When She Held Out Her Hands

What is an average day? It differs for all of us. Some of us sit in an office, and some behind a counter. Some of us stand behind a stove, and yet others drive all day going from one place to another.  My definition of average has changed over the past 16 months. I’ve gone from running one business to working at two, and trying to reopen one. My days are scattered and sometimes frustrating. I spend long days trying to wear three different hats, and sometimes I get down.

This is not an invitation to the pity party by the way.

That will be coming in the mail in the next week or two.  Starting thinking now: chicken or fish?

This week I was in a particular funk. I was in a place where I was even starting to annoy myself, so I can’t imagine what I was doing to the people around me. The problems I’d been fighting for a very long time were still poking at me, and it seemed that every time I found a solution, it just created another problem.  I have been trying to build out a kitchen for my coffee shop for about 14 months. Last week I took delivery on a commercial hot water heater.

It’s even bigger in person.

There very expensive, but I was fortunate to find a used one. It was delivered when I wasn’t there, the timing was all wrong, and it now sits in the middle of the shop. This is a shop I share with the local guitar store. Frustrated? Hell ya. My partner probably hates me, and everyone thinks I’m just a big old loser.

Toot toot…here comes the pity train, and look, it’s right on schedule!

I know no one hates me, but I was feeling decidedly sorry for myself. Sitting alone in the shop, I was bagging coffee for resale (we roast our own) when I saw an older woman in a walker approaching the door.

Oh crap, what does she want? I doubt she’s going to buy a guitar, or want to take lessons. Maybe she will want to buy coffee beans? I decided to  get her in and out as quickly as possible, so I could complete my bagging task, and continue to swim in my bad mood.

She came in and sat down on the seat provided on her walker, and began telling me what she needed.

She and her husband had been dance instructors for about 18 years. She had a stack of albums, mostly big band and she was looking for a turntable. She had no idea what to do with any of the remaining equipment sitting in her living room, and she just wanted to be able to play the albums again.

You see, she lost her husband last June to Alzheimer’s, and several weeks before he passed away she had fallen and broke her back.

There she sat, this lovely tiny woman, right next to the monolith of commercial hot water that was  frustrating me down to my very marrow.  She smiled at me and asked if there I knew anyone who could help her.

Did you hear that, that my friend.  That’s right, that is the sound of a train crashing and falling off a cliff. Toot toot. Buh-bye. 

We talked for about an hour, she shared her life and I shared some of mine. She spoke of how she and her husband taught ballroom dancing. How he suffered for almost 10 years with dementia until he finally passed. How she missed him. They had been marred late in life, and only had about 18 years together, but he was her great love.  About 30 minutes into the conversation, she looked over to her side and asked “What the heck is this thing?”

I laughed. She had been sitting next to my biggest problem of the day, and hadn’t really noticed or cared until then. I lightly explained to her what was going on.

She looked me in the eyes, “You’re like me, you can get through this. Just have faith.”

Faith. Wow, that magical thing that was waxing and waning like a tide in my life. I nodded.

I agreed to help her with her music quest. I told her I had many people who could help her put her stereo back together, and that we could find a turntable for her somewhere.

I walked her out to her car and as she sat she asked if we could pray together. Her hands, full of age and grace, grabbed mine and spoke. She thanked God for us meeting. She said that new friends are a blessing. She asked for God to bless me.

I don’t pray like I use too, but that morning I did. When a woman like that grabs your hands in prayer, you take the gift and fly.

Let me repeat that: when old hands full of grace and wisdom grab your’s in prayer, you pray.

You pray.

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