Aaron’s Smiles For Others

Yesterday Aaron and I ran into our Dillon’s on the way home from his day group.  I was picking up a few groceries, and Aaron was on the prowl for two things:  candy, and someone to talk to.

He found his candy while I was finding a package of meat.  He sure is a pro at slipping away behind my back.  I’m sure there are dozens of security videos in Dillon’s that show me walking past all the aisles, straining my neck to look down each one as I search for Aaron.

If he’s not loading up his arms with random snacks that he hopes I will buy, he is finding some of the employees there that he knows.  He bounds over to where they are working, oblivious to the fact that they are busy, and loudly greets them and begins talking as if he’s taking right up where they left off three minutes ago. 

With Aaron’s Good and Plenty’s safely in our cart, Aaron followed me across the store toward the cheese aisle.  I could see that, as usual, his eyes were darting right and left as he searched for someone…anyone…that he even vaguely knew so that more than his eyes would dart straight toward them.

And sure enough, he did.

Or at least thought he did…know this particular man, that is.

Thankfully I still have my peripheral vision.  I saw Aaron detour down the self-checkout aisle.  I was doing a U-turn but wasn’t fast enough to intercept Aaron.

Aaron was headed straight toward a man whom he thought was Harold.  But this man was not Harold.  Harold often works in self-checkout.  He is so nice to Aaron, engaging him in conversation every time they see each other. 

“Hi!!” Aaron blurted out as he headed to Harold who wasn’t Harold.

Aaron was rubbing his hands together in delight and he did his little hop of excitement, his left leg extending out.

Harold who wasn’t Harold had a mixed look on his face…a look of moderate shock, confusion, and…was that fear I saw?

But thankfully understanding dawned on this sweet man’s face and he smiled right back at Aaron just as I was beginning the rescue.

The smiling man followed Aaron back toward me as I explained to him that he looked very much like someone else that we know. 

His smile was huge as he patted Aaron on the back and said that it was just fine. 

Bless him!

“I’m embarrassed,” Aaron softly said as we walked once again toward the cheese.

“Oh, Aaron, it’s OK,” I told him.   “That man looked a lot like Harold.  He understood and he was just fine.”

“Well,” Aaron responded, “I can smile at other people, too.”

The coolness of the cheese aisle couldn’t take away the warm glow in my heart that came from Aaron’s words.

“You absolutely can smile at others, Aaron,” I told him.  “Smiling at others is wonderful!”

Aaron deals with so much.  He came home and had a seizure soon after all those smiles.

But smile he will! 

And I can’t think of a better was to start our New Year than to remember Aaron’s words.

We can smile at other people, too.  People we don’t know but people who probably need a kind smile as they walk down the store aisles. 

While I scanned my meat, Aaron’s Good and Plenty’s, and my cheese I finally found, I realized that Aaron wasn’t with me.

You guessed it.

He found the real Harold who was very busy at a nearby register, with Aaron close beside him…Aaron, rubbing his hands together…smiling and talking.

“Oh dear,” I thought.  “I need to rescue Harold.  And the poor puzzled customers.”

“Well, hi there!” Harold said.  “UNCLE!!”

Aaron’s smile was bigger than ever and so was my heart.

Bless Harold and everyone who has a heart for the Aarons of the world.

Let’s all try to share our smiles and to be kind to all the “other people” that we encounter.

Have a Smiling Happy New Year!!

The Sudden Dark Clouds

The other morning, I looked out my favorite upstairs window and saw this very pretty sky.  The puffy clouds and the sunshine reminded me of summer.

Not long after, however, I noticed from another room that it seemed darker outside.  I went back to the window and was shocked at what I saw.

Whoa!  In such a short time the scene had totally changed.  We went from bright and happy to dark and foreboding very quickly as a cold front began blowing in.

I have had those sudden dark times in my life. 

That Sunday years ago when our normal day turned into terror as Aaron lay on our kitchen floor, seizing violently.  The blur of a frantic call to the medical clinic…the ambulance…the German children’s hospital.  The stabs of deep fear mixed with the frustration of the language barrier and the culture that was in many ways unfamiliar. 

We went from worshipping God at church that morning to being blind-sided by a situation that we were totally unprepared for.

But let me tell you that Psalm 18:28 is true!

            “The Lord my God illumines my darkness.”

He was there with us in that foreign hospital room, during all the tests, and the diagnosis…and He has not stopped walking with us on this road of special needs.

My prayer list keeps getting longer with names of so many who are hurting and struggling through various sudden changes.

