She arrived before anyone else, at 10 instead of 12, dropped off in the parking lot and then wouldn’t accept our offer to wait inside.
We walked past and past again unloading our cars, setting up the luncheon and Christmas festivities.
She waited, her notepad propped carefully, her arms balanced on the arms of her rolling walker.
She waited, I began to sense her an observer.
“Was she making notes about her observing of us now?” I wondered.
Today is the fifth day of Advent, the focus on the hopeful waiting for Christ and Christmas.
I painted last night, it was a must.
Because the woman who arrived two hours early was left without a ride home and we were together for more hours as she called those who’d promised to be there and then called again to be met by straight to voice mail answers.
We were together, she and I and another person left without a ride.
We were together in the parking lot of the place where the promised person said they’d meet us.
So, she asked about my children and I asked about hers. This led to asking about my life and then, finally led to asking about Jesus and her telling me about heaven.
You see, she said she died once. The doctor said for 17 minutes. She went to heaven; she saw her family and yet, she said she was given the chance to come back and live.
Now, if you know my job and know this event, you may be thinking, I pray not, “Well, that woman’s crazy.”
I pray you don’t think that, say that.
Because, here’s where our talk went next.
After reaching a family member late in the afternoon, we moved from one parking lot to the other and were confident she was on the way to meet us.
Her telling me of heaven continued, she told me about the angels.
She said they are beautiful; but, have no wings and that’s because they’re not nearly as far from earth as we’d assume.
They have no wings because they’re only just a little above the ground.
I looked towards her, she’d rarely looked my way, her conversation a retelling, a divine appointment, I am sure.
I sensed her calling, her calling to be with me.
I, with her, not my normal way.
Because I’m guilty of being grouchy at the end of the day and I’m sorry to admit, I’m the first to accept an offer for someone else to stay behind, handle the loose ends like giving rides to stranded people.
But, not yesterday, I decided to be the one who helped this woman.
Help, not the best choice of words, more like simply being with, seeing it to the end, not so much like helping at all.
More divine, my day had been ordered by God I began to see, see even better looking back on.
I’m sure I was beaming when I told her I painted and that my angels have no wings and most often no expression on their faces.
She smiled only slightly like “Yes” and I looked towards the car to our right, “Is this you ride?” I asked and it was, she answered, how did we miss them pulling in?
Her daughter thanked me, her grandson smiled, said “Hey, Nanni” and we unloaded her gifts and helped her from my car.
I walked over and hugged her softly,
“Merry Christmas.” I said.
She paused and finally, she turned and saw me straight on and open, told me she will be praying for me, that she is going to pray for my angel paintings to become as God has planned.
She meant it, I know.
I thanked her.
Then went home, dark by now and changed from Christmas red outfit to paint splattered apron.
I painted a new layer over the frantic looking wings I’d painted on a new piece, thinking I’d try something new; but, certain it was all wrong.
And now I understand.
Understanding what it means to have God mindful of me, of us down here amongst one another, just barely below or maybe even sitting beside the angels.
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.”
Psalm 8:3-5 NIV