They didn't know I was in town. I knew I couldn't leave without seeing them.
After dinner one evening, I gave them a call. No answer. I called their cell phone. No answer. I called the house phone again. Still no answer.
"What do you want to do?" Laura asked. "Do you want to go over there and check or just wait awhile?"
I hesitated. There are some people in my life that the best (read: only) way to get a hold of them is face-to-face.
"Do you mind if we just run over there?"
We figured they were having Family Time. The phone does not interrupt Family Time but Katie and Laura are welcome to Family Time.
We were wrong.
The phone went unanswered because Ruth was out walking the dog. When we pulled up beside her she gave us a small wave. Her eyes were teary. We parked and ran over to hug her.
"Jesus sent you to me!" She said. Twice.
Her father who, despite being in his 90s, had been doing relatively well had taken a bad turn. She didn't know if he had hours to live or weeks. She didn't know if he'd still me alive in a week when they made the cross-country trip home. She didn't know if she wanted the opportunity to say goodbye or if she would prefer he pass quickly rather than suffer. It had only been a month since her mother went home to heaven.
The three of us walked around the neighborhood hand in hand, tear in tear. Then we sat on the couch together, journeyed back through life, and cried some more. Sometimes we talked. Sometimes we blubbered. Sometimes we sat in silence. We shared life.
We prayed to God. We praised God. We questioned God. We said, "Thy will be done."
Thanks to her sons, we were the hill in a painful rendition of King of the Hill. We were drooled on by the dog. We cleaned up the kitchen.
Laura and I had no idea what to expect when we decided just to go over. But we're so glad we did. God was using us and, at first, we had no idea.
Be intentional. Life is messy: share it with someone. Drop in to check on a friend. Let God provide your shoulder, your hug, your friendship for someone in need. You never know when your smile is the highlight of their day. When your kind word is really the Holy Spirit speaking directly to their heart.
UPDATE: Earlier this week Ruth sat at her father's bedside and heard him draw his last breath before he went Home to his Father's House. Please take a minute to pray for the family as they are grieving but also rejoicing that he's now healthy and whole.