These are difficult times. These are also times to reflect and hopefully grow in our faith in God and compassion for each other.
In keeping with our “social distancing”, Terry and I have stayed up in our condo, working at our computers. Our one indulgence is walking in the nearby park. It is like a ghost town since the Coronavirus came into focus. We may pass two or three couples on our two mile walk. Today, we met a man which reminded me that in these tumultuous days, we still need each other.
It was a cool and overcast morning, one which I love! The lake was filled with quacking ducks. Our dogs Mollie and Maisie believe it is their duty to herd these ducks into place…in the water! There were fisherman all keeping their distance from each other. It was a perfect morning to get a bit of exercise.
As we started out, we saw a solitary man coming toward us, clutching an object in his hands. He appeared upset and about to cry. My nursing instincts kicked in. I thought, “He looks like someone who might need to be in the psych ward!” Terry asked, “Did you see that man?” with the caring heart of a pastor. We continued walking around the lake sharing our thoughts. I told Terry, “I would not talk to him unless I have hospital security near me. I don’t see any security around here…just fishermen and ducks!”
We continued on enjoying the cool weather and the new spring leaves coming out on the trees. I started to turn left to take our regular route, but Terry said “Wait—let’s go back this way. The man is coming down this path”. We have been married 39 years this year…we are old school and in our marriage vows, I promised to obey…RATS!
Sure enough, the man was coming toward us, clutching the small box to his chest. He sat down on a bench and as we approached, Terry asked him, “Are you OK?” Immediately, tears rolled down the man’s face. He hesitated, but then started his story.
“I lost my home in Paradise, California in the fires. I relocated here in Payson. I had to go back to California to settle some business, and while I was gone, my dog, who has been with me through the fire and the move, died suddenly of pancreatic cancer. I just got her ashes. She loved to walk around this lake with me, so I am taking her for one last walk”.
How awful I felt for my judgements toward this man who was grieving on that cloudy day. I immediately repented in my heart and the Lord brought this thought to me…
Each person I meet is carrying a story. In this time of social distancing, may I not allow my heart to be distant.
Care like Jesus.