Evelyn and I first met on a mission trip we were both on. We didn’t really get to know each other well, but I loved her openness, sweetness and authenticity. Especially after we were back. We would see each other at church on occasion and she was always so happy to see me and so sweet.
Then three years later her husband died of a heart attack while playing basketball, leaving her with 5 yr. old and 7 yr old boys. She was devastated. All of us were shocked, and grieved with her. We got better acquainted after that, sharing breakfast on my sun-drenched patio now and again after she had taken the boys to school. She liked talking to my husband who had lost his first wife through death. We became close but not super close–I was old enough to be her mom (who had also died when Evelyn was 18).
About three years ago she moved away, but we still saw her on occasion when she and the boys came back for the weekend.
Then last weekend my husband and I ended up going to her town to the VA hospital. I texted and asked if I could crash on her couch. She replied she had a bed for me, and came up and sat with me the last hour of Richard’s 7-hour surgery. She and her boys welcomed me into their home with open arms. She even gave me a key since they were going out of town the next day, saying she wanted me to be able to come and go. Her trust felt like a gift.
One night stretched into two and three, and since one of my issues has been being wanted, I started to get uncomfortable when I knew there would be a fourth. I always remember Ben Franklin’s pithy, “Fish and visitors stink in three days.” She assured me it was fine, and when I texted her from the hospital that I would either have to wash clothes or go home that afternoon, she said, “Of course! Don’t go home!”
Monday I ran into one of my former students who is now a nephrologist (kidney specialist) at the VA hospital. He was so surprised and came to visit my husband, telling him what a wonderful effect I’d had on his life. What a sweet surprise!
Tuesday, when I was uncomfortable about staying so long, Evelyn got a disturbing message. I was so glad I could be there for her. We read it together and sat up talking until midnight. She was back to herself the next day determined not to let the slanderer rent space in her head that she paid for (my words, not hers). I was amazed at her resilience, and applauded it.
We were supposed to leave the next day but once again they decided to keep Richard because they couldn’t find the infection. Thursday morning my husband called saying they were releasing him, and I told them all good by. The boys were disappointed that I couldn’t come to their concert that night, and asked if I’d stay until it was over. That morning his kidney function looked bad and they decided to keep him another night. Sigh~ but I got to go to the concert after all, and the boys were happy. At the concert I ran into a grade school friend I hadn’t seen in years and we set up a lunch date on our follow-up visit.
We finally did leave the next day. And the best part was Evelyn texting me,
“I’m going to miss you!”
What a blessing it is to be trusted! What a gift!
That was going to be the end until I realized that God also had trusted me with His gifts of people and friendships. Trust is a great gift.