When an Errand’s More than an Errand

That Special Errand

Several weeks ago I had a special errand. My friend Michol was taking the train back from a short trip to Eastern Washington. I asked to pick her up at the train station, not wanting her to arrive and then catch a bus back to Monroe. I know we’re all wearing masks and doing what we can to stay safe and socially distant, but the bus didn’t feel like a great option.

Michol and I shared emails and text messages regarding the date and time. We ended up arriving at the station within minutes of each other. Mere minutes!

While chitchatting on our drive back, I learned that Michol had left Ephrata in early morning darkness. After dropping her off at her office, I began to think about a train ride I was supposed to take as a small girl. I was supposed to leave Ephrata, too, not in the morning’s darkness, but the evening’s. I was a young girl, 8 or 9, traveling with my mom and younger brother, back from Grandma’s house.

After arriving at the station for our departure to Seattle, we learned that the train had derailed and we would need to take the bus home. I didn’t understand what a train derailment was. I just knew that the announcement had brought with it hushed conversations and lots of hurriedness (yes, it’s a word).

Boarding the bus, Mom handed me and my brother coloring books and crayons, an unexpected treat that actually added to my unease. I was too distracted for artwork. I knew Dad was planning to pick us up at the train station. How would he know to go to the bus station? Back in the day, there were no texts and emails. There were no cell phones. And even though I was sitting with my mom and brother, I was frightened. I felt lost and proceeded to worry all five hours of our trip.

In Seattle Dad was waiting for us at the bus station. Missed in our re-arrangements at the train station was a call Mom had made from a phone booth to her sister who had gone to the train station and redirected Dad to the bus station. Without a text or email, Dad found me.

Dad’s trip to the train station, the trip that became a trip to the bus station, was really just an errand. He was just picking up his family and taking us home. But for me it was much more. Seeing Dad when we pulled into the bus station, I was overcome with relief; I’d been found.

My trip to the Everett train station to pick up Michol was an errand also, a quick drive from Monroe to Everett and back again. This time my own errand became much more to me.

A year ago Michol learned she had breast cancer. Month after month she headed to Everett for treatments, procedures, chemo, and radiation. And I didn’t know how to help. Yes, I prayed for her, sent the occasional text and email, but I didn’t know how to insert my love into her mix of treatments, her schedule of appointments, her new life.It all seemed so hectic and even more hectic with all of us trying to “be there” for Michol. And she didn’t need casseroles, which is OK, because I don’t know how to do casseroles.

When Michol said she’d be taking the train home from Ephrata to Everett, I knew how to help. I knew how to step in with love for my friend. Yes, it was just an errand, an hour on a gray, dreary Monday. Yes, she was long past those days of treatments, procedures, chemo, and radiation, but the trip to Everett was my chance to “walk the WOLK,” to walk the words of loving kindness. It was my time to share love and kindness with my friend.

In Paul’s New Testament book of Titus, in chapter 3, we are encouraged to be ready for good work, devoted to good work. Paul’s not saying we do good to earn God’s good favor, God’s loving kindness. He’s reminding us that our good works are the blessed response to God’s loving kindness that became our saving grace. That particular version in the English Standard Version of the Bible is titled, “Be Ready for Every Good Work.” God gave me the time and this time I was ready.

Our weeks are busy ones. Some errands will be just that—a quick trip to the post office, groceries. Some errands may be more—for you and for the person you’re with. What a blessing that will be for you and for the person you’re with.

from Psalm 25:5
Guide us in your truth, Lord, and teach us, for you are God our Savior. Our hope is in you. Amen.

Deanna Nowadnick is the author of Fruit of My Spirit and Signs in Life.

‘Tis the season for errands, right? Some errands may be just a quick trip to the post office and groceries. Others may be more, much more–for you–and those you’re with. Thanks to my friend, I was given a special reminder.
Deanna Nowadnick author

Hi, I'm Deanna

I am a writer and speaker who loves helping women of faith connect our delightfully ordinary stories to God’s extraordinary love and faithfulness, so we can be encouraged and empowered knowing God’s been in the details–always has been, always will be.

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