For Christmas two of my best friends and I took off to Florida for Christmas holiday to escape the below freezing temperatures of the East Coast. we came thinking we were just three wise women, with sense enough to de-stress. We came to do nothing, to be nothing, with no- To Do List. But we soon found not only did we have a Uber ministry but we encountered both blessings and the bizarre.
Usually if I go to an all-you-can-eat restaurant I rush in and out but having time to observe I was amazed at how people rip off these kinds of restaurants even on Christmas. I saw an elderly woman proudly stacking all the corn muffins she was swiping in a bag to take home, while complaining she had to pay for the chili. Another grey-haired lady walked out of the restaurant with her coat so stuffed with cookies and cakes that she looked pregnant.
At our hotel, breakfast was included, but a woman showed up with a big box of Frosted Flakes, I guess in case the hotel did not provide them . Another guest brought in a shopping bag and filled it with eggs, bananas, waffles, yogurt like he was feeding an entire floor.
Also at our hotel, one night we met a barefoot woman who told us she was the gardener whose job was to arrange the plants near the pool. We later learned she was a hotel guest who “just thought” she was the gardener.”
We also found we had a surprising Uber ministry.
In our first Uber call, 38-year-old Lillie arrived. After hearing she had three ministers in her car, she quickly said she had reached the point she wanted nothing to do with God. She explained how hate was filling her life and she had good reason for feeling that way. When she was eight years-old, her father was murdered in front of her very eyes. Her own uncle performed the heinous act. And now, she had been a prisoner of hate ever since. But we saw she was also doing good things: She had bought two homes, one for her mother, one for herself and was taking care of her son as a single mother. We encouraged her telling her of how God had performed miracles with the broken pieces of our own lives. We prayed for her. She gave us her phone number, listened intently saying she felt better knowing us before driving away.
Another driver, named Mike, told us how sad he was because his best friend had died over the week-end and he was on the way to the funeral. He showed us his family pictures and revealed to us how he had once wanted to be a medical doctor, but life had robbed him of that dream. We encouraged him, telling him how delayed dreams do not have to be denied and that God is a prayer -answering God. We prayed for him, he listened and he went on our way.
We also noticed that the maid had not cleaned our room the day before Christmas, we complained, but then we saw on Christmas the hotel was short-handed, there was only one middle-aged woman trying to do so much work. So we ended up helping her clean the room and tipping her for the effort. She felt so good about that. We felt good because we could be a blessing to her. When we checked in the hotel manager upgraded our room to a suite with no extra charge. What a great Christmas gift that was
The only Scrooge-like experience we had was when we became so tired of walking along the beach we crossed over, found a bench in front of a building and sat down to call another Uber. We found out it was an apartment building and we explained to the white attendant we were only sitting long enough to call an Uber. No problem, he said. But before we could set up the Uber pick up, a black attendant showed up flashing his badge telling us we had to leave right away. In a hurry, he said. He obviously had a Deputy Dawg complex, acting like he was a big deal on the TV Show Law and Order and we were felons on The FBI Most Wanted List.
But before we made our exit, I took the time to remind him of the Christmas Story, how when Jesus was being born, the hard-hearted inn keepers told his parents, Mary and Joseph, there was no room at the Inn. And if those inn keepers had only known who they were dismissing, however, they would have opened up their hearts and made room for the Savior of the World. So I told him, We are three wise women from the East. We arrived Blessed. We will leave your premises Blessed. For all you know if you had shown us just a little compassion, God might have allowed us to share a great blessing with you, but you turned us away.
We wished him a Merry Christmas and went our way, feeling both the bizarre and the blessings were part of the same Christmas message that God allowed us to experience on such a special Day.