My delay in booking a ticket to go to Chicago in mid-July resulted in having to go the following week as the ticket price had tripled! I arrived the following Thursday Gracie and I worked all Friday morning going through Mom's things - choosing some for storage, some for giving to others, some for the "circular storage bin". It was really hard to look at letters, mementos kept 60 years which seemed insignificant to us, useless or unwanted - yet hard to toss. These were things that have mattered to her over the years. How could we be so cavalier to toss them! We spent a long time lingering over some of the decisions.
Later that afternoon, we sat in the front lounge with mom, Dad and Alberto. It was a busy day; people coming and going through the front doors. We were singing and laughing and visiting. I suggested we move to the rehab lounge which would have been quieter and more private. No, Mom wanted to stay there.
Not much later, an old lady, soaking wet from the heat and humidity of the day, struggled through the front door, banging her walker in her efforts to get in and over to the front desk. We heard her tell Madre, "I'm so confused. I'm lost and don't know how to get home." Madre asked her where she lived. Gracie heard - it was not far from where she lives - over an hour away in the afternoon traffic, not accessible by freeways.
Madrew led her to sit with us and called for nurses to come take her blood pressure and listen to her heart as well as bring juice and food. Poor Helen had been to the Dr. an hour from where we were sitting - about 2 hours from her home - and had had to fast 36 hours for some tests. Now, hungry, dehydrated and lost some 40 hours later, she sat with us in tears.
Gracie and I looked at each other. We knew we had to take her home. Over her protestations and armed with a map from Madre, Gracie drove Helen's car and I followed. The story unfolding in the car in front of me began in Latvia 88 years ago. WWII came and the Germans rescued Helen's family from the Russians. Helen landed in W. Germany where she became a Dr., married and had two sons. Her husband died early. Once her sons became adults, they came to the states and she followed some years later. She was churched as a child but after marriage, never went back.
Helen tried to pay Gracie for our troubles. Gracie refused. When Helen asked why we would do this for her, a stranger, Gracie had the opportunity to tell her that we wanted her to feel the love of Jesus through us but even more, to know the love of Jesus for herself in her own life. Helen's tears came but there was no more response.
On the way home, Gracie told me all about Helen's life and the conversation that ensued. Phone numbers were exchanged and Gracie said she would call Helen for her birthday (they are going out this week!).
As we talked, Gracie and I realized that if I had gone the Thursday I had originally planned, we wouldn't have been sitting in the lounge that afternoon. And if we had moved to the other lounge, we wouldn't have been sitting in the lounge that afternoon. We thanked God that He was leading us in these seemingly inconsequential decisions.
Gracie's husband, David, joined us for dinner with Mom and Dad. David and Gracie planned to stay in Mom's apartment in the midst of all the stuff we still had to organize. A roll-away bed was being delivered. I asked them to come with me to the home in which I was staying. Gracie has stayed there before; it is very lovely and comfortable. She and David thought on it but in the end, opted for the apartment. As they were falling asleep, there was a pounding on the wall and a feeble voice calling, "Is anybody there?" Twice this happened. Concerned, Gracie ran down the hall to get a nurse, thinking that the neighbor had heard talking in what should be an empty apartment. The nurse found that the man had fallen and couldn't get up. Again, what seemed to be an inconsequential decision to stay in the apartment that night turned out to have great consequences for the old man.
Trying to put together the Latin schedule the past two weeks has been difficult at best. Some families, back out, others don't answer emails, others change days and times repeatedly. How should I apply what I learned in Chicago? God is ironing out a perfect schedule for me and for my students. He is choosing with whom each student should study. It is like watching him play a board game!! So I can sit back and watch what He is doing and when the dust settles, I'll have His answer for me. I hope I carry this lesson into the more difficult situation that are bound to come.
Thank you Lord, for graciously teaching me what I need to know.