Greetings dear friends,
As we officially wind down 2023 and anticipate a new year, we’d again like to pause from all the busy-ness of this Holiday Season to reflect a bit and let you know how much we appreciate your continuing friendship, support and participation and to let you know you are continually being thought of and prayed for.
Throughout this past year in our Single Adult Ministries, we’ve again worked to be diligent and intentional about building community through service and love toward one another; just as Jesus calls us to and modeled for us. In that spirit, we’re attaching what we hope will be a brief but nonetheless meaningful read for you this week. While its author is unknown, the spirit is absolutely unmistakeable. I pray it touches and inspires you as it does me and will close with a few additional sentiments on the other side…
I arrived at the address where someone had requested a taxi. I honked but no one came out. I honked again, nothing. So I walked to the door and knocked.
“Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab and then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the cab.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated”.
“Oh, you’re such a good boy”, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”
“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.
“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice”.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city.
She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now”
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. “How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.
“Nothing,” I said
“You have to make a living,” she answered.
“There are other passengers,” I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
My prayer for you this Holiday Season is that you make people feel good (and better) just by their having been in your presence and that you always have friends available to you that will help make you feel that way, too. If you are in need of someone who will come alongside and listen, or would like someone to pray with you about something that’s going on in your life, please don’t hesitate to reach out. What an amazing gift it is to be able to walk with one another in Jesus.
Right here with you,