Usually I stop at the Mennonite store on Thursdays to pick up a sandwich, milk, and some cheese or chicken salad. Two weeks ago, the Mister and I had lunch together there and found ourselves sitting next to a charming 'plain' couple. The young man was excited because he had seen an Osprey at the local airport taking off and had caught it on his cell phone. He was showing his companion (whom I learned was his sister) and jumped up to show it to the Mister.
He was such a charming young man --- curious, excited, and joyful. We had a delightful conversation and wished each other a wonderful week.
Today I was in that area and decided to stop. There, on the porch, sat the cute young woman, dressed 'plainly', rocking and looking into space. She seemed surrounded by sadness, so I thought perhaps her young man hadn't arrived yet and she was worried. After all, the weather today is dreadful and the traffic even worse.
As I got out of the car, I called up to her, "Hello! How are you today? We met two weeks ago; you and your companion were next to us in the dining room!"
She looked at me and her green eyes filled with tears. "That was my brother. I remember now."
"Are you okay? Is he meeting you here today?"
"No. He was shot. Gunshot."
Immediately my hand went to my mouth and I gasped.
"Is he okay?"
Slowly she shook her head "no." "He died." And she began to sob.
Without thinking, I wrapped my arms around her and tried to comfort her. Slowly, the story came out. He was killed when his gun accidently went off in his holster while he was fencing for a friend. He died almost immediately from a massive wound to the abdomen.
"I was just asking God to help me," she confided. "I just don't know how I will get through this."
We chatted for a while, sharing our faith, her grief, and my shock.
Her friends came out and sat to listen. Finally, I took my leave and went on to do my shopping. When I came out, she was brighter even though her eyes were still liquid with tears. She thanked me for stopping and talking. I told her that I would be remembering her and her family in my prayers and that I knew God would use this tragedy to show His love and faithfulness.
As I drove off, she started rocking again and I could see she was praying. I was grateful that I was able to be there to listen. Here we were, two strangers, but connected through just a few moments of conversation and our mutual sadness over a life ended too soon.
You just never know where God will put you and when. But, when He does, listen.