Today, I took 2 little girls to the park. We strolled the beach and looked for seals and seashells. Then, we met another little girl whom Ruby’s friend knew.
“Stella!” she said, addressing the adult accompanying the small blonde girl. Ruby’s friend hugged Stella (not her real name), a woman in her 60s with short gray hair and glasses. Stella looked over at me, curious. She smiled her welcome. I smiled back.
Stella and I shook hands and introduced ourselves.
The girls took off for the play structure. They clambered up the yellow stairs. Ruby zipped down the blue slide, a multicolored streak of lightning. The other two girls chattered and chased each other.
Stella and I sat on the green metal picnic bench nearby.
Almost immediately, she asked, “Are you a believer?”
Wow. Talk about knowing each other on sight. I told her I am, and the church we attend. She and her husband attend a CMA church.
“Many years ago, we almost became the worship pastors of a CMA church,” I told her. “But they had a hand saw in the worship band. We…couldn’t stay.”
She laughed out loud with me.
She told me about nursing her dying father for five plus years. He suffered from dementia. Once it came time for hospice, she could not handle all his needs on her own any more. She told me of the care of the chaplain and the nurse, who read the Bible to her father. All believers.
“It was so sweet. We had times of prayer together,” she said, her voice wistful.
As she talked, I was struck with how death can be a peaceful, kind experience. I’m starting to think about this more seriously as my parents continue to age. The people around us make such a difference. Their actions, words and attitudes can help or hinder. It takes a special kind of person to serve those who are making their way out of this world and into the next. It could crush your spirit if you weren’t a believer. Might crush it a bit, anyway, since loving others would be part of the job duty. When you look after someone, you often give a small piece of your heart away.
We had a great conversation. I had been feeling a little low upon entering the park. Her presence and joy encouraged me. I hope I encouraged her as well. We hugged each other goodbye.
“I feel like I already know you,” I said.
“It’s the spirit of God in us, ” she replied.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39