Sunday, July 19, 2015

Fun With a Friend

I have some qualms about sharing this story.  Why?  I fear I may come across as either condescending or gloating.  Please trust my heart and know that neither is the case.  I just want to share a window into my world, and share what happened when I said "Yes" to God.

We have a woman in our church that is a real character!  I'll just call her "J".  She lives by herself now.  Life for her has not been easy.  Since moving to Houston, she lost her 48 year old son that lived with her.  He was autistic and never spoke, but while he was alive she always took him to church.  She's a short little woman with weathered skin, decaying teeth and uncombed hair. Her clothes have a "Goodwill" look to them, and she is notorious for losing things.

I started my journey with J about three years ago.  She wanted a ride to the Tuesday night Bible study, and I obliged.  As we rode to the study, she would babble on and on about everything under the sun. Sometimes it made sense and sometimes it didn't.  I marveled at the way her non-stop talking would come to a stand-still for the Bible study, but on the way home, her spirit was child-like and joyful, so thankful for the food and fellowship she enjoyed.

Those rides soon grew from rides to Bible study to rides to church -  to sitting with me in church - to daily phone calls. J was lonely.  And quite honestly, so was I. Sometimes she was a precious little lady. Sometimes she was a huge test of my patience.  I can't tell you the times I would pick her up, only to find she was not at home.

She is a very social person, but does have a car.  She is not one to stay in her apartment.  She is constantly walking along one of our city's busiest streets.  People know her and give her money. Restaurant owners give her free meals.  The local grocery store also keeps her well-supplied. She loves to try the food samples they offer.

She does all this roaming in some dangerous places. She has a naïve nature and is often used by those looking for someone weaker to use and abuse. She tries to share Jesus with everyone she meets, but meets many wolves in sheep's clothing.

My little friend has allowed me to see a whole other side to life. I've waited with her at the food bank. I was the silent observer, watching her "work the room". She struck up a conversation with just about everyone.

She been to our home when she had back spasms. I rubbed her back with Tiger Balm. I drove her to the drugstore when she had a toothache and introduced her to marvels of clove oil until she could get into a dentist. She calls me her doctor and thinks I know everything about everything!

Last week someone stole her little dog.  With shaky voice, she said, "Why would someone do this?  He was my companion.  He slept with me and kept me calm during the night.."  When she called me this week, I asked her what she was doing that day and if she would like to go out for breakfast. She eagerly said "Yes!"  and this time, when I drove up to the apartment, she was waiting outside for me!

I suggested different places to go, but none of them suited her...she wanted to go to Cracker Barrel.  I was tickled when she asked for catfish for breakfast, and was so thankful (and impressed) that our server took it all in stride.  During breakfast, I asked her if she would like to get her hair cut.  Her face lit up like it a child on Christmas morning.  The woman that took care of her at the salon was most gracious and gave her the cutest hair style.  J usually cuts (chops) her own hair. Never washes it. Never combs it. She looked like a new woman and it was obvious to me she felt like a new woman. The lady in the salon even went the extra mile and got rid of J's chin hairs, which are long and plentiful.

A haircut this stunning needed something a little extra - something like a new dress.  J and I walked to Stein Mart.  She literally "oohed" and "ahhhhed" at all the clothes. She was drawn like a magnet to anything bright and full of color.  Once she found a few dresses, I asked her if she wanted to go into the fitting room alone or if sh needed my help. She asked for help. She whirled and twirled and danced in each dress. I told her to look at herself in the 3-way mirror...that way she could get also get a better look at her new haircut. She beamed! Her whole demeanor changed!  She said, "I look like a movie star!"  We paid for her clothes and then returned to her apartment.  She must have thanked me fifty times for the fun day.  She asked several times, "How did you know?  How did you know that this was my heart's desire?"  I could only say that God placed it on my heart.  And I fully believe that He did.

As I drove home, I reflected on the waitress and hair stylist. They treated J with such patience. More importantly, they treated her with respect. They gave dignity to a little woman who looks and acts "a little outside the box."

I have been truly blessed. Thank you, God, for introducing J into my life.


Nancy said...

What a wonderful story!! It shows us how we need to be Jesus hands and feet in this world. I'm sure you were both blessed! We all need to be more aware of how we can help those around us!! Love you!!

Kathy E. said...

I enjoyed your story of J and the relationship you share with her. I hope you are both doing well and continue the bond that ties you together. God saw that you needed each other and He smiles down on you both! What sweet memories you are making! Bless you.