“Trifles make the sum of life.” – David Copperfield
I almost didn’t turn around. I was about to enter the infamous “canyon road” (Rt. 191) that follows the Gallatin River and would take me home to Big Sky from Bozeman, and where I would lose cell reception. I was already at least 20 minutes and quite a few miles from his apartment in town. I almost just kept driving. Usually, I would have. “He’ll be fine…it’s too late now…I’m too far away to bother turning around…I’ll see him again soon…it’s not worth it…” Unfortunately, these were my first thoughts, my initial reactions. But this time, I didn’t let them win. I pulled over and turned around, heading back to town to buy my extremely sick friend gatorade and granola bars. According to his texts, he could barely move from the couch and had absolutely no energy, having been very sick for over a week. And he had somehow bitten his lip in his sleep the night before, covering his bedding and much of his face in blood.
So, after receiving his somewhat desperate text, I turned around and drove back, stopping at a grocery store to buy three gatorades and some granola bars, then making my way to his apartment. I walked up the stairs, opened the door, and found him on a futon under a blanket and wearing his jacket. I did a double take. “Geez, it looks like you’ve been in a fight,” I said when I first saw him. Blood was caked around his teeth and lips, and on other parts of his face. He looked pretty sick and beat up. “If you need anything else, just let me know,” I said as we started speaking.
“Well, just stay here and talk to me. I’ve barely had any social interaction at all recently,” he replied. So, we sat and spoke for about 15 minutes before I had to leave and go back to Big Sky. “You’re the f***ing man,” he said in gratitude. It was the best thanks I could have received.
By nature, I’m selfish – with my time, my car, my gas, my money, my things. I’m stingy. I don’t like to be inconvenienced. As ashamed as I am to admit it, I don’t always go out of my way to help others if it’s a hassle for me to do so. For some it may come naturally; for me, it usually doesn’t. Sure, if it doesn’t cost me a whole lot, I can be serving, sacrificial, helpful and giving. But if it requires something of me, it can be difficult to “do the right thing” in a given situation.
In this situation, the “right thing” involved turning my car around and driving all the way back to where I had just come from to buy a sick friend some gatorade and granola bars and drop it off at his apartment. The thing is, this is a friend I’ve been praying for. He doesn’t know and has little to no desire to know God and wants nothing to do with religion. That very morning I had prayed, “God, give me opportunities to be Jesus in his life. Show me how to be Jesus to him.” And, well, as I was driving, an opportunity presented itself. It was so small, so insignificant, but aren’t these the small decisions and actions of which life consists? Who knows what impact it had or what door it opened. Maybe none. But maybe it brings my friend one step closer to Jesus. And even if he never chooses to follow Jesus, I can know that I was a true friend without an agenda, just attempting to do the right thing in a specific moment.
For some people, the decision might have been a no brainer, not having even a second thought about turning around. But for me, it was something; it was a little victory. It wasn’t “natural,” in that initial moment of decision, it wasn’t what I “felt” like doing or even “wanted” to do. But then, after making up my mind, I thanked God for the opportunity to bless someone, for a small answer to my own prayers spoken that very morning. In some small way, I could be Jesus to someone who doesn’t know him. I’m glad I turned around. I hope that next time, I can do the same thing.