This is definitely not my favourite time of the year: tax season. Today, I’m battling discouragement with not having enough money to pay bills. I’m asking Papa to encourage and bless me in some way.
As I turn on to King George Boulevard, I pass by the Liberty Tax Office. My eye catches a red, Canadian maple leaf waving frantically at me. I wonder what a dreadful job this must be. Who could endure this unacknowledged, meaningless job – a maple leaf mascot dancing on Surrey’s sidewalks – ignored by the passing majority?
How many preoccupied motorists have passed by, oblivious to the heart beating behind the mask? I resolve to bless this maple leaf by smiling and waving back wildly as I travelled by.
My smile lingered several blocks down the road as I pulled into my office parking lot. Suddenly, a red blotch appeared in my rear-view mirror, pointed directly at me. I panicked for a second until I realized it was the maple leaf mascot. Curious, I opened the door to an enthusiastic voice asking, “Mac, how are you? It’s me!” as it advanced closer with every bounce into my personal space. I wasn’t thrilled.
I looked around to see if anyone was witnessing this interaction. After all, I’m in Whalley-World. Anything and everything happens here. I strained to peer beyond the mesh opening of the maple leaf’s watermelon-sized mouth to catch a glimpse of the face inside. No such luck. A mystery.
It speaks again, “It’s me. Don’t you remember me?” disappointment escalating with each syllable.
How would I know a person in a red maple leaf suit, I ask myself.
“I’m reading your book ‘The Shift’. It was a Christmas present. I love it!” the voice declared. Intrigued, I leaned in to see a joyful face beaming back at me. “It’s Shane. Remember me?”
I do remember Shane. He used to be homeless, struggling with drug addiction. Now clean and sober, he was carving out a meager income working as a mascot between jobs to pay the bills. He was happy and grateful to be working – even as a red maple leaf. I was humbled and blessed at the same time.
My heart soared. What a joy to see him free from the chains that had kept him bound for many years. Never in my wildest dreams did I think God would use a dancing maple leaf to bless me. Nor, in my wildest dreams did I think the book would bless a man in a red maple leaf suit. Blessings really do come in different packages.
Do I sense Papa and a few angels dancing with my friend! Oh happy day!
Wonderful story, thanks for sharing it! I love how little surprises like these are often the most meaningful and the ones that you never forget. Blessings!
It really is true isn’t it? Those small blessings are the most meaningful – they’re like kisses from our Papa – that we’ll never forget.
They are etched on our hearts for Eternity!
We miss you at NightShift my friend!
I love hearing these story’s and the change that can result through the work in NightShift and other outreach groups!! Make’s me feel a lot better knowing that the work I’ve been doing with NightShift CAN change lives!! Can’t wait to get down there again!
Mother Theresa said that on her own she couldn’t change the world but she could toss a stone across the ocean to create a ripple. We’re are all part of God’s ‘ripple’ of Love that is reaching out and touching the hearts and lives of the people we serve on and off the streets.
Isn’t it wonderful to be part of God’s mission ‘loving people unconditionally and helping them to find hope and purpose’? Together we CAN and DO make a difference!
I pray that God will send more hearts like yours to come and serve side-by-side in helping to ‘shift’ the lives of people who are struggling to the better.
We hope to see you soon!