Monday, September 7, 2015

I Don't Need Saving

You know what really grinds my gears?
People assuming you need saving…
Especially when you don’t.

Now, cool your tatter-tots and hear me out before a full-fledged sermon comes flying at me. I’m not talking about THAT kind of saving. The kind of saving I’m talking about is when people assume you want to be rescued from conversations with individuals who are mentally disabled.

Yes, I went there.
And I think it’s about time I did, considering how often this seems to happen.

Recently, I was sitting in a local car dealership having some work done to our amazing little car. This is the same car that was a surprise gift to us before we moved to Hamilton, Ontario a few years ago. Friends had conspired for our benefit. Our old car was quite the beater; It didn’t have great heat, was so loud you could hear it coming from blocks away and could only travel short distances— if you went to slow down from highway speed after driving an hour the car just die… on the road… for no apparent reason. One day I arrived home to a car in the driveway. After making the assumption someone was over, I went inside to find a giant bright orange poster which read ‘JP & Aelea’ on it with a set of keys. JP got home and we investigated—we opened the car and there was a card stating that we deserved to have a happy birthday better car! Opposite the perfect sentiment was a list of friends who dug into their hearts and wallets and contributed funds to purchase a car for us, including the covered cost of insurance for a year. Talk about being completely floored by the generosity, love, kindness, and pure servant-hearts of those we are blessed to call friends. We were blown away and, to this day, I get in the car and I smile, lovingly and secretly naming our Alero, ‘the car that love bought’.

Now that I completely sidetracked this post to the story of how we got our car, back to the point…

I had decided to sit in the waiting area of the dealership while the work was being done. The repair wasn’t going to take long so sitting and waiting seemed to be the right way to go. Pulling out my phone I settled into an end chair of the perfectly v-shaped waiting area and began browsing social media.

The Instagram/Facebook photo of the new car!
A young gentleman came up and started chatting with me. My husband and a few friends lovingly nicknamed him ‘Mach 10’ from how he always rides his bicycle around town and literally does everything he can to his bicycle to go as fast as possible. He is a little ‘slow’ as people would say, but I don’t mind—I’m waiting around for my car and I’m totally down to converse! We chatted about the reason for his visit to the dealership (wondering if perhaps they had a tire that would fit his bike) and then he was going to be on his way. He loves to chat and is one of those guys who can talk forever. The story about the bike tire led to another story, which led to another... I enjoyed the conversation since I really know nothing regarding the woes of bicycle ownership when it is your sole mode of transportation. When he attempted to engage with another gentleman in the waiting area, the middle-aged man just stared straight ahead and said nothing.

While the actions of this gentleman made me feel slightly annoyed, Mach 10 didn’t seem to mind (or really notice) so we continued our chat. 20 minutes or so had passed by— we were just two folks hanging out.

During those 20 minutes staff had asked him if he was doing OK, if he had any other questions, if they could help him with anything else, etc. He always said he was good and that he was just chatting with a friend’s wife since he knows my husband. Every time they questioned him I just smiled, waiting for our discussion to start up again. Then someone decided I needed saving…

A staff member comes out of their office and says they need to ask me a few questions. Assuming it was about my car I got up, said bye to Mach 10, and walked toward the office. Slightly anxious because the knowledge of my car is about zero, I arrived to find there were no questions, there was no paperwork to sign, my car wasn’t suddenly ready, and there was no information needed. I walked into the office and was told a generalized comment of “Oh there’s nothing, just thought you might want a way out.”

Excuse me…like… what?
Did I seem distressed?
Was our conversation where I was asking questions and making comments back to this young gentleman throw you off to the point where you thought I needed you to swoop in and get me out of there?
You are not Thor and I am not Jane.
I don’t need you to fly in and save me from the people of the world.
Did you take my smile and nod of agreement to how Mach 10 and I know each other as a subtle cry for help?
I do not need saving.
If professionals, in a business where customer service and caring for the client is a priority, deem some individuals as needing help and others less valuable for their differences, I can only imagine how others may treat him.

What happened to loving people? I remember hearing a message at church, probably 5 years ago, which encouraged us as Christians to approach every person you meet with the thought in the front of your mind that this person is someone Christ loves and died for. They are more valuable than you could ever imagine and so so special. This message impacted me greatly and it’s something I continually think about and work to do. God’s love for Mach 10 is greater than the speeds on his bike x infinity!!! As a Christian, my job is to try to make each and every person I come in contact with feel that love and value. In this case, chatting with him when no one else would give him the time of day was being loving and accepting and kind and I don’t think anyone ever needs saving from acting out those basic necessities of life.

What's even more sad is the same situation happened a few days later, but with a different individual. Where do people get off thinking it's OK?
I challenge you to challenge the status quo.

Think of everyone you meet as someone Christ died for and loves with a love more amazing than anything you could ever imagine. It’s the truth. It’s amazing. It’s life changing.

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