Okay. I blame this on the fact that I stayed up last night until 1 a.m. working on a murder mystery plot. Seriously.
Today we were supposed to take a neighbor - a lady I'll call Y.. - to church. We've known each other for several years: she's funny, loves to work in her yard, and has a past which is really not... completely past. Earlier in the week I was talking to her about our church and she just asked me (out of the blue) when the service started and told me she really wanted to go.
She said her husband was having to work out of town this past week and although he would come home for the weekend, she just felt like she needed something to do and she'd been thinking about going back to church for a while. (She was raised in church as a kid but that was some decades ago).
I told her I would love to have her go with us. Before we quit visiting, she asked me to come over on Sunday and beat on her bedroom wall at 9 a.m. to make sure she was up and I told her that was no problem.
Last night I asked Phil to go with me to Y's house this morning because they have 3 forty pound dogs and I'm afraid of them. And Y's husband is really bad about leaving the doors unlatched (the dogs can push the front door open) and/or letting them out when people come to call. (Her husband is bi-polar - he's really nice when he's on his meds and not doing pot... However, when he's not on his meds he's a bit anti-social...)
So this morning Phil and I walk over to Y'.s house (me armed with a walking cane for whacking dogs with) and Phil knocks on her window. She doesn't respond so I start yelling her name and reminding her that we're going to church together. WE hear movement and then she comes to the door, obviously trying to wake up (I know how she feels...) She told us she didn't realize it was Sunday and asks what time she needs to be ready. We tell her that we'll be leaving in about an hour and she says that's fine, she'll be ready.
And she was. PHil and I usually travel in separate cars on Sunday morning so that he can serve at a local outreach center. So I pick Y. up - she's looking very nice, dressed appropriately (better than me actually). Her make up and hair look nice and her clothes are color coordinated. She's actually very artistic and I could learn a few things from her in that area, definitely. At any rate, she seems happy and immediately starts talking.
" My husband got home Friday night and he has to leave out again this afternoon for another week b/c they still have to finish up that welding job up in the Northern part of the state. So he asked me yesterday if I could turn him in for his outstanding warrant and when I asked him why, he said he didn't want to go back up North for a week to work, he likes the hotel room okay but he can't stand sharing a room with anybody else. So I told him the warrant he has right now would only get him a fine and wouldn't get him jail time so he needs to just plan on going back to work - he's only got a couple more weeks to go up there. But I may need to call his boss and see if they'll give him a hotel room by himself... If I can't borrow M.'s phone, could I borrow yours after church? My husband got me a phone but he hasn't put any minutes on it yet so it's not much good but at least I've got one..."
Hi Ho, Hi Ho... it's off to church we go...
During the service we're sitting there reading the Bible together, singing together (she has a beautiful voice), and hearing the Word preached. Phil and I both are praying silently like crazy for her, so thankful she's finally sitting in church with us after all these years. I hear her sniffling some during the music and feel sure God is working on her heart. And during one prayer we hold hands with each other - I'm thinking how awesome this is.
At the end of the service the youth leader gets up and announces some upcoming activities which include a paint ball event next Saturday for the teens and whoever else wants to come.
As we're leaving the church, I'm hoping she'll ask the pastor if she can talk to him about her spiritual life, etc. Really, I'm hoping she'll bust out with words like, "Could you tell me how to be saved??" NO ONE who goes to church with us from the 'Hood EVER says that. (Just once, Oh Lord, just once!!!)
Instead she tells him that next Saturday sounds great. I'm totally confused.
As we're walking out to the car, she elaborates. She tells me that she turns 50 on Sunday and that her 17th anniversary is next weekend as well and that the paintball thing on Saturday would be a great way to celebrate their wedding anniversary... if she can talk her husband into it.
I look at her and realize she is serious.
On the way home she talks about how she really needs to call her husband's boss and how she's pretty sure she can use M.'s phone. She thanks me for offering her lunch -Phil and I had hoped Y. and I could talk about things over a quiet meal. However, she has left a pot roast in the oven and needs to get home. Then she tells me how nice it is to have a stove after several years of not having one. She explains that her friend, M., saw this stove sitting out behind a restaurant - obviously about to be discarded - and asked her if she wanted it and she said, "Sure" so they went and got it and it works great.
Then she switches from that to telling me about how one of her husband's friends has a criminal past - well, they all have criminal pasts - but this one gives her the collywoggles. And one day last summer, back when their electricity was turned off for several months, she was taking a long afternoon nap (because what else can you do when it's hot and the middle of the day and you don't have AC?) and she suddenly woke up to find this guy standing over her and she didn't know how he got in her house because altho she doesn't lock her door during the day, she has those three huge dogs who always alert whenever somebody comes onto their property. But they didn't alert this time and she doesn't know if the guy was wearing a pork chop around his neck or what - but he sure got past them that day. So if we see a certain vehicle in her drive while her husband is out of town, we should feel free to come over and beat on her door and check on her because this guy really makes her feel nervous because he's a serious offender, not like their other friends, most of which are just crazy.
All the while she's telling me this, I'm praying for an opening to ask her about spiritual things, etc. Finally, just before we get to her house, I interrupt the free flow of her conversation and mange to squeeze in a couple of sentences. I thank her for going to church with us, and tell her I hope she'll go back with us again next Sunday.
She told me she enjoyed the service, it was nice and relaxing and she didn't know why she cried during the music but she usually does. Anyway, she didn't know if she could go back next Sunday because it's her birthday and she might tie one on the night before but she really enjoyed getting to go today.
|Antiquated would-be |
worker in the 'hood....