Gary’s cousin, now a much-too-young widower whose precious wife collapsed and was gone.

A friend’s daughter…a young wife and mother…fighting cancer.

A cousin and a friend recently widowed.

Jobs ended.

Marriages over.

Cancer returning.

Listen to what else David says in Psalm 27:1:

            “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”

God brightens the unknown!

His light shines brightest in the dark.

His character positively glows in our deepest hurts and with our tear-stained cheeks.

And we have no reason to fear because He is fighting for us.  Psalm 27:1 continues:

            “The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?”

I love the song, Blessings, by Laura Story.  Read the lyrics:

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace

Comfort for family, protection while we sleep

We pray for healing, for prosperity

We pray for Your mighty hand

To ease our suffering

And all the while, You hear each spoken need

Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?

What if Your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear

And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near

We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love

As if every promise from Your word is not enough

And all the while, You hear each desperate plea

And long that we’d have faith to believe.

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?

What if Your healing comes through tears?

And what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

And what if trials of this life

Are Your mercies in disguise?

I saw this beautiful scene a short time later, after the scary dark clouds had gone away, and I was reminded that God is still our light and our salvation.

Don’t fear, dear ones.  God is still there in the clouds, and He WILL illumine your darkness with His sweet presence.

Aaron is Still…….

Time slips so quickly away from me.  I feel the frustration of having more to do than I have hours in the day.  Blogging regularly is one of the things that continually gets pushed onto the back burner of my life.

Speaking of back burners, our kitchen is nearly finished.  We’ve been fully using it for several weeks now.  I love it!   Our second new refrigerator was delivered a week ago.  Our first new fridge didn’t work for even one second and it was an ordeal getting the company to approve and deliver a new one.  Just another first world problem.  Our refrigerator in the garage filled the need.  All our furniture is in the family room and other rooms.  We slowly are settling in and are very thankful for Luke’s diligence during a difficult process due to supply issues and being short staffed.  We have no complaints.  I will show pictures when the kitchen is totally done.  Did I say we LOVE it?!

So many times, as we live life with Aaron, I find myself saying, “Oh, I want to share this!”  Yet this life with Aaron is one reason that I DON’T get to share all that I want.  He does keep me very busy.  So, let me just give a quick update and maybe more expounding will come later…but don’t hold your breath too long.

Aaron is still an adventure sitting across the table when we eat out.

Epic straw wrapper blowing, Aaron!

Or when we go shopping.

He is still trying to get Moe, our neighbor’s cat, out from under Gary’s truck.

He is still talking to our neighbors EVERY chance he gets…and we are still so thankful for very patient and understanding neighbors who are true friends.  Gina sent me this picture and said, “I took this the other night when he was telling us all about life!”  Derek has the same look on his face that we often do!  😊  😊

He is still popping over to Amanda and Colby’s house, where she put him to work one recent night making Kool-Aid.

He is still melting our hearts with his sweet relationship with Mollie.

He is still sharing things with everybody, like making sure we took this new pack of gum to Andrew a couple weeks ago when we spent time with him at a race. 

He shares this life of his with me and Gary every single day. 

What Aaron shares is funny and fascinating and sometimes very frustrating. 

Gary and I often laugh and always listen to his abundant talking.

But the frustrating parts of Aaron…well, we still know that we need to handle that with the same grace that God extends to us…every single day.

Easier said than done…and the subject of another blog…maybe…when life settles down.

Did I say don’t hold your breath?  😊 

UNCLE Aaron!!

We got the BEST news on Sunday night. I had been talking to our daughter, Andrea, for over two hours. We were winding things down when she asked if I would go get Gary…that she and Kyle had something to show him on Facetime…and I just assumed it was something they wanted him to see about the big door installation they had worked on when we were there last month.

We were soon chatting when Andrea said they had a picture to show us, which she then texted to me and Gary. Here is the totally adorable picture she sent:

And oh my goodness, the surprise was real! I whooped and hollered, and we laughed and I cried and it was so wonderful!! Our first grandchild!!

We got our son, Andrew, on Facetime and his reaction was equally fun.

We wondered about when to tell Aaron. For the longest time he has asked Andrea when she is going to have a baby. I have told him not to ask that question because it’s personal, but none of that matters to Aaron one bit. He has continued to ask anyway, and she always handles it with humor and patience.

Soon we heard him coming loudly down the stairs. He was surprised to see everyone on the phone screen. I knew this would be the time to tell him.

“Aaron,” I said, “guess what? Andrea is going to have a baby!”

