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Hanging laundry (mostly sheets!), on the line.. ahhh!!
It sure does give off a refreshing feeling. Having clean, sweet-smelling sheets...on the bed!
Reminds me of a verse found in Proverbs 11:25, that says...
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Now,..What in the world - you say? How does this verse tie in with clean sheets?
Let me share with you a little story from last week. And, at first read, of this story - you're going to wonder just how I'm going to tie this story, in with clean sheets, this verse and this quote... well I'm going to try. Hang with me. :)
So, this story... it is a true story (eh. maybe it'll be longer than I thought) and it's one I don't share to gloat over or brag about -its just that this is the way it went down.
Helping someone else - in Jesus' love - who can NEVER return the favor...wow!!
Sure does make one feel good.
Let me start with the back story.
Our family van had been in the garage, one day last week, and it was time to pick it up! This was now an evening of my hubby getting home from work, all of us jumping into his car and running to a neighboring town - about 15 minutes away... doing this all before dinner!! (We decided we would just eat when when we got home... and then be able to stay indoors for the evening. Actually, my hubby did have evening plans - but way later.)
On getting the van - my husband asked me if I'd like to drive it home (giving me some peace & quiet for a few miles - obviously, because the kids are all hungry and whiney-- plus, they need some "just daddy" time, etc....)
Here is where the real story begins!
So, I'm driving down the expressway - and about to take our exit home. When just ahead of me, already driving on the ramp, is a car that I can see is driving on a very flat tire. Now - I'm one that gets frustrated with the limited way we have of communicating to other drivers while driving - regarding flat tires, no brake lights, something is dragging or badly askew, etc.... you know? Anyway. From what I could tell - this looked liked an elderly couple - in this particular vehicle. And - I felt a real concern for their safety.
By now - they are through the light at the end of the ramp and already there are several other cars in between us. I can see this car is going slow... only because I am sure this particular driver doesn't NORMALLY drive too fast - due to being elderly. However, my mind is now racing as to how I could notify them of their very. flat. tire.
I began to pray.
Maybe this car will come up to the next traffic light and I can "saunter" up beside them and "yell" out the window about their tire. Or, better yet. Maybe they'll turn into the local grocery store and I can follow them in there. By now all the other cars, in between us, had taken other side roads or turn offs, or whatever, that now I am the one right behind this vehicle.
Yes!! They pull into the grocery store and I follow.
I follow ever so slowly behind so as not to look like I'm stalking... but, as this car pulls into the handicap parking spot and stops, I pull into the second handicap spot, right beside them and stop, too.
As I pull up beside the elderly lady catches my eye. I roll down the window and motion but she can't understand...or hear me, rather, what I'm saying. Nervously, I get out of my car and she rolls her window down and I ask her if she is aware of her very flat driving-on-the-rim tire.
The look on her face was priceless.
She didn't know.
But this women all tucked up in headscarf and conservative winter coat, with a knit fabric dress completely blew me away with her poise.
She totally kept her calm and thought about what she could do.
She seemed rather unflustered about this tire... though obviously concerned, and grateful that this was discovered.
She was sure she could call Triple A.
But, I thought of my husband... who was "behind" me -- somewhere. I KNEW
he could help!! Oh, but she didn't want to bother him...
We had time to do this...I assured. And, we did.
(He had stopped for gas, and had seen me pull into the grocery store, but his first thought was that I needed to run in there for a quick dinner item or something...)
So, when I convinced this sweet lady to allow me to call or try to get ahold of my hubby to come and help ... he was there within minutes (almost before I had hung up the phone) and I don't know that this lady knew what to think. She was so grateful.
All of a sudden "help" had flocked to her like white on rice and she hadn't even known she was in trouble.
You see - the irony of this moment was this...
She had been helping someone else. She, walking with a cane, herself, had been the one to care for another friend - the other passenger!
The passenger was an obviously "ill" woman, perhaps a cancer patient or on dialysis (I have no idea...) - who had just had appointment at the local hospital. This friend was giving her ill friend a ride home, but first stopping to get a few groceries for this said friend.
We never exchanged names. All I know is that this lady lives in our local town, somewhere, and in her own home, still! The same house for 52 years, and that - "folks tell her she should move to the nursing home - but she doesn't want to go". She smiles with that.. that shrug of shoulders... her independence is willing strong inside her.
By the time the two ladies were finished with their wee bit of grocery shopping my husband had replaced her tire with the "spare donut" that she had in her trunk. Which was flat, too, by the way.. and for the record, we do have a tire pump thinga-ma jiggy in/ as part of our van which Scott was able to use and between our two vehicles.. he had ALL of the right tools with him, as well, - Oh, and our kids were about to kill each other... for waiting. But, they soon got over it.
I just can't get over the providential timing of this whole story. It taught our kids a great and valuable lesson - on being available to love on others (with the real love of Jesus!) when those same folks can never, NEVER return that same favor to us.
That is how we can refresh others and then be refreshed ourselves.
In my opinion this elderly woman's generosity came full circle. Like I said - I have no idea this lady's name. But in my heart of hearts - I want to call her, name her, remember her as Grace!
This moment was covered in grace!
Her poise and reaction and humility of not wanting to bother my husband, etc.
She was extending grace - to her friend - who was ill, who needed a ride and groceries.
God's grace was evident in keeping her safe.
God's grace allowed me to see her, follow her and ultimately we could help her.
Yes! This whole thing was simply covered in refreshing grace.
And - guess what! I said I was going to try to tie this in with clean sheets - and well, maybe I have, maybe I haven't- but, one thing I do know it is time to run another load of laundry. And- we've had another "nice & sunny" cold, crisp day, today - one that another line of sheets hanging would look really nice, right about now.