Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Remember to put Lilacs in the trunk :)

This may be a long post but I hope you read the whole thing and understand the message

So, it was getting toward the end of the yard sale. I had moved the chair for the umpteenth time to stay in the shade, I had flooded myself with coffee to counter the effects of just 3 hours sleep and was making a mental list of what groceries I could buy with the Whole Ten Dollars I had earned from the sale. I started pondering life in general and not really whining about it but, probably because of sleep deprevation, focusing too much on the things that aren't working in my life, and getting bummed because I wasn't seeing many results yet from my efforts. My finances are almost non-existent as I work toward becoming a full time freelance artist/crafter. Things are quite a struggle and sometimes it all gets overwhelming.

So, as I was getting pouty and attempting to stay awake, an old station wagon pulled halfway in to the driveway - which was disconcerting since the tables were all set up IN the driveway. The door opened and an older woman stepped out, leaned in the car to bring out ..... her crutch :)

As she slowly made her way up the driveway, limping as she came, I felt bad that I had a twinge of being annoyed that she had pulled up so far in the driveway! We exchanged pleasantries then she APOLOGIZED for pulling in the driveway and explained that she had hurt her GOOD foot and was trying to walk as little as possible.

In a quiet sweet voice, she began to tell me about herself. She lives in White Cloud but comes down to Grand Rapids on a regular basis to bring her daughter to a facility close to where I live to have dialysis. She continued her story, telling me that her daughter, who is one year younger than me, has been on dialysis for 37 years! I told her I didn't think people lived that long on dialysis! She said she didn't think so either :)

Her daughter became sick when she was 7 years old. At some point, her father gave her one of his kidneys but there was a complication and her body rejected it a week later. I'm not sure of the details but for some reason, when there is a rejection, medicaid doesn't pay for all of the bills for a while so they are dealing with attempting to pay those back.

She told me that she likes to go to yard sales while her daugther is in dialysis so she can find vases. Her daughter likes to make flower arrangements using the fresh flowers that grow on their property and then give them away. She picked out 4 vases and I told her that because of the circumstances, she could just have the vases. She adamantly insisted on paying because that was the right thing to do.

As we were talking, she spied a picture leaning against a chair, up by the garage. It had a poem/blessing on it with a border of flowers. She asked if I was going to sell it. I told her I was planning on it but when I pulled it out of the box it was in, I had noticed it was dirty and faded so I set it aside, thinking I may clean it up later. Then, I offered it to her and she said she would be willing to pay for it. This time I refused telling her I would love to just give it to her and offered to carry it to her car for her. She thanked me and, after wrapping up the vases and accepting her money, we started walking to the car. I also found out they had given a man in town a ride to the clinic because he didn't have a ride to get their own dialysis!

She opened the back of the station wagon and set her vases inside. I handed her the picture I had given her and she said - I have something for you. She reached into a large pot and pulled out the most gorgeous lilacs I'd ever seen. Without thinking, I said - why are you giving these to me?? She said - whenever I come down to Grand Rapids, I always bring flowers from my yard so I can pass them on to people we meet. I told her I love lilacs and it was wonderful that she would give me some! She said - that's why I have them!

I, of course, thanked her as she got back in the car. She told me she was now 70 and, although the cataracts in her eyes made it so she couldn't drive at night, she was still able to drive during the day. As we spoke, she started looking at something leaning against one of the tables in my sale then pointed and asked - are those angels?? I looked at what she was pointing at and told her no - they were actually gingerbread men and Christmas trees, shaped into a wreath. She said - Oh, OK, sometimes the cataracts can make the edges of things look a little blurry. They sure look like angels.

So, let me get this straight - this 70 year old woman has been driving from White Cloud to Grand Rapids for the last 37 years to bring her daughter here for kidney dialysis which is keeping her alive. They have medical bills that I don't think I could even imagine because of a rejected kidney - and a spleen that had to be removed because it was complicating the whole system (I didn't mention that earlier). She has an injury to her GOOD foot that makes her walk very slowly and she has to use a crutch.


Before she gets in the car, she slowly walks to the garden and cuts flowers from her yard so she can pass them out to the people she meets that day, not even knowing who those people will be.


The ailment in her eyes that she doesn't have the money to get corrected causes her to see angels.

As she drove away, I stood there for a few minutes, absorbing and reflecting on what had just happened and what I had learned.

So, yea, things can be bad and the immediate future may look bleak but I (shall I venture to say WE?) need to make sure (in our own special way - which may look different than flowers) we're always carrying lilacs in our trunk so we can give away something to the people we meet - - and we keep looking for angels


JustJaynes said...

Wow, what an amazing story. You were very lucky to meet such a wonderful soul. She must be an angel!

Karin Schueller said...

AWESOME, amazing story, about an awesome, amazing woman! Thanks for sharing Michelinator! :) (You aren't so bad yourself, you know!)

Shelley said...

What a marvelous encounter, and a huge reminder to count our blessings. Thanks for sharing.

thatissocute said...

Oh, this is a lovely story! I agree with Cathy - she is an angel.

One Creative Queen said...

WOW. Things seem to land in my lap at times when I really need to hear them - and this is one of those things. I can't thank you enough for sharing this story - it's beautiful.

Michele said...

You're welcome Queen :) Glad I could pass this along