I was driving around on the cobbled streets of Philadelphia. The air was brittle and cold.
Somewhat terrified by a family issue, I did not know how I could cope with the stress.
I needed someone to talk to but my oldest and dearest friends had moved from the area. And my many acquaintances were not the ones that I could sit down with and unburden my mind. I wished that there was somebody that I could sit down with in a quaint little café and have a cup of tea.
I started to cry. The sobbing that I had been trying to hold in all week came flooding out.
Right before Christmas. Who could I call? Where could I go to talk to somebody? Everybody was busy making cookies, doing last minute shopping and wrapping presents.
God saw my need. I parked my car in a crowded senior-care parking lot.
He sent me to have a fascinating time with the women on Floor 2.
I got off the elevator and gazed at the dozens of people drowsily seated in wheelchairs and at tables. My first thought was ”so many wheelchairs going nowhere.” My second thought was these ladies, just a few short years ago, were probably baking for a special fellowship event at their church.
Plenty of blank stares. Some sad eyes just looking at me. No bright daffodils in vases. No Christmas angels. Nothing that looked like a touch of home.
No one crocheting Christmas ornaments or doing three hundred piece jigsaw puzzles.
Then I was aware of the weight of the basket that I was carrying and the big blue-checkered tote bag, containing 50 animals. I started passing out the stuffed animals and a few angel Christmas ornaments.
Do you have any more of the angels? I love angels.
No, I am sorry, I only had a couple of them.
I sat down on an empty chair surrounded by the people in wheelchairs. An elderly woman approached me. She had tears streaming down her face.
I want to go home. I am supposed to go to church now at Germantown Avenue.
A kind nursing assistant said, “She is new here. Her son just left. I have to distract her. She has dementia. She has no church to go to. She is confused.”
We started singing. The “wheelchairs going nowhere” and me, an odd sort of choral group.
I said to the group of new friends. I bet you have all been through some hard times in your life What got you through them?
There were four special women who stayed in the room after our impromptu singing session ended.
Dora had both of her legs amputated.
I was in a terrible accident 49 years ago. I was hit by a water truck as I was crossing the street. My eyeball came out. The doctor wanted to give me a marble eye. I told him to go to the examining room and put this one back in. That was 49 years ago. I can see. That is the way my God works. In all things, praise Him.
Kay, a frail elderly lady, was more dressed up than the others. She had a very positive attitude.
Oh hard times, yes, I have had plenty. That’s why I memorized this passage from Corinthians many years ago. You have to believe it and have faith. God will show you mercy and grace in times of trial.
God comforts us in all of our afflictions so we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Mary Lou said, I have had a lot of loss but God helps me to focus on what I have. Every day, I say Thank you, God, for giving me today.
Daffodil who was raised in the Caribbean Islands said, Don’t you worry about your children, Honey. They are God’s children. He is their Father.
She prayed what seemed like a 5 minute prayer asking God to be with me and help me cope. Five minutes of straight petitioning and praise to God for strength and courage for a worried mom.
Two hours later, I left with joy in my heart. The tote bag and basket were almost empty and my heart was filled with gladness and gratitude for the four women on Floor 2. They comforted me, consoled me, and assured me that despite the drama that was consuming me that things would be okay.
It was now rush-hour on the highway. I remembered that I had a bag of angel Christmas ornaments in the trunk of my car that someone at Circle of Miracles donated. There were two dozen ceramic angel ornaments.
I turned my van around and went back to the second floor. The ladies on Nursing Home Floor 2 were still there.
I found some more angels for the lady who believes in angels!
I saw four smiling faces. They each took six ornaments out of the bag. And there was a box of chocolates tucked in there, too.
Yes, I am so glad that I had more angels for the four angels who helped me. The air outside was still brittle and cold but my heart felt so peaceful and warm!
And who were the Seniors a few short years ago? What were they doing? And what did they look like? Here are a few interesting photos! These pictures are not of the Seniors in the story above – just pictures of other Seniors and their families that I have met along the way.
About Patricia Gallagher: