen her a few times, sitting alone quietly on a bench. Prior to class we students often milled around the school’s front door and shared our weekly stories. Theresa usually sat waiting on the bench. She was a large woman and sat there quietly ignored by her classmates. After noticing this a few times, I went over and introduced myself and asked her how she was doing. She smiled and after a few brief questions about her life, she opened up. She told me she worked at night in a hospital as a chaplain. By day she went to seminary to get her master’s degree. She also ran a successful business cutting coupons that she used to help others save money. There was sitting on that bench an unusual person, leading a wonderful life.
Previously, She had been destitute and without money, shunned by society because she didn’t fit in. She prayed for help, and she felt that God had shown her how to earn a decent living cutting coupons and splitting the savings with her customers. Over time, she developed a sizeable following and began to earn enough money to dress well, feed herself, and pay for school. At night she sat with the dying in a local hospital, guiding them home. Only when asked would she reveal these magnificent experiences of transition.
“Over time my other classmates began to see the richness of this unusual woman.”
Over time my other classmates began to see the richness of this unusual woman. I frequently ran ideas by her, which helped me with practical insights into theology. We all grew to respect her faithfulness and commitment to God. Just before we graduated, a fellow student, who was an extraordinary artist, created a mural of our classmates that he donated to Drew University. It hangs today in Seminary Hall. At the top of the mural, bathed in light, is this magnificent woman.
“There is a rich person beneath the quiet. Perhaps a blessed person, who can inspire us.”
How many times have we seen that quiet person sitting alone? Why does that person sit alone? What is deep inside him or her that we should know? Perhaps such a person is blessed because he or she knows God. Perhaps that person has a story to tell. In school and in the marketplace we know these people. In each of our lives there is at least one of them. There is a rich person beneath the quiet. Perhaps a blessed person, who can inspire us. Perhaps a person blessed by God. We won’t know unless we ask.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
What is the name of the person we know who sits alone on the bench?
What can we learn?
How can we discover greatness in all that we know?