He grinned a huge grin. Then he bent over at his waist and rubbed his hands quickly together while he laughed and laughed. He was thrilled! His reaction tickled us all to pieces.

“You’re going to be Uncle Aaron!!” we told him.

He laughed again as he absorbed that news.

“Andrea!!” he exclaimed, “does that mean you’re going to be fat?”

Andrea was her gracious self while I reminded Aaron for the umpteenth time that you do NOT say a pregnant woman is fat…that she is pregnant, not fat.

Can you tell this isn’t the first time he has made that comment?

Yesterday, Aaron and I were at our neighbor’s house. Suddenly Aaron leaned in to say something to Amanda while he softly rubbed his hands together.

“My sister has a baby in her stomach,” he slowly began, as if in awe. “And the baby is too little to tell if it’s a boy or a girl.”

He spoke softly, not with the exuberance of the night before. It was as if he was sharing the most amazing fact…which it really is.

It was so precious and sweet. Amanda’s face was beaming, as was mine, and Aaron knew that he had shared something very special as he saw our reactions.

And we knew, as we saw his look of wonder and heard the same in his soft voice, that Aaron was getting it.

“Aaron,” Amanda said, “you’re going to be an uncle!”

“I’ll be an uncle!!” he repeated.

Uncle Aaron!

I like the ring of it…and I think Aaron does, too.

Aaron’s Note

I have another funny note story to share.

When we were in Houston last month with our daughter and son-in-law, we also got to see our other son, Andrew.  He was in town because there was an NHRA drag race there, and he works on one of the teams.  

Andrew was able to come over to Kyle and Andrea’s one evening for supper.  While he was there, Aaron ran inside and came back with something for Andrew.  It was a pack of Juicy Fruit gum.  Random, I know, but Aaron loves giving things away and this is what he grabbed for his brother. 

This past Monday morning we got a text from Andrew.  He was getting ready to leave for the track in Richmond.  He sent this picture:

“Tell Aaron I’ve been chewing his Juicy Fruit every morning when I leave for the track.  I’m almost out.  Guess he needs to send more.”  😊

Aaron jumped on that in a flash.  He pulled out his three-pack of unopened Juicy Fruit gum and said he wanted to send that to Andrew.

“Mom,” he directed, “you put it in a box, and I’ll sign a note.”

The plan was made!

I got the box, placed the gum inside, and gave Aaron a piece of paper for him to write his note. 

This is what I later found. 

How I laughed!  But not in front of Aaron. 

Remember my last blog about the note he wrote to Cody?  Here was another note, this one to his brother, and this one also flat and factual with nothing personal added.  Nothing endearing.  Not even a “Love, Aaron” to be found.

Yet this note IS very endearing because it is so very Aaron.  I could have dictated to Aaron what to say, but then it wouldn’t be Aaron’s words from Aaron’s heart and Aaron’s unique ways. 

And those unique ways are what make Aaron endearing in his own right. 

Believe me, there are plenty of times that Aaron’s words and ways are anything but endearing.  But these moments that are totally Aaron are moments that make us smile and make us thankful that we can share in his very special ways.   

Little Huge Gifts For Mom

Last night Aaron and I were headed downstairs to watch a couple shows before bed.  This is our nighttime ritual.  He gathered his blanket, his drink, his new bag of cheese cubes, and his empty bowl in which his cheese cubes would soon be poured. 

Speaking of ritual, Aaron’s life is full of those.  Something as simple as putting his blanket over his outstretched legs requires the ottoman to be just right, his legs on the ottoman while still wearing his slippers AND slipper socks, and then the blanket shaken several times to get out as many wrinkles as possible and to be in just the perfect position to then be pulled up over his legs and onto his lap.  I always cringe when he realizes he has forgotten something because the blanket is thrown back, and the process must be repeated. All of this must occur before we start watching our program. 

Sigh.

After he was sufficiently settled last night, he opened his bag of sharp cheddar cheese cubes and poured them into his bowl.  Aaron will not eat out of the bag.  He must have a bowl for everything, including a bowl for chip crumbs…croissant flakes, as he calls them…the crackers he doesn’t like in his Chex Mix…his Red Hots…peanut shells…  The list is endless. 

Soon our show was on and Aaron was allowed, in his mind, to begin eating his cheese cubes…but only after the opening song was finished.  One does not actually start eating, my friends, until the program has actually begun. 

The store only had sharp cheddar cheese cubes when we went to buy them.  Aaron usually gets mild cheddar.

