As a young mother of two rambunctious little boys (read hyperactive), I had an old friend. My best friend was an elderly lady I met at church. She took me in as hers. She came to my house every week to drink coffee and listen to my life. Through my many tales of woe and fewer stories of joy, she loved me unconditionally and remained my closest friend for fifteen years.
I love her so much.
Once I was lamenting about the many difficulties of a church struggle. It wasn’t the first time she’d heard the story. She knew all the actors and every scene as I retold how it played out on the stage of my life. She was intimately acquainted with the play, being one of the actors in it. But she recognized it was time for me to let go and move on. I had not felt I could at that point. Not understanding how to let the play close, I was holding on to many hurts.
She began to tell a story about her difficult, eccentric sister-in-law. I knew the character well. She had shared many antics from this woman’s life. However, this time, the story was for me. After reminding me of her crazy ways, Delores told of the time her brother had found his wife outside. She had moved a tall ladder under a tree and was diligently plucking leaves from the undergrowth. With the plucked leaves in hand, she would try to make them stick in a different place. Of course, they continued to fall to the ground, but that did not deter her one bit. She faithfully kept up her futile work. After watching for awhile, her husband finally asked what she was doing. She responded vehemently, “I’m rearranging the leaves!”
It took me a minute to get her point. But once I did, I must have turned ten shades of red. Another nugget of wisdom had just been handed to me. What would I do with it? I’ve held on tightly to her words and have learned to let things be…give grace…move on. You can’t rearrange the leaves. A much needed lesson for me.
How did this old lady become my best friend? Why did she seek me out? Why was I graced with her love?
I had prayed for a friend. (God answers our heart cries.) We were new to the city and I was overwhelmed with my little boys. She knew I couldn’t get out much, but she lived close enough to walk to my house. I didn’t expect an old lady to be the friend God would send. But He did. And she loved my boys. She walked with me through my pregnancy with my little girl. And eventually introduced her granddaughter to become my daughter’s close friend. She heard about the ups and downs of my life. And at times she would give nuggets of wisdom I needed to hear.
And I walked with her. Helping her find good doctors for her struggles with diabetes, breast cancer and the eventual diagnosis of Parkinson’s. We were good for one another. But, in time, her health issues became too great to stay at home.
I miss her so much.
She’s in a nursing home today. She isn’t coherent all of the time, but she does remember.
She says, “Some things are too special to forget.”
And again, her simple words of wisdom speak clearly to my heart.