Zita stormed into Laura’s house like a force to be reckoned with. For as long as we had known her, she would unapologetically trample through any room, using one hand to poke items—or people—with her cane, while wildly gesticulating with the other. We knew she wanted to visit her sister, but today was definitely not a good day.
Aunt Laura’s cancer had moved to her brain, causing unrelenting pain. Meanwhile, my mother and I were running a two-woman relay race of diaper and sheet changes, feeding tube cleanings, and endless night shifts. Where was mercy for Aunt Laura’s pain and suffering? I’d like to speak to the manager, please.
With her cane swinging with full force, Zita headed straight for the kitchen. Before we could say anything, a wonderful aroma filled the air. Behind Zita came her daughter-in-law Cielo, carrying pots of food.
Heavenly calm came over the room as Zita peacefully made her way to the stove and warmed up all the food she had prepared for us. My mother, holding back tears, said, “You didn’t have to.” Zita gently put her hand on my mom’s shoulder, “Yes, I did.”
Just when we were emotionally spent, exhausted and hungry, we received the nourishment we needed at the most unexpected time, in the most surprising way.
When someone surprises us with their compassion, God is present. If only Bildad had been the kind of friend who understood that.
Who has surprised you with their compassion? Who have you surprised in such a way that God felt present in the situation?
God, help us to not miss the many ways you reach out to nourish us. May our assumptions about others never keep us from recognizing and accepting the gifts you offer us through them. Amen.