Miss Thelma

Walking into a local nursing home for an unannounced afternoon visit is an adventure of unknowns. Our staff from church planned to walk in to a few places just this week.  Our group divided into groups of 2 or 3 to visit as many nursing homes and residents as possible in one afternoon.

 I love people; I love talking to people; I love listening to people!  When I was a GA (a girl in action - our mission organization for elementary girls), we visited our local nursing home often.  We knew some visits were filled with conversation, but other times folks were either napping or extremely quiet and uninterested/unable to chat. 

So our group of two headed to our first room with hopeful expectation to encourage and brighten the day of our assigned new friend.

Can I just tell you our expectation was exceeded in every possible way... but, hear me clearly, it had nothing to do with what we said or did and everything to do with our new friend, Ms Thelma.

As we entered her room, we immediately noticed that she was wheelchair bound, and she quickly let us know that she has had a broken hip for seven years.  At 96 years old, the surgeon determined surgery was not an option.  She also had injuries in both shoulders that would require repair or replacement of rotator cuffs.. again not a surgical option now.  In her own words, "my hearing is challenged, too."

She began to share with us about her life.  Widowed for over 50 years, she had run her own travel agency, served faithfully in ministry, and laid her own patio when she was 86... "because she could and it needed to be done."  Her stories continued ... she made calls for the church to welcome new members for 20 years.  One call she remembered well, the lady on the other end of the phone was crying.  Trying to offer sensitivity, she realized that she must have called at a bad time and offered to call again later.  The new friend quickly relayed her story and that her husband had just lost his job.  Immediately, Ms. Thelma began calling folks that she knew owned their own business... within a short time, the man had a new job! The hands and feet of Jesus..see a need... meet a need.  Ms. Thelma didn't seem to think she had done anything spectacular... just "helping out". 

Our visit continued and over that hour, we listened and laughed.  Toward the end of our visit we asked two questions.... is there anything you need that we can get for you and how can we pray for you?

Her answer to the first was simple... "I've had a real hankering for watermelon lately... if you could bring me some... just sometime, that would be wonderful."  She showed us her salt shaker so she'd be ready for the watermelon.

During our earlier conversation I had asked about pain.  She let us know in a very few words that she had figured out how to maneuver around in the wheelchair backward and learned to only sleep on her back to deal with the hip pain.  Her shoulders hurt some, but it wasn't so bad.  And Ms. Thelma apparently let the nurses (and us) know that she would not be taking "that" pill that kept her alive.  When questioned, she said it was a blood pressure pill.  So my expectation for how we could pray for her was understandably going to be for less pain... even for the Lord to call her home.. she is ready.

Once more she rendered me speechless and humbled by her answer.... she leaned forward with a tender thoughtful look on her face as tears began to form in her beautiful blue eyes...

"Only this, girls, would you pray that everything I say and do in this place would bring a smile to someone's face and joy to their day.  You know there is a lot of sadness here."

Are you challenged...  my prayer for today... from Psalm 19:14

 May these words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer... and may something I say or do today bring a smile to someone's face and joy to their day...

Thank you, Ms. Thelma for reminding me that WE are privileged to bless someone each day by our own words and actions...

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