If you haven’t met Maria, you’ll want to meet her after you read her story! Maria is one of my newsletter subscribers, like you. And, like you, sometimes she gets tired of climbing long steep hills, coping with life’s frustrations and messes, and saying goodbye to people and pets she loves.
Goodbyes sometimes don’t even happen, do they? Sometimes the person is gone without warning and it’s too late. That’s hard. And sad. But if we pay attention we discover that there are other people and relationships. Not the same people or relationships as before but that’s okay. Nobody could ever take the other person’s place.
Different people appear in our lives. People who matter. And, people to whom we matter more than we know.
Maria’s story isn’t just about her and a little old lady. It’s about you and me.
Echoes of Maria
“I live at the top of a very steep hill,” writes Maria. “When I was working as a Medical Secretary, I used to walk up this road every day, usually with the sun in my eyes. I hated it.
One day I popped in to the local supermarket for milk. This lovely little old lady came up to me and put her arms around me. She said, ‘My little nurse. I see you every evening walking up that hill. I watch from my window. You have a long pony tail that swings as you walk, and for some reason I have decided you are a nurse. You make my day. I sit there with my cup of tea waiting for you to pass.’
I was overwhelmed.
The next day as I walked up that rotten hill, wheezing as I went, I kept looking at all the windows. Then I saw the lovely little old lady looking out of one window. From that day on, I waved to her and she waved back.
This went on for a couple of years, and then one day she was not there. I did not see her again. So sad. She made my long painful walk up that hill more bearable with just a little wave and smile. I felt she was looking after me. Such a nice feeling.
Even when I walk up the road now, I look at her window. I think Jesus sent her for me.”
Did Jesus send Maria to keep the little old lady company for years — even though they only spoke once? Or Jesus send the little old lady to energize and encourage Maria? Both, I say.
And look at how that little old lady’s spirit lives on! Now she doesn’t just matter to Maria. She matters to me, and to you.
You Matter More Than You Know
You — strolling or jogging down the street, nodding and smiling at a hot dog vendor, or even reluctantly walking down a hospital corridor to visit a sick loved one — matter more than you realize. Just like you notice when someone walks by and gives you a jaunty wave or even a wink. It matters.
You matter. Your presence makes a difference even when you feel alone, discouraged, sad or lost.
Maria said it best: “Even if you feel so alone at times, there is always someone waiting to help you and talk to you when you least expect it. I believe Jesus sends these people. It is actually him disguised as as an ordinary living person. He does this so as not to scare us.”
Come, meet me (and maybe Maria too!)
A couple weeks ago I told you about my new blog Travel in Faith: Tips and Tools for Travel That Transforms You. I also started a Facebook Group so we could meet and interact. I enjoy getting emails and comments from you, but I’d love if you could meet and interact with each other. You’re good people! You’re kind, compassionate, creative, funny, beloved, sometimes sad, sometimes happy, sometimes foolish, sometimes grumpy. You are an echo of joy. You matter.
I shared my most embarrassing travel moment in our Travel in Faith Facebook Group yesterday. It involved an unlocked bathroom door, two rambunctious young Italian men, and Laurie sitting on a toilet. Since that didn’t ruin my trip to Italy and I wanted to write about salvaging vacation mishaps, I shared a different trial in Bad Vacation? 15 Easy Tips for Fixing Terrible Trips.
You may or may not meet Maria in our Travel in Faith group (she gave me permission to share her story, but I can’t promise a Facebook appearance!). But your presence matters more than you know, and I hope to see you there.
And don’t forget to visit my new blog! Yesterday I wrote Where in the World Will You Celebrate Your 50th Birthday? Soon I’ll write about my upcoming trip to New Orleans for a Travel Writer Conference.
Above all, remember this: You matter more than you know.
Traveling in Faith
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