It was a Saturday morning and the U-haul parking lot was full! And so was the store. People were reserving trucks for the day, for the weekend, for the week – A young man, a young couple, and an older couple. Another old man and his grandson were looking at boxes. My husband Fred and I squeezed past them to get the additional boxes we needed for our move in a week. By the time we were ready to check out, many more people had joined the crowd. We got in line.
Suddenly I felt weak and uncomfortable. I left the line and sat on a huge pile of unassembled boxes. The weakness continued. I called to my husband and he turned around. I said, “I think I’m going to pass out.”
He looked at me a bit nervously and then he looked at the line. “Wait a minute.”
I waited and then again called him, “I’m going to pass out.
“Just a minute,” he repeated. And then I went down.
When I “woke up” I was awkwardly positioned on my knees. I looked around totally bewildered. What had just happened? Then the Hispanic owner of the U-Haul business left the counter and went into action. “Go get a chair from the office!” she told her pre-teen daughter. Then she disappeared and soon re-appeared with a Hersey’s candy bar. “Eat this, right now!” she said to me.
By then a crowd had gathered. The old man and his grandson appeared to my left. My husband was on my right. The Hispanic woman was kneeling in front of me. I heard a voice behind me, asking if I could get up. I turned around and saw a tall Asian 20-something man, looking down at me in concern. “Can you get up?” he asked. I said, “I don’t think so.”
Then the daughter returned with the chair. “Get her on the chair,” someone said. Suddenly Fred had my hands and the young man behind me grabbed me under the arms and I was suddenly off the floor and on the chair.
“Are you okay?” the old man asked.
“I will be,” I said, now somewhat embarrassed that all commerce had stopped and everyone was focused on me.
“Eat more of the candy bar, said the business owner. “I’m sure your blood sugar is low. We had an incident with my sister not long ago. She was driving the car and then she couldn’t drive anymore. She managed to pull off the road, but we were really scared. She told us to get some candy out of the glove compartment. That’s how I knew what to do for you.”
She went back to the counter, and the crowd parted to let my husband through so he could pay for our boxes. He went to get the car. Several people helped me to my feet, and the crowd parted again to let us go out the door and to the car. I waved the candy bar and asked the woman how much it cost. She said, “It’s on the house.”
Fred and I have talked often since that incident about how lucky we were that day. But just recently, it occurred to me that we had witnessed the Church in action – or at least what I wish every church would be like. Everyone in that store, young and old, male and female, black, Hispanic, Asian, and white dropped everything they were doing to help a person in distress. Long gone was the frenetic pace and the jockeying for position in line. Everyone was in “how can we help?” mode.
What if churches didn’t have to be concerned with business plans and staffing concerns and “I want my way!” politics and money-raising and competitive positioning in the community? Perhaps we would see more simple groups of disciples of all stripes joining together to do the work of Jesus where they find it.