Her knock on the door wasn’t a surprise – I had invited her. It was a surprise how it ended. I hadn’t heard from my friend in several weeks and I was concerned because the last time we were together she had been quiet, looking away from me to the sky as her children squealed circles around her. She had whispered to me with head dropped to her chest how lonely she was. I felt she was going into a depression. That’s not surprising these days. So I asked the Lord this morning during my devotional time, what special verse He might have for me to share with her. I wrote out a card for her but my mind was scattered and I couldn’t settle on a specific verse that I should add so I decided to play it by ear and just listen to her. I hoped she would know that she was loved and not forgotten.
When I opened the door, her eyes lit up. She joked with me for a minute and then her French braid bobbed on her back as he bounced off the stairs and headed to the back deck in the sunshine. She seemed herself again. We talked about light-hearted and fun things, had terrible instant-coffee lattes, laughed, and then talked some more about sobering issues. She talked about some truths that she was holding onto, which warmed my heart and then she stood suddenly, and pulled me into a long hug. “Do not worry. It always will be okay,” she said. She patted my back – this girl who I have prayed for, carried in my heart, encouraged, and taught. I have been her mother when her own mom lives oceans away. I have been a grandma to her boys when they needed a cuddle and a bed-time story. In a reversal of roles, she became the word – in broken English - I needed to hear.
That morning, I had received a disturbing email. It was from an organization that told me I would be required to attend a meeting where they would force me to listen to their ideals, and then they would discuss my beliefs, and decide whether or not I would be allowed to continue volunteering. I hadn’t told my friend about the email. The visit was supposed to be about her, not me! I had hoped to share a good word with her, some inspiring truth! Instead, she comforted me with her encouraging and hopeful words – even though she had no clue as to what I was going through.
Some surprise visits with unexpected words are good. Especially the one when The Word came down to us as a baby. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth,” (John1:14). This baby Who came from another Kingdom, Who spoke words we do not always understand, became the One to encourage us. This baby who at one time needed to be carried, fed, taught, read-to and cuddled, surprised us. He is the Word from whom all Good Words come.
I’m still a little anxious about the upcoming meeting. But I will remember that good surprises still happen; that warm and unexpected words can suddenly cheer a heart of despair. Like the time when The Word suddenly surrounded me with a warm hug on the back deck, while drinking coffee, and laughing with a sweet friend. May my words be good too, even if they are a little broken. May they be a surprise visit, full grace and truth, for someone who needs hope in the middle of a hard day.