God’s Goofy Gifts

I felt bad for my mom.  She’d had it rough for the past few years.  At a few weeks shy of 78 years old, she has lost the use of her legs and most of her vision.  She lives on a small pension from her late husband.  She doesn’t get out much.  She doesn’t have much, and she’s losing more.

She’s outlived her parents, which is normal.  But she’s also outlived her two youngest brothers, her husband and son in law, two nephews, and a great niece.  She worried through four of her five daughters’ bouts with cancer.  Now she was facing the funeral of her middle sister.

She rarely got to talk to her family.  They aren’t much for phone conversations, don’t like writing letters, and live pretty spread out.  Lately the only time she saw them was at funerals.  This funeral was hard because we had to go from the suffocating humid heat of South Texas to the blistering dry heat of North Texas.  For some reason, all the hotels we usually stayed at were booked solid and we wound up in a local motel currently undergoing renovations.  The only rooms we could get were not handicap accessible, and by the time we met her youngest sister at the funeral home, we were all hot, tired, and miserable.  Mom kept apologizing for being such a bother, which made me feel worse.  She was seriously depressed.

When we got to the funeral home, the director told us that at my aunt’s request, they had asked a local preacher if he could do the burial service for us since my late aunt did not have a home church at that time.  We were fine with that.  Then the guy arrived, and everything changed.

We all get blessings from God, even if we don’t always recognize them.  We receive grace and mercy, and even occasionally miracles.  But every once in a while, God will give us a goofy gift.  My mom got one that day.

The preacher wasn’t goofy.  He’s intelligent, charming, witty, and a good Christian man.  He does radio shows at the local station there and preaches at a local church.  No, what made it goofy was that he was one of Mom’s favorite radio personalities from her local radio station back home who had moved away a few years ago.  Almost unable to see him, she recognized his voice as soon as he spoke and her face expressed her surprise and wonder.

He had seen Mom’s town of residence on my aunt’s obituary and was curious to see who we are.  We all spent the next two hours talking about what he’d been doing and people we all knew and what they were doing now.  He was relieved to find we were willing and able to talk about our aunt because it’s hard to do a funeral service for someone you don’t know.

My mom wasn’t depressed after that.   She still grieved for her sister, but the depression had lifted.  When God gives you a goofy gift, you smile and chuckle and shake your head at the unexpected.  My mom is still exclaiming over the amazing coincidence (read God’s handiwork). Instead of sitting in the dark and grieving quietly, she remembers meeting someone who had always seemed like a friend to her during the years she listened to him on the radio, and who became a friend in person exactly when she needed one the most.

God’s goofy gifts lift you up.  They cheer you when you’re down, amaze you when you’re jaded, make you laugh, make you sit up and pay attention and realize God still cares.  Have you ever given someone a goofy gift just to make them feel better?  Did it make you feel better to see them perk up?  The more I think about it the more I am amazed.  God placed that preacher where he could most help my mom years before they met.

The preacher even told us he had received a serious disappointment that led him to his present location.  His prayers were answered with a solid “No” because God knew he would be needed, years later, in a different location.  I have no doubt others have needed him in his new location, but God in His omniscience knew my mother would need him and made sure he would be available that day.  It’s so nice to have an all powerful God who takes a moment out of running the universe to make a grieving old lady feel better just when she needed it most.

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