Monday, May 10, 2010

Of peppermints and Hospice

Giving Day 7:  I've always carried peppermints in my purse. I mostly like to have one when I'm driving or when I need to sit quietly, and I much prefer having a piece of candy to chewing gum.  As such, most Sundays and Wednesdays, I enjoy having a peppermint during the Bible class lessons or sermons.  There is an older couple that usually sit behind us, and through the years, I've been his peppermint-supplier.  But then one day, I ran out, and our local warehouse store didn't carry them any more.  That was several months ago.  I've looked for them elsewhere but never found the ones I want until the afternoon of Day 7 when I spied a large bag at Walmart. 
I was in Walmart that day looking for a Mother's Day card and thinking that buying the card on Mother's  Day and mailing it the day after would absolutely not count towards my giving project.  I was thinking I might pick up a bag of chocolate for the office to use for Day 8, but I still didn't have anything for Day 7.  But when I saw the bag full of red-and-white round discs, I knew what I had to do!  After getting the peppermints home, I found a quart-sized baggie and filled to to the very top where it would barely zip closed and then put the baggie with my church bag for the evening.  When we arrived at services, the couple wasn't there, but they did come in just as things were getting started.  I was so excited to give him the surprise bag of peppermints!  His wife took them from me as I handed them back so she could dole them out to him.  Later on during services, I heard the familiar muffled crackling of the wrapper.  All was well!
Giving Day 8:  When I began college, I met a wonderful couple who served as the Campus Ministers at the church I attended. They were there to help guide us as we were on our own for the first time and keep us focused on what's important - our faith.  They provided me with support, love, kindness, a place to study or just to get away from roommates.  As the years went on and their work shifted to other areas (both continued in areas of support and assistance to others), I would see them from time to time.  They came to my wedding.  I would see them around town at various places and always stop to say hi.  We always picked up right where we left off.  
 In recent years, she began an arduous battle with cancer.  Much of it was during a time that I didn't see them; her battle kept them from their usual places which meant I didn't run into them.  Time went on.  We became friends on Facebook, and about a year and a half ago, we got together on purpose for lunch. She was doing well at the time, but then the cancer came back.  And this time there isn't much left to do but manage the pain.  I got word that she is at the local hospice house, but my contact wasn't sure if she was still there or not. 
So this morning as I was driving to work, I felt compelled to find out.  My workplace is only a few blocks away, so I thought I would get into the office and call to find out.  But as I was driving, my car turned down the road to the house rather than to the office. And I am so glad it did.  She was awake and alert and seemed glad to see me and for the visit. Her husband was out getting coffee at the time, so I sat with her until after he came back. It was so good to see both of them.  My gift today was the visit and I hope a bit of encouragement and a lot of love. Some people have an effect on you that lasts a lifetime.  For me, she's one of those people.  A blessing.  My thoughts and prayers will continue with them.
And a great big shout-out to Hospice!  My charity of choice.

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