(I wrote this post three years ago. I still have dreams of Ms. Anna. One last night in fact, and so I repost in honor of her memory)
I’ve often wondered why God placed my family in
Years ago I became involved in a ‘Lunch/Hospital Ministry’ with others from my church. Once a week the sack lunches are handed out to family members who are waiting for loved ones in the intensive care areas of the local hospitals. That simple act of kindness has generated some amazing connections to the lives of ordinary people facing trying circumstances.
It was during those times I met Miss Anna, a 90 year old cleaning lady who worked at one of the hospitals. God brought this lady in her beautiful ebony skin into my life along side my ivory skin to blend us together into what I hope in time became beautiful music to God’s ears. I know it was to mine.
Miss Anna touched my life in so many ways with her understated wit and accepting charms.
If you look at our picture, you will see that Ms. Anna and I are like the keys on the piano board…ebony and ivory, sitting side by side, working together in perfect harmony. Ms. Anna and I shared so much together, especially in these last several months after she went through the loss of her leg.
Over the months after her amputation, we shared time, smiles, food, stories, grief, laughter, and love. The beauty of our friendship created music within my heart, giving me much joy. But there was also beauty in the quiet moments. It was out of the willingness to sit in the quiet, that our most beautiful conversations were born. I learned to accept the quiet that so many find uncomfortable for I saw that love was working in the quiet. Ms. Anna was not a big talker, but by letting the quiet moments happen, it gave her time to think, and eventually love poured out of her towards me like a beautiful song.
Ms. Anna was a real soldier. To look at her tiny frame, you wouldn’t picture her that way. Over time I began to ask her questions about her life and she slowly and in little pieces shared with me. During an era of racial backwardness, she worked hard to help make a living for her family and continued to work up to the age of 90. She never once complained, had a heart of gold, and had much strength in that fragile looking body. She loved the Lord and that is where she gained her strength.
She had a harmony about her that few may ever find in their own lives. A harmony like the blending of beautiful music…like a piano with its ebony and ivory notes. Love, like music is a universal language ALL understand…hhmmm, pondering…
A few months ago Miss Anna went to the doctor to look at a growth on her foot. It wasn’t good and no amount of treatment would cure it. Reluctantly, she agreed with the doctors to have her leg amputated…fully expecting to return to work as soon as she could get up and about. Initially her spirits remained high and when I would visit her in the hospital she would light up, but over time her spirit began to fade.
Eventually they moved her to a nursing home and even though I visited her every week, I could tell her spirit was declining even more. When she was told she would never be able to go back to work, she lost her will to go on. This week, the Lord brought her home.
I’ve known Ms. Anna for almost 7 years but it wasn’t until this last year she gave me a nickname. I was so tickled the first time she called me Baby Doll. . .it was also the first time she said she loved me. A nurse at the nursing home asked one day while I was there how Ms. Anna and I met. Ms. Anna piped right up saying that we had fallen in love with each other years ago at the hospital. I am so blessed that we could hold hands, eat together, share our stories, pray together to the same God who created us both and loves us both, sacrificed for both of us, and has prepared a home for both of us with Him. Maybe we can sit on each others porches. Or, she could skip to a pond with me if there is one.
Just coming off of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I can’t help but be saddened at thinking of all the past dissention between ebonies and ivories. Many never learned how to blend together to live in harmony. Many beautiful moments were lost, or never happened because one could not see the beauty of the other. I believe and hope it is much better today and will continue so one does not lose out on their own beautiful song God may have for them.
I love old hymns, and there is an old negro spiritual that I found recently that I believe puts our relationship into perspective.
In Christ There Is No East or West
In Christ there is no east or west, in Him no South or North; but one great fellowship of love through-out the whole side earth.
In Him shall true hearts everywhere their high communion find; His service is the golden cord, close binding all mankind.
Join hands, then, brothers of the faith( and sisters too) what-e’er your race may be; who serves my Father as a son is surely kin to me.
In Christ now meet both east and west, In Him meet south and north; all Christly souls are one in Him, through-out the whole wide earth. Amen.
Ms. Anna, Our souls are one in Him. . .You were a beautiful song!
We will meet again. . .I love you
Your Baby Doll