I was staring down the barrel of an hour long ride with a total stranger in downtown Chicago. I needed to get to the airport by 8:30 in the morning to make my flight home. That meant hopping in the car before my morning coffee had kicked in.
I requested an Uber on my phone and then stood in front of the hotel waiting for a man named Moise in a Nissan Altima.
I don’t know if you know this about me, but I tend to pray for the little things in life even more than the big things. Sure, I’ve talked to God about the upcoming election and ISIS and human trafficking, but most of our daily conversations go something like this:
Me: God, I just spent an entire day talking about kindness. Can I just put in my earbuds and pretend to sleep in this car so I don’t have to talk to another stranger?
Me: Seriously? You know I’m exhausted. I don’t have anything left to give. Wouldn’t an inspirational podcast be a better use of my time?
God: No. People are more important than podcasts.
So, I got in the Uber and said hello to Moise. I asked him about his day and if he has always lived in Chicago and what he did when he wasn’t driving an Uber through rush hour traffic.
That’s when he started telling me about his mom. He lost his job not too long ago, just before his mom took a turn for the worst and needed dialysis.
Losing his job means that Moise has the time to care for his mom full-time; driving for Uber means he can still pay the bills by working when she’s resting or feeling well enough to be alone.
As I listened to his story, I began to understand in some small way why God had placed me, without earbuds, in Moise’s car. It was a divine appointment.
I shared some of my own story with Moise, about being a child and visiting my mom’s husband in prison, about reconnecting with Saul after rejecting any idea of ever getting married, about how my life has changed since I began chasing kindness. Most importantly, we talked about how God continually uses bad situations for good.
“Your mess is your message!” Moise wisely noted. “Your test is your testimony!”
We pulled up at the airport and I almost didn’t want to get out. An hour ago, I was drained, ready to curl up into myself and wish the day away. But thanks to a stranger in a Nissan Altima, as we parted ways, it was evident that we both had a better view of the day (and days) to come.
I guess it pays to choose people over podcasts.