Friday, October 23, 2015
...how is it that today I met someone I knew only by name and circumstance?
Mr. A and I passed the Repeat Boutique on Norman Drive and I told him as long as this has been there, I had never gone in to shop. A dear friend of mine works in receiving there, the busiest part of the store whose proceeds go toward a ministry which helps pregnant women.
My friend introduced me to another employee, said her name but I didn't hear it, and added she was from Louisiana. She, Mr. A and I spoke for a few minutes, and we learned she worked primarily in the book section of the boutique. We said our it's nice to meet yous and I realized I hadn't retained her name and asked her again.
It was Freida.
It had to be.
This was on my desk at home:
I had chatted privately on Facebook with my niece, her husband had just lost his brother. The parents of both men are still living and though I don't know them, my heart hurt for them and what they are going through. I asked my niece their names and committed to pray for them.
My nephew by marriage is from Louisiana. All the puzzle pieces fit.
I said to Mr. A, "This is Cajun's mother!" And I told Freida I had prayed for her just this morning. I marveled at this God-ordained moment.
Mr. A and I were enjoying a leisurely afternoon. We'd had lunch with an old friend and a new, gone to Target to purchase a gift for a baby shower, paid the power bill and upon leaving that location, I suggested stopping at the Repeat Boutique.
I didn't need anything, but I'm always up for a gander at what a thrift store has to offer. This wasn't a lark or a whim. It was an appointment from above.
Being aware of Freida's unspeakably painful loss, Mr. A and I offered our condolences. She invited us back to the room where the book sorting begins and showed me a poem read at her son's funeral called "Goodbye."
Goodbye to the sun,
this is the last you will shine upon my face
to the wind and the grass
and everything beautiful around this disgrace
Goodbye to the trees and to this house
to the memories I held so dear
to those that haunted me in my sleep
and the one I’m creating out of fear
Goodbye to the faces I know best
and of those I never did meet
Goodbye to the lives I’m leaving behind
and the life I didn’t complete
Goodbye to my friends and family
you were the reason I held on so long
Goodbye to those that helped me
when my life seemed to always go wrong
Goodbye to my dog,
my best friend excited to see me every day
goodbye to the living
as my eyes faded to grey
Goodbye to the dreams I might have had
to the love I never met
Goodbye to the passions that died
and the person I was and hope you don’t forget
Goodbye to the life that I once knew
please know I really did try
I love you all
please hold on as I say my goodbye
By the time I got to the part about "those I never did meet" tears began to fill my eyes. My niece and nephew, Freida's daughter-in-law and son, are expecting a child next month. The baby will not meet its uncle on this leg of the journey to eternity.
Of all things, Freida began to say comforting words to me. At lightning speed, my mind processes the fact that she has buried a son, but is concerned about my tears. How is she that strong?
I told her I was okay, that I cried at the drop of a hat. I shared with her that I had lost my brother under similar circumstances, but his death came not in an instant, but from several decades of self-destruction.
I confided my belief that there are some who are so tenderhearted they have to leave this world to find peace. She nodded in understanding. Her son, my brother, they are finally at peace. And we are the ones left behind to cope, to grieve.
My understanding and empathy were limited, though, to the cause. However hard it was to lose a brother, I can only begin to imagine the depths of pain caused by losing a child.
And I considered how often I commit, via Facebook, to pray for someone. My prayer life is far from what it should be, yet I do try to remember those who have asked for prayer and those on whose behalf I have offered to pray. It is not the prayer or the pray-er; it is the God of this Universe to Whom we pray.
Galatians 6:2 tells us that in bearing one another's burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ. I believe we are instructed to do so because some burdens simply cannot be carried alone. Today, the Lord granted me an unexpected meeting with someone whose burden I feebly tried to help carry. I am inadequate in and of myself, so I had to bring it to Him.