“So do you like those sharp cheddar cheese cubes, Aaron?” I asked.

“YEAH!!” he declared happily.  “They’re GOOD!”

Soon, without saying a word, he reached over and placed this lone cheese cube beside me.  It was his gift to me.

I’ll be honest.  Sometimes eating food that Aaron has handled can be a challenge for me.  I know where those hands of his may have been.  I see how he puts food into his mouth with those same fingers that are now on the food he wants to give me. 

But how could I say no to this little gift that came straight from his heart?

To Aaron, this little cheese cube comprised a huge gift for Mom.

“Awwww, Aaron, thank you!” I told him as I looked down at the little cheese cube. 

“Oh, Lord, please protect me,” I also added silently as I ate the cheese.   😊

Aaron rubbed his hands together and gave his guttural chuckle as I ate the cheese. 

He was even happier to give me that gift than I was to receive it.

What a small little thing a cube of cheese is!  But what a huge deal it was to Aaron to give it and to watch me receive it with thankfulness.

This long-term mothering of Aaron is full of those sorts of gifts, but often if I’m not careful I don’t see them as such.

I never planned to be actively mothering at this age.  I read that I am considered “elderly” now, though I don’t feel that way.  Yet numbers on paper say that I am.

How can I be this age and still going from morning to night mothering my grown child? 

But here I am, by God’s doing…and may I not ever forget that.  God has led me to this path, and I must trust Him as I walk each step. 

On this Mother’s Day I want to give to each of you who are still fully mothering in your older years a word of love and encouragement.  Whether you are mothering your own child or children, or your grandchildren, please know that your work is not unnoticed by God.  We honor Him by caring for the ones He has given us.

May we see each small milestone…each smile…every hug…and so many other small huge gifts as what they really are.

Gifts from God. 

Through our tears, our fears, our frustrations, our exhaustion, our envy of other’s lives…whatever we are going through – may we not miss those beautiful and small huge gifts around us from our children every day.

Go buy a bag of cheese cubes and have a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Here’s A Rose!

Once again, this year our friend Jody at our local Dillon’s store made sure that Aaron had a box of beautiful red roses to take to his day group on Valentine’s Day.  And this year, unlike last year, Aaron did stay at Paradigm (his day group) all day.  Special days are hard for Aaron – too many expectations on a day full of a party atmosphere.  It all drives Aaron a little crazy. 

My favorite picture of the morning was Aaron’s sheer delight after giving a rose to Antoine, one of his favorite staff. 

Antoine takes Aaron to QuikTrip on most days.  He is so very patient and understanding with Aaron, even when Aaron’s exuberance is a bit much. 

I captured pictures of Aaron giving a rose to Barb, our dear friend in so many ways.

And to Victoria, his very special friend.

Last week Jody saw to it that Aaron and I also had roses to hand out to our Meals on Wheels clients.  Look at the loveliness!

Aaron enjoyed taking a rose to each door and handing one to each of our sweet clients. 

I relish seeing the way Aaron loves giving those roses away.  These are memories tucked happily into my heart. 

Thank you to Jody and to Dillon’s for making those two fun days possible.  The kindness shown and the memories made are truly priceless!

The Special Quarter

I had taken Aaron in for his physical at the air base, which in itself is full of interesting Aaron moments. 

Here’s one:  He was very worried that he would need to give a urine sample, which he completely does not want to do.  We walked up to the counter at the Immunization Clinic to sign him in for a TB test.  I always try hard to be the first one at these windows in order to spare the poor airmen from Aaron’s loudly blurted and random comments or questions.  I indeed was in front of Aaron but this in no way deters Aaron.  As I signed him in and explained what we needed, Aaron pushed his head around the side of the window.

“DO I NEED TO PEE HERE??!!” he loudly and nervously asked.

I have to say that the look on the faces of the two airmen in the clinic was priceless.  I have no idea about the look on my face, but on Aaron’s was a look of panic.  I explained to the airmen as best I could while I tried to calm Aaron and sign him in on the clipboard.  And Aaron continued to ask his question over and over, bless him. 

Most people who encounter Aaron are treated to an impromptu lesson in special needs.  Like the lady yesterday at Wal-Mart in the produce section…the one that Aaron followed as he asked her if she liked cabbage because we were buying cabbage and he just HAD to know if she liked cabbage and why did she like cabbage…  All while I was calling to Aaron to come with me and trying to distract him from his quest to discover if this woman liked cabbage like we like cabbage.

