I suppose it was divine intervention, but I had this question answered...literally.
Almost 15 years ago when I was a SAHM and living outside of Philadelphia, there was a very tragic accident on the interstate. A young woman and her fiancé were on their way home from pre-marriage counseling and a freak accident left the young woman dead and her fiancé uninjured. This young woman was to be married in only two weeks and she was her parents' only child. My heart ached for her parents, and I could not shake my own sense of sorrow for this family. I found myself praying for her parents and fiancé throughout my day.
A couple of days later, I was at Talbots, where I worked about four hours a week in the evening just to get out of the house. A woman came into the store and I approached her to ask if I could help her find anything. She looked into my eyes and told me "I am looking for something to wear to my daughter's funeral."
Without a moment of thought, I grabbed her hand in mine and blurted out "I have been praying for you". I instinctively knew it was the young woman's mother. It still gives me goose bumps and I get choked up when I remember that moment.
The woman took me into her arms and said to me "It is only because of YOU, YOUR prayers, that I am able to get through every day and survive this unbearable pain." She went on to tell me that she knew "people" were praying for her, but to meet me, a stranger, and feel the love and compassion I offered, was of great comfort to her. She told me she would never forget me, and that she would remember this moment during the dark days to come.
I honestly thought I was going to faint after this encounter. My manager thought I had seen a ghost, but I had seen the Lord at work through me. My prayers DO make a difference. Most of us will never know or meet the strangers we pray for, and our prayers will impact those strangers in ways we will never realize. I suppose that is part of faith...knowing without having to see for yourself.
As a hospice social worker, I deal with death and grief on a daily basis. While some deaths are more tragic than others, it in no way minimizes the pain and grief that follows a loss. I love my job and many wonder how I can love a job that seems so depressing. I look at my job as a gift. It is a privilege to share the extremely intimate journey with a patient and their family as they face impending death. Knowing that I am providing comfort and support along this journey is a very rewarding feeling.
I woke this morning with an impending sense of gloom...maybe it was the dark and cloudy sky that first gave me that sense, but as my morning wore on, I felt a blanket of sadness settling over me as I encountered sad news after sad news.
I have already made some new blog friends since starting my own blog in April, and I was saddened when I read that some of my new blog friends are experiencing their own losses and grief right now.
My blog friend at Simply LKJ lost her dog this week, who had been a member of the family for 13 years. A friend of my blog friend, Preppy Empty Nester tragically lost her 11 year old son this week, and the father of my blog friend at Always in a Southern State of Mind fell and broke his leg and needs prayers. In addition, a friend of mine posted on FB today about a friend of hers who accidentally drown this week on a family vacation...he was the father of five young children. I also ask for prayers for Rob Brenner, and his wife and children as he continues to recover from a brain tumor. I randomly came across his story on FB last November and did not know him, but his wife's spirit and strong faith through such pain and adversity really struck me and I continued to follow their story and pray for them. She is an inspirational woman.
Rob with his wife, Dawn, and their two children
Please pray for these families and all others in need of prayer right now.
Blessings to you all...