Coffee With Delores

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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.

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12 responses »

  1. Wow. This was so touching and sweet. Friends are truly some of God’s greatest blessings. They cannot be counted as anything but.

  2. I love this story Michelle. I love that God hears our heart cries and that He gave you this special friend. And I love the lesson about rearranging the leaves:)

  3. Thanks, Rain. Delores’s words come back to me all. the. time. Especially in those futile moments of replaying life’s disappointments…

  4. I am glad that you experienced such a friendship in your life.

    I continue to be amazed at God’s goodness when it comes to the relationships He creates in His kingdom. Blood has nothing to do with it. I have relationships in my life that are closer than blood ones.

    I am so grateful for the friendship you have shown me. Thank you. I love you.

  5. That was a beautiful story of friendship.

    Your story shows how important friendship is. All our neighbors, everyone we meet, can become a friend. It oten takes nothing more than a smile.

    I hope you friend Delores is able to keep the memories of at least some of her special moments alive.

  6. Mama and I are now those “old people”. But we have chosen to also “mentor” the younger set. Yesterday we had a very young couple over with their 2 year old for Sunday dinner – a blended family, both on their 2nd marriage. We talked about adjustments they were having to make. We don’t have much we can offer, our finances are tougher than they have been, but we can love and share what we have. God does provide.

  7. This is a really lovely story, Michelle. What really stood out for me was that God not only answered your prayer for a friend when you were new to the city, and busy with a young family, but one who was so consistent and so generous with her time and listening and input in your life – what a gift! 🙂

  8. Yeah, Gch, I’m thankful for the gift of friendship. And now…since I’m the old lady…remember to respect your elders!!! 😛 I love you, Sweet Girl.

    She does seem to remember, Ed, but it comes and goes. I have noticed, if I don’t limit myself to certain “types” of people (which is SO totally wrong!), it’s possible to find friends everywhere.

    Hey, Papa! Your and Mamma’s open heart and home is a true blessing, I am sure. I love hearing of the ways y’all love others.

    Good Morning, Birgit! Her consistency was amazing. We walked through many valleys together. She wasn’t available through the most difficult one, she was already in a nursing home. But, her many words of wisdom have remained. A true legacy.

  9. Michelle – Friendships are special and need to be nurtured! I too have Parkinson Disease and struggle at times. But for now we are moving on with life caring for others as much as we can. This FRiday we head to see several bloggers out east.

  10. Wow, Papa…meeting more bloggers! I think if we had a contest to see who had met the most, it would be a tough race between y’all and the Hodges. It’s so good y’all can have such wonderful experiences.

    His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. Be it Parkinsons, fibromyalgia, whatever the diagnosis…if we’re still alive, He’s still using us for His purposes. We serve a mighty God.

    Have a great time out east!! (Do I dare ask: Darla? Ed? Badguy? Ric? …)

  11. As my new found (well, new-ish) 😉 Ed says it is quite easy thing to do to make new friends…

    But to make that special kind of connection as you made and received with Delores takes something special in return… i have a feeling those kind of friendships require a little ‘supernatural’ help 🙂

    We are blessed indeed if we find and keep them.

    Such may come as a ‘gift’, but they also may require a little effort from us every now and then to keep healthy – like many things in life. 😉

    <B

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