I have not always appreciated the value and merit of my hard life. But with 20/20 hindsight, I can see that God has been answering my prayers…all along the way. I find myself now in a place of honor.
The beauty is that I can stand toe-to-toe with scientists, professionals, bureaucrats, and managers; I have been all those things. I can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with single mothers, divorced women, abusive / neglectful parents, persecuted Christians, even the promiscuous because I have been them. Now, I can look in the eyes of customers who are missing teeth, wear worn-out clothing, and are buying cheap food with EBT cards and show them ‘knowing love’ and compassion; my smile is genuine. I can sit with patience as the crippled man and the one with slow speech get to the parts of their stories where the true deep wisdom of life comes out. I am one with them because I am truly one of them. The ‘crazy’ woman in the doctor’s office is no different from me except that she is at a bad place in her illness and is unmedicated.
To be no better off than anyone around me is a truly privileged place to be. I am never embarrassed by their poverty or uncomfortable with their conditions. I sit easy in the DSS or Social Security offices because I belong there. Jesus was able to break bread with the tax collectors and prostitutes because He was one with God. For me, though, it took a lifetime of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and illness. But I had prayed for that…sort of.
When I was a teenager, I prayed for the wisdom that scripture said was so valuable. I also prayed to have a mastery of words so that I might be able to heal and to help people understand life and to get along. Then I forgot that I had prayed for all of this. Thank God, God did not forget.
So, here I am. God has been answering my prayers for the past 61.8 years. And God is not done with me yet.