There are times when we are reminded, often in strange ways, to slow down and take notice of the blessings in our lives. This afternoon I experienced something that is beyond explanation. Or maybe it isn’t. I’m just not sure.
Typical Saturday morning for me. I’m running around like crazy, trying to get errands ran. It’s summer here in this small town I live in and it is already blazing hot. The AC in my car is jacked up as high as it will go. My mind is spinning with all of the things I need to get done and as always, I forget something. Yesterday I was supposed to have called the lawn maintenance company and didn’t. Ugh! Grass is above my knees and I can’t stand it! Oh well. I’ll call someone when I get home.
Driving down Main Street, I happen to look over and see a man standing in front of our local shopping center. He’s tall, thin, long hair, beard and mustache. Looks neat, cIean. He’s standing under an awning of one of the stores. I suppose you can’t really call it a “strip mall.” It’s a town made up of buildings that have existed for well longer than I’ve been alive. All quaint, well maintained and the majority of them have retained their original appearance. Our shopping center is really a string of mom & pop shops, all family owned and here in front of our drugstore is a man holding a sign that says “willing to work.” I laughed out loud because I can’t help but wonder what exactly he’ll work for! Knowing I need to get my grass cut, I think “what the heck!” and I pull over.
“Excuse me! I noticed you standing here holding that sign. I need to get my grass cut and while it’s not a big yard, it is big enough. It’s also awfully hot! Was wondering how much you’d charge me to do the work?” He smiles and it is a smile so radiant that I’m actually a bit surprised. I take a slight step back and realize I’ve not seen him around here before which is odd because in a town this small, everyone knows everyone.
“Ma’am, I’ll be happy to cut your grass. Let’s not worry about the price for now. I’ll just be happy to have something productive to do. I’ve been standing here for quite some time and you’re the first person to acknowledge me. I’m grateful for that.” I’m stunned by his response! Most people want money first and ask questions later! Too good to be true? Probably, but I’m desperate. I explain to him that I’ve got a couple more errands to run and that if he can wait for just a bit, I’ll come back by and pick him up. He tells me not to bother and so we arrange to meet at my house in a half hour. After thanking him, I drive off. Two more stops – the library and post office – and I can finally get home and relax!
Pulling in my driveway, I see the man sitting on my front steps. I wave and he stands, walks over to the car and begins to help me unload. “Oh you don’t have to help. I’ve got it!” I said. “Don’t mind at all, ma’am,” is his response. He follows me into the kitchen. We put the bags down and I offer him something cool to drink. He declines but I notice him looking around, in particular he’s eye-balling the pictures on my fridge. Not sure whether I should be worried or not, I mention to him that I’ve never seen him about town before. He turns, smiles that smile again and says, “Oh I’ve been around for quite some time. Longer than you’ve been alive!” and he chuckles. I find his behavior a bit odd but do not feel threatened at all. In fact, I notice I feel rather comfortable with him. For a brief moment I feel as if I’ve known him my whole life. Suddenly, he points to a picture on my fridge. “She’s a beautiful little girl.” My face drops a bit as I notice he’s pointing to a picture of my daughter. “That’s my little girl. She died several years ago.” He nods his head, compassion fills his eyes. “Ma’am, do you mind if I pray with you?” Now, this throws me off! I’m not a very religious person. I pray. I have my own relationship with God. One I’m quite comfortable with and I don’t often pray with anyone. I spend my time in prayer alone. It’s taken me years to realize that I don’t need to visit and brick and mortar building every week to build a relationship with Him. I think He is happy that I spend time with him and it doesn’t matter much how I do it as long as I do. However, I’ve had people approach me before, asking me if they could pray for me and it isn’t my habit to turn them down. We can all use a bit of prayer, right? I agree to let him pray with me. He takes my hands, I close my eyes, bow my head and he begins…“Heavenly Father…” It is a short prayer but one so beautiful that I’m reduced to tears. Sometimes we don’t always realize how badly we need someone to pray FOR us. We take on our burdens by ourselves, at times even feeling invincible and in control when the truth of the matter is, we aren’t always in control. We forget that it is okay to fall apart, to cry, to not be so strong all of the time. We forget there are times when it is just necessary to lean on Him and have faith that no matter what our circumstances are, He never gives us more than we can handle. I begin to weep openly as I realize all that I’ve held inside for so long. I feel his grip tighten and his last words to me are, “Know that God loves you. He is always watching over you Elizabeth and your little angel Sarah is doing just fine.” With a start I realize I’ve never told him my name or my daughter’s name. I look up and he’s gone.
This is based on a dream I had a couple of nights ago. Interpret it however you wish.