Monday, January 24, 2011

Angels and Contemplation from Country

"Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it." Hebrews 13:2.
This verse is so incredible to me. Like seriously and completely incredible. As a girl and especially as Shelby McKenzie, I have always analyzed situations and people and have always asked the infamous "What ifs?" and "I wonders."For example, in junior high, I would constantly wonder who my prom date would be in high school (funny thing is, my first prom date would be the guy I was currently "dating"- which means who you smiled at and waved to from your locker and who you definitely talked on your HOME phone to or if you were lucky your cell phone- in junior high). So precious right? Then some days after I had probably watched The Notebook or Father of the Bride (I mean her last name becomes MCKENZIE for crying out loud) a few too many times, I would wonder if I knew my husband or had ever seen him before. I am quite sure however he was not roaming the halls of good old BHS, but life could throw that massive curve balls someday. Back to the point, then there's always been the chilling question of what if I have seen an angel before? Although to some people that seems radical and extreme, the verse above suggests it might be possible. I am not sure in what dynamic or experience that verse means or encompasses, but it is neat to think that it is truly possible.
So what do I think of when I think of this verse? Yes, my name is Shelby McKenzie, so my mind goes to country music and a particular song at that. "What if She's An Angel?" You might write it off as a cheesy country song, but have you ever really contemplated the lyrics?
"What if she's an angel sent here from Heaven, and she's making certain that you're doing your best to take the time to help one another, brother are you going to pass that test?"
Once again, the suggestion to show hospitality to all who you encounter on a daily basis. The verse and the song above both always just hit a certain spot in my heart and mind. I just want to know if I have ever "entertained an angel," and if I did, did I "pass that test?" In the hustle and bustle of this crazy world and life, I know there are countless days when if I did encounter a stranger in the middle of my "so important schedule and tasks" I honestly probably wouldn't pass that test. It really does make you stop and think about how you treat the people who weave their way into one day of your life and people that you may never see again. How did you impact them, or did you even take the time to recognize them?
Once again, you are going to read the following and say I am being extremely cheesy or just totally off my rocker, but I can't help but WONDER. This past summer, I was taking classes in Oxford, and one afternoon I went with a friend to Kroger and had to wait in the car with the puppy we had just adopted from the animal shelter (yes we became foster parents to a dog- didn't even know that was possible) as she ran inside. As I was sitting in the car, this old lady came out of the store carrying a TON of grocery bags to the car beside ours. Now, we were parked right outside of the entrance, but this lady looked like she had seen quite a few decades of life and like she was about to literally break in half. The next thing I know, I am opening the car door, getting the dog situated in the seat, and then approaching this elderly lady and asking her if she needed help with her bags. It took her a second to consent- I think she thought she was fully capable of carrying twice her body weight in bags- but she finally handed me the bags as I loaded them into her car. I don't say this to toot my own horn because I was most likely searching for a way to get away from the overly-hyper dog for a few minutes, but I say this because of the woman's reaction. When I put the last bag in her car and shut the door, she smiled at me as she turned her head to the side and said, "Well, you got your brownie points today didn't you?" Something about what she said and the way she said it stuck with me. I am not suggesting that this old lady was an angel and hid her wings underneath her little-old-lady sweaters, but there's always the "What if."
Maybe that's how we should approach people in life and how we should interact with the people we encounter throughout our daily routines. Maybe, just maybe, we should act as if everyone we encounter is an angel. We should prove to everyone that we are capable of taking the time to help others. We should prove that we are capable of putting others before ourselves. We should prove we can set aside our busy schedules, pride, time, resources, etc. etc. and "pass that test."
Because at the end of the day, what if he/she was an angel?
And at the end of the day, can you look back with a smile on your face and a servant heart and say I passed that test?

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