One of my richest blessings is the friendship I share with a senior friend. The afternoons I spend with her are some of my favorites. We love to share conversation over some Panera soup and half a sandwich and then wander the aisles at a local department store – looking for a new top that will make her feel pretty. She is always delighted if I have “just a few minutes” to come in and visit when I take her home. After our already “visiting” for hours:) She will tell me once again (as if for the first time) all her favorite stories and memories from a life of 90 years. We laugh at the funny parts and tear at the sad ones just like we have every time she shares the story.
Her eyesight is limited and while it really does not slow her down, it is bothersome to her. Poor vision and a fall several years ago, occasionally, make her unsteady on her feet. So, without even thinking about it, when we leave the house, or walk across a parking lot or navigate crowded stores, I take her arm. I make sure she is steady. Her smooth hand gently resting on my arm gives her reassurance. No need to anxious – or to be in a hurry. Simply walking together.
Her poise, evident even while having to rely on another, is reflected in her life as well. She has experienced much. She has known much joy and, as well, much sorrow, loss, and heartache. But her testimony is precious. Just as willing as she is to rely on a friend, she leans on her Lord and allows Him to direct her paths. He keeps her steady. And she is teaching me how to do the same.
One of the things I have most missed during the weeks of quarantine has been true connection. Afternoons over soup. Telling – and retelling – stories. Laughing over games of UNO. Sharing life…and giving hugs. It is the simplest form of hospitality, but no doubt some of the most sincere. I very much miss my senior friends. I may have taken for granted how precious afternoons together were or how much my soul needs them. One more quarantine lesson. I look forward to being together again soon.