Monday, March 8, 2010
This little light of mine...
She caught my attention right off the bat. The lady knows how to dress and I immediately admired her sense of style. She accessorizes with the most awesome jewelry, shoes and handbags and always looks just so cute and put-together! She sometimes wears a jaunty little hat or a beautiful scarf. She told me once we'd have to go shopping for purses. I was thrilled. However, I'm still waiting for that opportunity. I have great hopes of learning her secrets about being a fashionista.
She has a great sense of humor, a great sense of fun and God's light shines from her heart and her life. Dorothy is in her 80s. I was so surprised when I learned this. She worked for the Social Security Division until she was 79 - how tremendous is that? As we got to know each other better, I learned, for several years, she rode the city bus to work downtown. She rode the same bus my mother rode and whenever she meets my mom, she always greets her and calls her Bus #69. It always cracks me up - They don't know each other's name but they know their bus number.
Until recently, Dorothy lived by herself. During the past year she has had a little challenge with her health and now she lives in an assisted-living apartment complex. She never complains. As usual, she has just found her circumstances provide her with a wealth of opportunity to share God's love and to be a source of encouragement for others around her. For instance, she had a male nurse caring for her during a hospital stay. The nurse had a tattoo of a cross on his arm and so Dorothy asked him what it was all about. She told him he needed to know the story of Jesus if he was going to wear his picture on his arm and then invited him to church.
When Dorothy first moved to the apartment complex my husband and I went to visit. Her apartment is not too large and is very quiet. She told me she doesn't get bored, really, because she is very good at entertaining herself. She likes to read and she likes to do her Bible Study. My husband, Joe, plays the guitar at church and Dorothy always shares how much she enjoys it. He thought he would maybe bring his guitar with him the next time we came to visit; so, he asked Dorothy about her favorite type of music - thinking she would tell him a favorite traditional hymn or chorus - something he could play for her. Dorothy looked at Joe and told him she just loves jazz - the Charlie Parker variety. I think Joe may just buy her a CD. He doesn't know much ragtime jazz.
The Episcopal church we attend offers our facility to another group for Sunday worship. This Pentecostal church meets in our space on Sunday afternoons. Dorothy and Joe, not my husband - another member of our congregation, often visit this service, as well. I asked Dorothy about it and she told me she loves the enthusiasm of the worship. She says, "They know how to let loose".
Dorothy is always about sharing God's love to everyone she comes across. The apartment complex has a bus she rides, on occasion, to church on Sunday mornings. She tells us, as she walks through the lobby to get on the bus, she always invites the people visiting in the lobby to join her An older gentleman tells her he may just take her up on the invitation. But, not if there will be any "wailing" going on. She just smiles and invites him to "come along and see".
I love that about her. She has such a sense of who she is and who God is. She has lived her life for Him for a long time and knows Him well.
I hope I live my life certain of who I am and who God is. I hope I live my life in such a way that my light shines brightly with God's love - that I am so full of Him that the light just spills over and shines on everything and everyone around me.
Joe and I took Dorothy home from church one Sunday morning. The image is still with me - of her climbing out of the back seat. Joe is standing outside her door, helping her to stand and making sure her bright red walker is placed steady and ready for her. She takes hold of the handles, tosses her scarf over her shoulder and tells us her little red horse is ready to go. She tells us we are a blessing to her and then she is off - scooting her way to the front door. That is Dorothy - on her way to share God's heart. And, for some reason, that old song - "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..." is running through my head.