God sent me a sign…and a new friend…today.
So if you know me, you know patience is not one of my virtues. I am not a patient person…period. We’re talking not even a little bit. Understand my point yet? Because I don’t have the patience to keep explaining it if you don’t.
So you can probably imagine how well I’m handling the printer setback we had. “Never Alone” was almost done printing and we were actually going to hold it in our hands…after three years of writing and then waiting for it to actually happen. And then we had another holdup. We just want the book in our hands. We want to be able to get it to as many people as we can. We know there are so many who need to understand they are never alone. But we also are beginning to understand we can help in many ways. The book is not God. Our goal is to help people understand, to support those suffering…the book is not the only way to do that. Yes God is using us to spread His good. And today He sent us another sign.
The day started out very busy. We had every intention of really sleeping in and being lazy this morning; it seemed a good day to just chill out and catch up after a long weekend of tons of faith, fun, and family. But at 8:15, a semi truck rolled up to our house (note that we live 20 feet from our landscaping and greenhouse services business…Natural Escapes in Cozad). He was loaded with 41 trees and it was time to unload. We began and 8:30 and quickly learned these trees were not only huge, they were completely water saturated…which means they were three times as heavy to move as they normally would be. With me operating the Multitrac (our loader) and my husband climbing in and out of the bucket loading and unloading trees, Jeremy and I were finally done at 10:40. I was exhausted…and Jeremy had done all the manual labor. I just drove a loader. So I can’t even imagine how tired he was! After that, I cleaned up the house (dishes, laundry, vacuuming, a bit of back yard spring cleaning) and dealt with an extremely cranky and stubborn 8-year-old who was pretty sure my grounding him for being disrespectful and mouthy was the end of his entire world. So I truly punished myself by punishing him. The weather was dreary, the attitudes were flying…it was not a good day.
So I walked outside ready to just be cranky, and I saw him. An older gentleman sat on our stump next to my minivan in front of our house. He looked around 70 years old and there was no car to be seen. He explained that he was on a mission to find something, but it became more clear he just needed a friend. I sat with him as he told me about his “lady friend” in another state and his beautiful plans to buy every empty building in Cozad and revitalize the town. From time to time in between and during his stories, I watched tears fall from his eyes. He had walked all around town and his water cup was empty. So I asked if he would like some. I went in and filled his cup he had carried with him with ice and fresh water and brought it back out to him. I still had two boys testing me as I chatted with my new friend, and I smiled when this gentleman looked at my oldest and said, “Didn’t you hear your mom? She told you to knock it off.” I love having parenting support. Hudson just looked at me with a “Can he say that to me?” look. Yes, he can, my son. He’s got more life experience than the four of us combined.
Finally, I asked this man where his tears were coming from. He replied, “Well when you talk to somebody real…” Then I couldn’t stop the tears. I understood.
After about an hour of our chatting, he decided he best walk back home, but he was exhausted and beat up, and I knew God brought him to me for a reason. He told me who he was living with and who his children were, a wonderful family here in town and I knew of them well. So I loaded him up in my van and drove him across town to his home. As we turned the corner leaving my home, he revealed something I had seen in his eyes when he first appeared in front of our home.
“I just got out of the mental hospital in Kearney.”
My response was, “My husband has been in there twice. I get it. It’s not easy to live with depression.”
“That’s what I have. Manic depression. I think about suicide every day.”
“I know. I can see it because we live it. But it’s a lot worse when you think you’re alone.”
I told the man about our book and what we lived and we talked about how God had obviously put us in one another’s lives for a reason. Tears continued to flow. I dropped him off where he lives and chatted with his son for a few minutes. What a beautiful family. To you…you know who you are…you are never alone. God is always with you. Support and love. We are always here for you as well because we know what that life is like…we know how hard it can be. But it gets better. We can be here to support you in lots of ways…one of those ways is to just be someone who will listen when you need to talk. The gentleman ended our conversation with, “When that book comes, I want one. And I want you to sign it. And I want your husband to sign it. And I want your kids to sign it.”
You got it, JJ. I didn’t just help you today. You helped me too.
You helped me understand we can help in lots of ways. There are lots of ways to help those suffering understand none of us are ever alone. Sometimes it’s just listening to your heart and allowing God to use you to support those He loves…everyone.