Yesterday around noon my car got bumped in the grocery store parking by a woman driving a spiffy and huge SUV – she was distraught. (Perhaps a cell phone conversation had diverted her?) But, miraculously no damage was done to my 19 years old buggy!
Last night, heading to a local eatery to join a friend, I nearly collided with a skateboarder. Stopped at a red light on the 4-lane road in front of SMU, McFarlin and Hillcrest, I began to accelerate when the light turned green. Suddenly the flash of a young man crouched and moving at top speed on a skateboard zoomed in front of me. The mercy was I could brake, and so could the driver on my right as the kid sailed past them. He navigated the curb and was gone.
Angels, those unseen messengers of God who serve Him, also serve man. Scripture says God sets His angels over me – and I think they were also guarding a flustered woman and irresponsible youngster. I am still shaking thinking about what might have been on either occasion – property loss, and perhaps mortal injury. I wonder if in heaven I will see the kindness of God to me reflected in the battle scars His angelic servants sustained keeping me -- and so many others -- from harm.
He ordered his angels to guard youwherever you go.If you stumble, they'll catch you;their job is to keep you from falling.(Ps 91:11-12 from THE MESSAGE.)
It is a great blessing to breathe freely, if only just for today. While I enjoy a wide space tonight, many millions – perhaps including the two folks whose lives nearly intersected mine tragically -- do not enjoy such a wide space, a place free from harm and chaos.
Today a friend introduced me to a poem by Dietrich Bonheoffer -- a man who did not escape suffering, harm or chaos. Shortly before he died – a humiliating hanging by the Nazis, weeks before Germany fell to the allies -- Bonheoffer wrote this:
Who am I? They often tell meI stepped from my cell’s confinementCalmly, cheerfully, firmly,Like a squire from his country-house.
Who am I? They often tell meI used to speak to my wardersFreely and friendly and clearly,As though it were mine to command.
Who am I? They also tell meI bore the days of misfortuneEqually, smilingly, proudly,Like one accustomed to win.
Am I then really all that which other men tell of?Or am I only what I myself know of myself?Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,Struggling for breath, as though hands werecompressing my throat,Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,Tossing in expectation of great events,Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?
Who am I? This or the other?Am I one person today and tomorrow another?Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?Or is something within me still like a beaten army,Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am Thine!
See the following for a glimpse into his life -- Bonhoeffer:Who Am I?