And the dear cashier, who had to answer lots of questions from Aaron and listen to his commentary.  Do you like chocolate cake?  Do you like chocolate icing on your chocolate cake?  Guess what we’re having for supper?  Steak!  Do you like steak?  What kind of steak do you like?  I like boneless.  Do you like boneless?  Mom, what kind of steak are we having…….

Outings with Aaron, of whatever kind, often leave me with a variety of emotions.  Humor.  Embarrassment.  Frustration.  Joy.  Relief…when it’s over!  But mostly, I really do love my times with Aaron, stressful as some situations are. 

After his physical, we went to Jose’ Pepper’s to eat.  His favorite thing to do in all the world is to eat out.  And when he has gotten to know a server, like Emily at Jose’ Pepper’s, then his fun is doubled.  He walked in the door laughing and rubbing his hands together, oblivious to any stares from others.  He immediately spied Emily and he was off, trying to talk to her as the hostess was trying to figure all this out and get us seated, and I was trying to calm and quieten Aaron, and Emily was smiling broadly. 

We do make an entrance.

We were nearly through with our meals when Aaron spied something on the floor beside us.  I followed his gaze as he leaned out of our booth for a closer look.  There on the cement floor was a quarter.  Aaron was out of the booth in a flash!  He picked up his great find and proceeded to examine it closely.

“MOM!!” he very excitedly said, “it’s a state quarter!!  It’s HAWAII!!”

He was beyond happy at this treasure that had been laying right there on the floor for who knows how long.  Look at his wonderful smile.

He did not have a Hawaii quarter.  It is now safely in its place in his state quarter folder. 

For that day, for that moment, Aaron had found a priceless gem.

And I thought, as I watched him so full of delight at something that would be less than impressive to most of us, how this moment is so like my life with Aaron.

Do I focus on the routine life we have?  Do I see him through eyes of frustration or embarrassment?  Yes, I often do.

But I CAN make the choice to view him as a real gem, full of his uniqueness and spontaneity.  Sure, he can be aggravating and especially embarrassing in public, but how funny he is!  How refreshing…sometimes.  😊 

How full of lessons for Gary and for me, and hopefully for many others who encounter him. 

So, when we are walking to our car after our excursions, and I take a deep breath in order to settle my mind and calm my nerves, may I also use that same breath to thank God for the special treasure that He has given me right beside me in this life. 

And may others who bump into Aaron in the produce aisle, the check-in counter, the check-out lane, the restaurant…wherever we are…realize that there are many walking among us who are very special indeed!

What a gift it is to find them!

Stuff or Kindness?

Every Thursday, Aaron and I deliver meals for Meals on Wheels.  This has been such a beneficial activity for both Aaron and me.  I didn’t really expect to see the relationships that have developed between us and the dear people that we briefly visit every week.  Relationships or not, helping others is always a joy but getting to know our older ones on our route has been an extra blessing.

One of those men, Carl, has taken a real liking to Aaron.  Every week now, Carl gives Aaron some special items that he has set aside especially for “my buddy,” as he likes to call Aaron.  Aaron bends over laughing and rubbing his hands together when he sees Carl coming to the door with a little bucket full of shells and special rocks and pictures and all sorts of other random goodies…even a small lantern last week that Aaron has carried all over the house. 

A day or two after our delivery last week, Aaron asked if he could write a thank you note to Carl.  I was very happy that this was Aaron’s idea.  Soon Aaron was hunched over my desk, writing his thanks in his own words.  I smiled when I saw what Aaron wrote.

Well, that was short and to the point, right?

Aaron and I have had some discussions this week about showing kindness.  We always try to instill in Aaron the desire to be kind, no matter his feelings that sometimes overtake him and cause him to be too blunt or unfeeling.

This morning as we were getting ready to leave for our deliveries, Aaron asked about the thank you note.  I told him that it was on my desk.

He stood there looking at the card he had written.

“Mom,” he said, “I don’t want to give Carl the stuff one.  I want to write another one.”

I gave Aaron another blank card and he quickly wrote his note.  I was so touched when I saw his words.

I was blown away to see that Aaron got it.  He realized that kindness is what matters most, not stuff.  The stuff was a sign of Carl’s kindness, but kindness was the greater gift. 

Never ever underestimate the impact that kindness can have upon every single person that God puts into your life, whether for a moment or for a season or for a lifetime. 

The Other Side

 Aaron recently had a tooth pulled and an implant inserted.  He’s really done well with the whole procedure and with healing, as far as we can tell.  But as is the case in every single tiny part of Aaron’s life, autism rules. 

