“God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.”
~Matthew 5:4 (NLT)
My alarm went off early this morning, and for a brief moment, I wondered why I had volunteered to deliver Thanksgiving meals to the shut-ins. The thought quickly passed, as my brain started to shake off the morning fog, and I got ready and headed out the door.
As I was driving to the soup kitchen to meet friends and pick up the meals, my thoughts quickly turned to my mother. This is the first Thanksgiving since she passed and although I knew my day was going to be good, it just wasn’t going to be the same.
When we got to the third floor of the high-rise and knocked on the door of Apartment 314, we were greeted with a smile by the elderly woman who came to the door. Her name is Ann and she is 97 years old. She told us that she gets around well but that she cannot see very well anymore. After talking with her a few minutes, I asked her if she wanted to pray, which she did. I sent the others with me to continue with the deliveries down the hall, and Ann and I held hands as I prayed with and for her. After we prayed, she hugged me and I went on my way.
A few deliveries, later, we were blessed to meet Mary. Mary is a fragile little woman, 96 years old. I told her that she looked wonderful, and she gave a little laugh, while making a comment about her messy hair. She had a beautiful head of thick, silver hair. We spoke with her for a few moments and I was grateful to hear that her grandchildren were coming to visit her later in the day. She told me that they are the reason God keeps her here, for her grandchildren, because they listen to her. As we were leaving her apartment, she noticed that I was holding my winter coat. I had taken it off because it was sweltering in the corridors of the high-rise. Mary told me to make sure I put my coat on when I go back outside because it is cold. I assured her that I too, like her grandchildren, would listen to her.
There were several things about these encounters that did not go unnoticed with me. My mom’s hugs were THE best and Ann was quite a good hugger herself. Her eyes, which were giving her so much trouble, were the same translucent brown color as my mother.
And then there’s the woman who shares my name, Mary. She had a beautiful head of silver hair. My mother’s gorgeous silver hair was the very first thing that people noticed and commented on when meeting her. Mary reacted to my compliment by taking her hand to her head and stroking her hair, in the exact same way that my mother always did. She also told me to put my coat on as my mother had done hundreds of times throughout my life.
These two women were so thankful to me and my friends for blessing them with the holiday meals. Little did they realize that they were far more of a blessing to me than I could ever possibly be to anyone. It was immediately clear to me that God had orchestrated these meetings for far more than just meal delivery.
Comfort comes in many forms and this Thanksgiving Day, as I lament the absence of my mother, I was richly blessed to be comforted by the presence of these two very lovely ladies. I believe it was St. Francis of Assisi who said, “For it is in giving that we receive.” He could not have been more right.