Can a 25-minute encounter change your life?

The doorbell rang.  I was impressed on the punctual arrival.  A sweet elderly lady greeted me with a smile.  She had travelled an hour to pick up a hospital bed for her husband.  The same one my late husband used.  We went to the garage and I showed her how to put it back together (it was in parts for easy mobility) and we talked logistics.  Then the question came, “Why are you selling the bed?”  I had to explain.  I was grateful for the question – so many people avoid talking or asking about Jim these days for fear they will upset me.  She looked shocked.  I was reminded how shocking it is that neurological Lyme disease can kill a person.  Then she told me her story.  Her husband had a stroke.  At first the physicians misdiagnosed it as Parkinson’s disease.  Then while he was walking in his disabled state, a car struck him.  I was horrified for her.  We both fought back tears.  We talked about the pain of seeing someone you love suffer and the frustration of not being able to help them in the ways we would want to.  Then she announced, “Come meet him.”  I didn’t realize he was in the car.  We walked over and I opened the door.  Another lovely wide beautiful smile.  A face aged by years of “doing”.  Wrinkles, crow’s feet, and signs of stress and age on the face.  A beautiful face.  We chatted for a bit and then I excused myself so I could get the bed into their van.

After we loaded up the bed, the woman asked, “How much do I owe you?” as she pulled out an envelope of cash.  “There is no need,” I replied, “I hope you enjoy the bed and that it is helpful for your husband.”  Then I paused and added, “I’m happy it is going to you both.  It served Jim well and I hope it does the same for your husband.”  Again, the woman had the look of shock on her face.  “No, I insist I pay you something,” she protested.  I again said no.  Then her tears flowed, she embraced me with the biggest bear hug I’ve had in awhile.  “God bless you,” she said.  “God bless you too,” I replied back.  She stood back and then came to hug me again, so genuine in her gestures.  Several more times she commented “God bless you,” and she meant it.

I approached the man again in the passenger seat.  His wife had told him the bed was a gift.  He started tearing up and then the tears started to fall.  The three of us were all there crying with the connection of pain, blessings of having lived good lives, and the frustration that comes with the knowledge that things sometimes go wrong and you can’t control them.

As the van drove off and I waved goodbye, my tears continued to stream down my face.  This couple, elderly and so full of love for each other, had just blessed my life.  I was saddened in that I had thought Jim and I would get to that point – be the cute elderly couple who still enjoyed each other so much.  I was glad too though to have made a small difference in this particular couple’s lives.

My 25-minute encounter with these two beautiful people reminded me that there are blessings always and that even though we are not in control of events, we are still in control of our attitudes and perspectives.  Thank God (literally) for amazing people to come along and remind us of the important things in life.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Peggy on January 15, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Erica –I now have tears running down my face from reading this. As I was reading I could not help but think that this is EXACTLY what Jim would have done and he must be so proud watching you pass on the kindness and good will to others. What a special story and I am so grateful to you for sharing it today. Got your sweet note too and it touched my heart as well. We are well — just so you know:) We will catch up soon.


  2. Oh Erica, I too have tears running down my cheeks. I never knew your husband but when we compared notes, he sounded so like my husband. I wish that I had had the chance to meet him. This is a beautiful story. I always thought Don and I would get to this point. And who knows, maybe we will.
    Thank You for sharing this beautiful story.
    Take care


  3. Posted by Melinda on January 16, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    That’s one of the many reasons why you and Jim were good together. You think alike. What a touching story, Erica. As usual, you’re words are spot on and lovely. God bless that sweet couple and you as well.

    Prayers continue,


  4. Posted by Ken Kosal on January 19, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Erica, once again you showed what a wonderful and caring daughter you by sharing this wonderful encounter with others. Very thoughtful and kind to help this wonderful couple in their struggle through this difficult world.
    love you


  5. I’ve thought about you and your husband today, having followed your journey. I just recently went back to blogging and I am saddened to learn of Jim’s passing. I am saying a prayer for you and your family.
    I know that one day, God will restore everything that has been lost. Until that day comes, may you always choose joy amidst the sadness and pain.


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