I mean, come on, this is the guy who won’t get up from a program until he watches the credits.  Who, if he has multiple music CD’s from the same artist, will only play them in the order of their production date.  Who will not start eating his popcorn at the theater until the movie we came to watch has actually started.   Who lays his special greeting cards on the bed at night while he reads, just like this.

Who keeps a log book of the time he goes to bed every night and the time he gets up in the morning. 

And who…get this…will only chew on one side of his mouth.  And you can probably guess which side that is.  The side which had the extraction and implant, OF COURSE!!!

This was a huge reason that my stress level was so high as I thought about his recovery.  Gary and I have coached Aaron and encouraged Aaron and demonstrated to Aaron and pled with Aaron to please…just PLEASE…chew on the OTHER side of his mouth.

“I don’t LIKE chewing on that other side,” he asserted over and over.

“So start early and get used to it!” we declared.

“But I can’t TASTE on that other side,” he told us over and over.

Silly parents.

Thinking we could even remotely win this battle was as crazy as…well, as expecting Aaron to chew on the other side of his mouth.

For Aaron…for anyone with autism…there is basically no other side to any matter.  There is one side…one way…to do and to see everything. 

Things came to a head last Wednesday night.  I had fixed Chicken Fajita Soup.  Aaron had eaten and enjoyed this soup in the past, but that was before he was being tormented with all this tooth business.  He was unhappy with the soup.  He was unhappy with me for fixing the soup and for insisting that he eat some soup.  Aaron’s unhappy led to my unhappy. 

That was one side of the matter.  The other side is that Aaron was looking forward to going on our Meals on Wheels route the next day and finally getting to eat out.  We were going to his favorite Mexican restaurant to see his favorite server and eat some soft enchiladas and of course to scarf down a side salad with no croutons and with TWO ranch dressings!

But instead, he had two seizures in the early morning hours.  He stayed home with Gary while I went on our route.  I felt sad for Aaron, but honestly, I needed that alone time.  The previous night had been rough.  I had not gone through Aaron’s normal bedtime routine because I was just so tired on every level.  Instead, we simply said a quick goodnight and I sat at my desk reading some Psalms and praying. 

Those are the times that I do not feel the joy of being Aaron’s mother but instead feel overwhelmed with the burden of caregiving.

I could feel my burden being lightened as I delivered the meals to my elderly clients that morning.  I pulled up to a new client’s house.  It was only my second time to take R. a meal.  She slowly came to the door with her walker.  We talked for a minute and then she began to tell me about her husband who had died a few years earlier.  She had been his caregiver for years before his death.  I was able to share with her some things about Aaron, whom she remembered from the week before.  I felt a bond with her, this new little friend who smiled when I told her that she didn’t look like she was 91 years old.   But then she talked about how lonely she was, and how she felt like she had no purpose…that she just existed.  And I told her that she did have a purpose in God’s eyes and how she had just encouraged me.

I had to run on and deliver more meals.  When I went to C’s house, he immediately asked about Aaron.  He had some things to give to Aaron.  He handed me a plastic pumpkin that was loaded with stickers and rocks that he had painted with Aaron’s name, along with several other items.  I thanked him over and over, and he told me that this was his ministry now since he couldn’t get out like he used to do. 

I told him that his words reminded me of my visit with R…of how she felt useless and with no purpose, but how we all have a purpose in God’s eyes. 

“What’s her name?” he asked.  “I’ll paint her a rock!”

I told him her name and he spelled it to be sure he had it right.  Then he said that his aunt had that first name, and how she lived a few blocks over…that she was alone and was 91 years old.

“That sounds like my new client,” I told him.

He gave me his aunt’s last name. 

And wouldn’t you know it?  His aunt is the new client that I had just talked to, who is so lonely and sad.  He said he would call her and visit with her.

This was a sweet gift to me from God, this reaching down and orchestrating the encouragement that our three hearts needed. 

For R and C were not the only ones who needed that touch from God on that morning.  I needed it, too. 

Yes, I could walk and drive and later go out to eat with Aaron.  I got to go home to a loving husband and live in the purpose that God has given me at this point in my life.

But sometimes God’s purpose for me is not easy, yet it IS all too easy to chafe under the yoke instead of remembering that God has said His yoke is easy when I wear it for Him. 

That’s the other side of God.  He teaches us so much under the stresses and burdens of the lives we live. 

He equips us for the life He has planned for us.

And He surprises us with sweet blessings when, and how, we least expect it.