Sunday, May 27, 2018

Finding God in McDonald's

Today I found myself driving to a church far from home and pondering God's location. "Where is God?" I mean, I know and believe in God. For me, that is not a question. But where He is...that I'm not always so sure of. There have been times in my life when I've known, without a shadow of a doubt, that God is there and with me and working in my life or the lives of those around me. There are also times when it has not been so clear as to where He is. I expect to find him in the "appropriate" places, church, my children, hugs, midnight snuggles, an answered prayer, but what to do when you don't feel Him at church, or you have a hard day with the kids or the midnight snuggles are replaced with a little one with a stomach bug, the unanswered prayer?

Today, of all places, I found myself recognizing God in the weathered looking man at McDonald's. On the two and a half hour trek to my parents old church one of my two oldest children needed to go to the bathroom so I began to look for the nearest McDonald' doubt they were also hungry and there I could kill two birds with one stone. Once found, as we parked and exited the car my son expressed concern that he didn't want to go in. "Why?" I asked. "Because we are all dressed up and I don't want anyone to feel bad if they aren't going to church." (Those of you that know my kids know my son said that:) I brushed his fears off and said it would be fine. So after going to the bathroom I was trying to get them to make a decision about what they wanted to eat and as I got impatient with their indecisiveness...biscuit or McGriddle..."Which one has cheese?" "They both do." What's a McGriddle mom?", "I have no idea...?!?" This weathered man comes up to me that I'd noticed sitting at one of the tables near the bathroom. (You know I scope the entire place out every time we go into any place and the kids need to go to the bathroom. I assess every person going in and out of the bathroom. Do they look like a murderer or rapist? Do I hear any commotion from the bathroom? Does that person look suspicious? I almost literally hold my breath and count the seconds till my son emerges unharmed. Do all mom's do this???) Anyway, I assumed this tired, leather tanned skin man was going to ask me for money and as my judgment and guard went up and as I tried to remember if I even had any cash left in my wallet he said,

Man: "Hi. I'm homeless and I don't get out much but I can see that you all are going to church right?"
Me: "Yes, we are." (now surprised and curious, also realizing my son is probably glaring at me thinking, "mom, I told you so!")
Man: "Well, I wanted to give you this money to put in the offering. I don't get to go to church these days, but it would mean a lot if you could take it to your church for me"
Me: "Of course. We'll be happy to do that." (jaw dropping in mind, my heart warmed, dumbfounded)

As I finally purchased their meals and we all walked out yet another man, probably my dad's age, much less weathered and also dressed for church, escorted us to the car saying he would help me back out because he'd seen a lot of accidents in their narrow parking lot and didn't want that to happen to us. I thanked him and as we safely exited the parking lot and returned to the highway I thought. Here I am, here I've been, expecting, almost demanding, that God be where I expect Him to be, where I want Him to be, and there He is, at McDonald's. This sweet man, who I judged in a split second, was giving me money, and not just one dollar but a few, to take to our church and give to God.

They say in Orthodoxy that the church IS the body of Christ...the people that make up the church, your friends, family (if you are lucky), but, in McDonald's, God reminded me that He is not just at church. He is all around. In the most unlikely of places. In the people I stereotype in my fallen way. He is where we need Him to be, not necessarily where we want Him to be or demand Him to be. Today God showed Himself to me in the small quiet deed of this man. I have no idea of this mans past, his life, his religious beliefs, political beliefs, if he's a parent or not, but for that moment he taught me a lesson that I had forgotten. God is all around, quite literally, and when I am caught up in life, even if I am not looking for Him in the "expected" place, He can stop me and remind me that He is all around.

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