Dear friends. This rumination is of my dear friend, Sylvia. It is part of our last face-to-face conversation we had before she passed away. Her late husband, Deacon Al, had passed away earlier.
“After Al passed away you asked me to help you with the master bedroom.”
Sylvia replied, “Yes, that’s right. I wasn’t comfortable sleeping in there after Al’s death.”
“I picked a warm paint color, painted the room, and rearranged the furniture. We shopped for window treatments, which I hung for you.”
“Amazingly you finished it in one day and the room no longer looked the same! I couldn’t believe it was the same room!” Sylvia remarked.
“Then that led to the master bath.” I kidded.
“Well, you were the one who said that the walls in the master bathroom were so white it made the room feel cold and sterile.”
I gave Sylvia a sheepish grin. “I’m guilty. I did say that didn’t I?”
We both laughed. And this is pretty much how the discussion went.
“We used a new striped shower curtain as an inspiration piece for the room.”
“Yes! And I love what you did! You painted vertical lines in the room using the same colors as the shower curtain. When you finished it looked just like wallpaper, not paint!”
“I’m glad you liked it. It was fairly easy to do. I painted the entire room first with a flat paint. Then I simply taped vertical lines that went from the ceiling to the floor. Then I used semi-gloss paint in the same color for the stripes. This created warmth and elegance.
Silence. Then a sudden notion seemed to come over Sylvia.
“Do you realize you have put your touch on every room in my home except for the office and laundry room?”
“Well now that you mentioned it, I guess I have. If people I love come to me in search of cutting their hair, or need help installing a garbage disposal, or needing assistance in understanding their tax returns, or need an extra player in a league of women bowlers, I’m afraid they would be out of luck. But there is one thing I definitely can do for a person and that’s help them make a home.”
We both smiled.
Over the years Sylvia had been there for me in good times and bad, she supported me and offered me guidance, as well as love and laughter when I needed it most.
“It’s a fact that my life hasn’t always been easy. And, yes, if I counted both good and bad, I had probably experienced more than most people do in two lifetimes. But I had an angel to see me through all of it. I had you to teach me all along,” I said.
With tears rolling down her face, Sylvia clutched her heart with the palms of her hands. Then she said, “Oh Michele. What a life you’ve had.”
“Don’t cry Sylvia. You’ve been a blessing in my life from the very first day, and I can’t hold back my gratitude. I love you more than you’ll ever imagine. Thank you for being a supportive and caring friend. I love you.”
We both cried. We both reached for the box of Kleenex. Tears call for tissues.
“You really should write a book, Michele.”
Silence. Then I smiled.
“It would make an amazing story. Wouldn’t it?”
“Yes, Michele, it would. You are an amazing woman,” praised Sylvia.
“God has taught me tremendous lessons of faith in times of my hardships. He refocused my life so that my heart was trained on Him and not on my selfish desires. I believe hardships, whether we endure them or not, is a part of life, and no one is exempt from them.”
“That’s true, Michele. But you’ve had more than your fair share of hardships.”
“But look at far I’ve come, thanks to you,” I said with pride and sincere appreciation.
“And that is why you really do need to tell your story.”
Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other. Sylvia was one of my greatest mentors. She gave me counsel. She taught me to believe and trust in God. She changed my life. I could never adequately pay her back.
Thank you Sylvia, for loving and sharing, for giving and for always caring – God bless and keep you ’til we meet again.