In searching for another article, I ran across a memory from 2004 and it seems worthwhile to share.
I peered out my hotel window into the dimly lit parking lot. Was that my son and his family at the far end of the lot? I could tell only that it was a large, light-colored vehicle. What could be taking them so long to gather a load of luggage to bring in? I finally gave up.
A few minutes later I returned to the window and saw the travelers—not our son, but a person in a wheelchair. No wonder it had taken her a while to unload! Two little children skipped along beside her.
Our son finally arrived and we had a joyous reunion, so naturally I forgot about the wheel chair occupant and family.
When I went alone to the do-it-yourself breakfast early the next morning, I accumulated my bagel, juice, and coffee and sat at the nearest table. In a moment, a mother and two children entered. As they were looking for a table, I realized that I was at a table for four and that a table for two was empty. As the three of them headed for the small table, I jumped up, gathered together my food and drinks, and insisted that they take the larger table.
“Oh, no, you don’t have to do that!” the mother said, but I’d already moved, so they thanked me and took the table.
A few minutes later, two more children entered with their mother, but this time the mother was the person I’d seen in a wheel chair. They were all dressed neatly with nicely coiffed hair and each started to get food. I couldn’t help but observe that the mother had not only withered legs but very twisted and gnarled hands. Yet she maneuvered her motorized wheel chair around the small space, assisting the children with their breakfast before getting hers. When the little boy—perhaps five years old—had his food, they surveyed the room for a table.
“There’s one, over there,” the mother gestured, pointing to the far side of the crowded room. I wondered how she would manage to get her wheel chair through the maze of tables.
Instantly the mother to whom I’d given my table leaped to her feet and helped her children grab their food. “We’re moving over there. You may have this table,” she said quickly.
As the handicapped mother protested no need, the other family marched across to the other table. As they walked, the young mother looked at me and we both grinned from ear to ear. What a great start for the day!
Later we observed this woman packing her van to continue their trip. The children were minimal help and she was the only adult, but they managed. Extra trips were required, but she got it all done. My husband, however, was privileged to be sitting on a nearby bench when she made her first trip outside on this beautiful spring day.
Gazing at the blue sky, fluffy clouds, and the row of flowering Bradford pear trees nearby, she set her wheel chair to travel in a small circle. As she turned round and round in the parking lot, she gulped in the gorgeous day spread before her. He felt that he had glimpsed a personal and intimate moment as the woman reveled in God’s beauty spread before her.
What perspective we gained on our trivial problems! James tells us to “look after orphans and widows in their distress,” but here was a woman who didn’t let her “distress” keep her from good parenting, traveling, and embracing a beautiful day. I thank God for showing us such an inspiring woman!
This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24