On Sunday, a lovely thing happened.
Stu and I went to church together again.
I have seen the church next door to Laurel Hill all along, but Stu's condition was not very stable, he wasn't comfortable in his wheelchair for extended periods.....bottom line, I wasn't getting a green light about it, and he wasn't asking. So I waited.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, a former neighbor of ours stopped by the stand at Grower's Market with his darling daughter, asking how Stu was doing, wondering where he was staying......and when I told him it was Laurel Hill he burst out "That's our church next door!"
The wheels started to turn :-) I knew the building, and remembered it as being open enough to be wheelchair friendly. It was worth a try. I asked Stu how he would feel about visiting, and he thought about it. After all, it's a big step to do a "normal" thing when your body is no longer "normal". On the phone, after thinking it over for a few days, he told me "I'm determined to see it through".
So, Sunday morning, he navigated over in his wheelchair (on a side note, he has been receiving daily training at the facility from an occupational therapist----Dale. A very encouraging fellow. His time at the facility is limited, but the timing of it couldn't be more perfect.)
Everyone was so, so welcoming-----I wish you could have seen Stu shaking people's hands and introducing us, beaming and glowing, making jokes and just reveling in the environment. There is a very large area before the sanctuary, with a coffee bar on the side, and we got to meet and greet to our hearts' content.
When the service started, we were able to sit in the back and just let the music wash over us. I could hear Stu's good bass voice joining in on Amazing Grace. In the past, Stu has often been critical of church, church services, church music, church people.......there was none of that today.. His heart has been softened. He enjoyed every last drop of our time there----although we did have to leave just before the service ended because his leg was troubling him. As the person who has walked by his side through many years of unpleasantness and bitterness, I will say that I saw a miracle----produced by very unexpected means-----in his attitude yesterday. A broken body has yielded a quieter, humbler, more contrite Stu. A Stu who can appreciate what God is doing through ordinary people. He commented at one point "I can see that this is how heaven will be.....ordinary people, worshiping God together."
We will see how things unfold from here-----if there's one thing I'm learning, it's "one day at a time". I will keep you posted on his doings, as always. Quite a few people have responded to my invitation to come visit him at Laurel Hill, and that too has been a blessing. He told me one day that he was fervently praying that Jesus would appear to him, and when he opened his eyes, there was our good friend, Doug----! And later that same day, his beloved Ruth paid a call. It definitely made an impression on him! I trust that God will nudge others to do the same. It sure makes a good story, doesn't it?
Until next time