Yesterday I said goodbye to a dear woman. She lived to the ripe age of ninety, surviving her husband and son. I smiled during the service when I thought about the gift this lovely woman gave me. She never knew how much she taught me about myself.
I met Jane five years ago after the death of her husband. Due to health issues, she couldn’t stay alone more than a few hours at a time. Her daughter asked me if I would stay with her at night.
For three weeks, I drove to her home late in the afternoon. We prepared and ate dinner together. Then, we retired to the family room to listen to music or watch television. But, throughout the evening, we mostly talked. At ten o’clock every night, Jane took her weary body to bed. Once she fell asleep, I retired to the room across the hall from her. In the morning after breakfast, I left for home, only to return later in the day.
On Sundays, I drove Jane to church—the church she and her husband attended for fifty plus years. After Mass, we stopped to buy flowers and headed to the cemetery to place them on the graves of her husband and son. Then we went to Denny’s, her favorite place for brunch. She knew all of the servers and regulars at the restaurant and made sure I walked out of there with new friends.
The weeks went by quickly. During our many hours together, Jane shared her life story. I listened to this woman, intrigued by what she told me. She talked endlessly about her Joe. The stories were fascinating, and I felt as if I knew her family well.
On the drive to my house one morning, I found my creativity blooming. I decided I needed to express myself in a new avenue. Thus began my adventure in writing.
Since that time, I have written two stories and 50,000 words of a third. I am obsessed with writing. I find my creativity continues to grow and make it a point to nurture the artist within me. I know I’m not alone on my journey. When I sit at my computer, I am amazed when the words God brings to mind flow from my fingertips. I am elated and full of JOY at the turn my life has taken.
I told Jane’s daughter and grandson that their loved one is the reason I write. She brought out an excitement for life in me. She lit a flame of inspiration deep within me. I learned something about myself during those three weeks in 2011. I learned of a passion deep inside—one that sat dormant for sixty years. On January 1, 2012, I wrote my first words, and I haven’t stopped.
Yesterday, the priest used the words everlasting JOY in regards to what Jane has now. I thank her, from the bottom of my heart, for what she gave to me. There is no better way to say it than everlasting JOY.
If I could speak to Jane today, I would say, “Thank you for sharing the journey of your life with me. Thank you for sparking passion in my heart and helping me realize I have a God-given gift. I will always remember your smiling face and sweet voice as you shared your heart. I am thankful God intersected our paths. As you took your last breath, I bet you JOYfully ran into your Joe’s arms, and Jesus smiled as he engulfed both of you in His loving embrace. I miss you, but you’re in a perfect place. I will love you forever.”
Each of us has someone who has taught or shown us something valuable about ourselves. Many times, that someone is a parent, grandparent, teacher, or friend. Sometimes the person is a spouse, child, or stranger. Right about now, a person who encouraged you has come to your mind and heart. Perhaps there’s a smile on your face and your heart beats with JOY at the thought of what this person gave to you.
Who inspired you? Who took you under their wing and taught you something about yourself? What did he or she encourage you to do—become a better person, listen to others, get out of your shell, love? Perhaps you discovered you could write, draw, or run a marathon. The readers and I would love to hear about your passion. When were you inspired? Who helped you be more than you thought you could be? Click on the Leave a Reply button and share your JOYous journey with us.
Be blessed today, my friend. Thank the person who inspired you. Thank God for bringing that special person into your life. Experience the JOY that comes your way.