I am so excited to share another installment of Monday Moments with Mimi with you. Today's post brought a tear to my eye. How often do I rush into a situation, assuming that I know what is going on...but how often am I wrong? I am so thankful for the wisdom of Mimi...Read, share, and enjoy! Shannon :-)
Over the last little bit of time, several of my precious elderly lady friends have faced and are facing extremely serious life-changing surgeries. Even in these later Golden Years, they are still approaching life with a determination that should be applauded. I am privileged to teach the Sunday School Class that some of these ladies have attended. One in particular from my class is now a resident at a retirement/nursing home that I am honored to visit on Thursday nights with our Church Ministry.
In my quiet time this weekend, praying for all of those precious souls, I was reminded of this writing that I did several months ago after one of our nights there. Although, this story is not about anyone that I knew personally, it serves as a stark reminder of how precious and how valuable the friendships of all these ladies are to me. More importantly I have come to appreciate how valuable their life lessons still are for us today.
My Cinderalla Story
Remember the original timeless children’s tale of the beautiful princess whom the glass slipper so easily fit after she lost it at the ball. What a captivating story of a young lass as she quickly went from rags to riches before children’s very eyes, with simply the mere fitting of a glass slipper placed so tenderly on her foot by the young prince – only in a fairy tale!!!!!!!!
A few months ago, I was at a nursing home service where songs were being sung with residents mostly in wheel chairs. One particular older lady was attired a little strangely in her dress for the evening, but she was extremely happy to be there singing songs nevertheless. As a matter of fact, she knew all the words to all the old hymns and mouthed them as she smiled sweetly, with her toothless grin. Her slippers were a little dirty and did not match, and her long sleeve knit top was on backwards and not buttoned up. It was as if she were putting it on, to button up her back, and just never finished dressing. As the program continued, from the corner of my eye I saw that one bedroom slipper had fallen off her tiny foot. It was now lying on the floor in front of her. She continued on singing merrily, tapping her foot in rhythm, but now with only one slipper.
I was in a quandary as to whether to cross the floor in front of all and replace the shoe, or just wait for the attendant to assist. I waited. No one else even noticed. Honestly, I really was not sure how I felt about putting a shoe on this stranger. But while the program continued, my need to have things in “pairs” almost overtook my rational reason for waiting. It’s sort of like the urge to straighten or “fix” a mirror on a wall or “fix” a lipstick mark on someone’s tooth!!!! I wanted to “fix” what appeared not right!!!!
I anxiously kept watching the face and the feet of the one slipper lady, of whose name I did not even know. One question plagued me: Why did I really want to “fix” her shoe? Because, honestly, she was a stranger and who knows where those tiny feet had been?!
Call it a convicting moment or just a loss of my selfish arrogance, but it happened to me. My heart felt checked, and my attitude changed. I could not wait for the program to be over so I would have an opportunity to return the slipper once again to her little foot. So, I did. I raced to her to make sure I would not miss my opportunity to redeem my earlier moment of arrogance. I even made conversation with her as I knelt to retrieve and replace the slipper that had only moments earlier made me feel prideful and reluctant. I then had the privilege of pushing her back through 2 corridors to her room. We talked about friends, family, singing, and the Lord…all on our short trip to her door. I was now pleased with my redemption and my new friend. But, I will never forget the next leg of the trip - entering her room.
When we entered in her shared room, I asked her would she like for me to “fix” her long sleeve top the right way so it would not be on backwards. I felt the need to have my new friend right before I left her. If one shoe was bothersome to me, imagine what the backwards shirt was doing to my “fixing” obsession. Her answer was sweet, but swift – a much deserved sword in my heart. “No thank you, I have a broken arm. See my cast. It runs all the way up my arm. The doctor does not think that it will ever heal. I fell at my daily dialysis, and it’s broken at the shoulder. Dressing like this is the only way I can wear my shirt so that I can leave my room to be with ya’ll singing.”
Would you like to re-read her answer and really feel the sting of her words…this sting that I acutely felt? See, I quickly realized that replacing her slipper and fixing her shirt was really about what I wanted, and not about what she needed. The person in the room that needed to be fixed right before they left was me, was not her.
Granted, that’s not the traditional Cinderella story, but it’s my story of a lady of royalty that went from the proverbial rags to riches before my very eyes and in my very heart. As with the other story, I too had been given the privilege of kneeling and tenderly sliding on a slipper for someone very special.
So now, I will wait and watch for carefully the proverbial older ladies in wheel chairs, with their tops on backwards, sporting only one slipper – they could truly be a Cinderella of a different kind. In the future, I will race to replace their fallen slippers, without worrying about their top’s fashion…… and I will be blessed by their courage, their spirit, and their faithfulness to praise, in spite of their circumstances. Her story taught me much more than the story of Cinderella ever will. Blessings, Mimi (AKA Anne)