The following piece has been living on a mostly forgotten Blogger account for awhile now. I thought of it recently and decided to move it here.
I think I may have met God tonight. Not in the “I found Jesus” sort of way, but Jesus may have found me. She walked up when a friend and I were on the corner of 1st Avenue and 3rd Street, debating whether or not we ought to pick up the scrap wood slats we’d found laying on the sidewalk. “To bedbug or not to bedbug?” we asked each other, and of course the prospect of using the strong wood pieces for an insulated rooftop-fort beat any risk imaginable. Just as we were gathering everything in that awkward 10 foot tall Christmas-tree sort of way, a woman walked up with a black four wheeled granny cart labeled “Easy Wheels.” “Put it here Mami,” she insisted, and so we had no choice.
Taken by her kindness and sure that the two of us would manage the wood one way or another, I tried to object and she responded only with direction. “Oh Mami, put it this way, si si si.” Before we knew it we were rolling down the sidewalk, Katie, God, and me. Shoulder to shoulder, Katie balanced the wood sticking vertically out of the cart, it was my job to warn all concerned parties of trepidatious cracks, and God told us about her life.
“I’m on my way to pick up ice and milk from Whole Foods,” she told us. She likes the ice from there apparently, because she has no teeth. How the two factors correlate, I’m unsure, but the heavens don’t always make sense and so I accepted it all as a matter of course. After Whole Foods, God (who by that time had told us that her name is CC) was off to the local bakery to pick up the day’s leftovers and take them to a homeless shelter. CC had been homeless herself for six years, and she didn’t feel like visiting her boyfriend in Brooklyn, so she decided to take on the night with her black Easy Wheels cart and a bike water bottle full of something alcoholic.
“Mami, I worked in a sausage factory for years and I have carpal..you know,” she said, unable to find the word. CC knew struggle, and so she wanted to help us and the homeless because she could. It didn’t matter that we were two white girls who looked like they’d always had everything, we were people she could help, we were both “Mami.”
As we shuffled down the road avoiding potholes and navigating inconsistencies in the cement she would interrupt her life story with a map of the neighborhood through its occupants. “Benjamin and Susan live on that corner over there and my friend Christine lives in that building right over there,” she rattled off in a list. I wondered if these people were her friends or a collection of passerby’s she’d helped. For all I knew they were a few of the people who had prayed to God recently. Whatever the case, I felt like we reached my apartment much too soon.
CC helped us unload the wood pieces and before I could stand up to thank her sincerely she was a half a block away. I must have stood there for minutes, staring at Katie, shocked by her kindness. There was nothing to do or say, and suddenly I panicked. I didn’t give her anything, I’d probably never see her again, and I didn’t even look into her eyes. Still shaking I looked at Katie and broke the silence. “I think we just met God.”
She shifted her weight from one foot another, put her hand on her forehead with her head tilted to the left the way she always does, and said quietly, “God is in everyone.” Or maybe she said that everyone is God.
Either way, no matter what you believe or how you came to believe it, tonight I was reminded of something magical. It’s bigger than I can explain, stronger than I could convey, and simpler than I would have ever imagined. God or no God, fractured or imperfect, each of us is capable of something God-like. Sometimes all it takes is couple blocks and other days we must traverse worlds, but the potential is always there. And somehow, someway, on particularly special nights, all the love in all the world can fit vertically in a black four wheeled granny cart made of wire.
And so I met God tonight. And then she walked away.