So in the middle of my recent “grey blob” period as I dealt with a hornet sting, a traumatizing IV insertion, and a really bad infection in my finger, not to mention a crappy farewell with my husband, God graciously served me some wonderful serendipity. As I left the hospital after the IV debacle and just before my finger turned into a throbbing inferno, I had a lovely lunch with my dear friend Sue.
Sue and I had worked together on a woman’s retreat back in May of this year. We spent several months in formation together, meeting and praying on a weekly basis. As the different women discerned for the various roles on the retreat team, Sue and I chose to work in the chapel and also to deal with the ministry that organized the letters of encouragement for the eventual participants.
We made a great team, complementing each other’s different personalities. Me – the larger-than-life, outgoing, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal, and she – the quiet, introspective, not-sure-if-I-can-do-it kinda gal. I really enjoyed working with Sue and we had lots of time to share during the course of the retreat weekend.
Lunch today was the first time we had seen each other since the retreat. I had been travelling and she had been looking after her grandchildren over the summer. I remember seeing her as I crossed the parking lot, sitting outside Panera waiting for me, and I felt this warm fuzzy and thought, “thank you God, Sue is exactly what I need right now”.
We went inside and ordered lunch, found our table and settled down. We talked about so many things, catching each other up on our lives and our comings and goings. Then we went a little deeper and we began to talk about feelings and prayer and spiritual growth. And though we were right there in the middle of a lunch time crowd, we might as well have been on our own desert island.
There was laughter and tears (or lack thereof!!) and we were touching on something quite important for Sue. She had shared something special and personal and God put the right words in my mouth. It was one of those ah-hah moments for her and the light bulb switched on. As we sat in the quiet of that moment, as shared revelations sank into the heart, and tears welled up in her eyes, and I was thanking God for using me to His purpose, I felt a pair of gentle hands on my shoulders.
Turning, I saw with great delight another of our retreat sisters. Hugs were exchanged and we spent a few minutes talking with her before she rejoined her husband for lunch. I turned my attention back to Sue who was shaking her head in disbelief. I smiled and waited for her to speak.
She shook her head as she said, “How amazing is that? The very person who role models the one big thing I have been struggling with these past fifteen years, walks into the restaurant today, while we are having lunch, right after we had been discussing just that thing”. And her eyes filled with tears. I simply said, “There’s nothing amazing about it at all. It’s a God thing. This is how God works when you are open to the growth.”
A little while later we wrapped up our lunch and went our separate ways. I sent a prayer of gratitude to God, thanking Him for the gift of Sue. My time with her had lifted me out of myself and the difficulties I had been experiencing. It had also offered me the opportunity to be an instrument of God and to help someone else.