I gave this ride a week ago and I have spent the whole week trying to grasp how I might write about her in three or four paragraphs. I had just dropped off a delightful woman with the thickest Boston accent I have ever heard. Living 30 years in Colorado had not influenced her diction or her undying love of Tom Brady. I dropped her off at the huge Amazon warehouse up north.
The next ride took me to the industrial section north of I-70. I drove to the back an apartment complex with very confusing directions ( I suspect Siri sometimes makes things up). I parked on one end of a big parking lot. I saw a young woman in pajamas, carrying a pillow and gym bag coming towards my car. My first thought was “Looks like she had a rough night”. She got in my back seat and I thought I noticed a plastic tube at her collar.
The small talk began. I admit I was confused- the pj’s and all. “Where are you headed”? I inquired. “To dialysis… I wonder why I even keep going”. The judgmental devil that sits on one of my shoulders was banished for that moment. She could not have been 30 years old. I knew whatever came out my mouth next better be from a place of compassion. “Are you a candidate for a transplant”? “I had one about 14 years ago. It gave out recently. I have no kidney”. She then asked me about my Lyft driving. “What did you do before this”? “I am also a pastor”. There was a noticeable silence. “Can I ask you a question and you not get mad at me”? The question itself shook my soul. I measured my words. “You can ask me anything, I would be honored to try to answer”. I sensed what was coming. “Why does God let things like this happen to people”?
“Star, and I don’t speak for God, but I know this, I absolutely believe in free will. If there’s going to be free will, which is necessary for anything like real love, there’s going to be both brokenness and healing, otherwise we are just living out our parts in some cosmic pre-programmed video game to a very cruel audience—‘sh## happens… so does grace’ ”. “I was born with 1/4 of one good kidney. All I do now is go to dialysis every other day, go home and sleep. I am not even sure why I am alive”. “Were you ever able to go to college”? “I went for 27 days… it was too hard on my body”. We talked some more. She was a gift. “They are evaluating my situation right now, I guess I will keep going”. “Star, today you are my hero. This I know – you are loved and adored by God”. She gathered her things and got out and thanked me.
A few minutes later the app showed “CONGRATULATIONS You got a $5 Tip”. It might be the most generous tip I have ever received.
Onward and Upward