Our stories carry a beauty and dignity worth pausing to share. Patricia’s has so impacted me these last few months, I am a ready writer compelled to tell it.
We met last summer at a dinner party, and then reconnected in December. The first time I came to her house, we drove to the closest restaurant open after 10 pm. Waffle House. Chatting late into the night, she was eager to describe growing up in the Philipines, employment overseas, her journey to America as an adult, and finding Jesus in the midst of it all. She was open and candid. Quick to admit her mistakes, but also exude gratitude for all the opportunities she had been handed. I realized I was in the midst of greatness disguised as an adorable nearly 5 foot Filipino lady.
I am so grateful she opened her home for me to stay on weekends while I attended a discipleship training school. Right from the get go, I was encouraged to make her home my home. Enjoy. Relax.
She sees me as a missionary and hopes I’m the first of more to be hosted. Her desire to serve the Lord with the blessings she has been given humbles me. I want more of this in my life. I wonder if she’s aware of how much Jesus already flows through her in the way she loves and honors others through hospitality and friendship.
We share a mutual craving of beauty. She opens the blinds on sunny days, and urges me to reduce my speed in the car when passing her favorite tree. On my birthday, we ventured to her favorite park. What feasts for the eyes as we took in the horizon (comfortably, from the bench) and rejoiced in the others there appreciating God’s gift of a beautiful day.
How lovely are your dwelling places…(Psalm 84:1, paraphrase)
Patricia isn’t a glutton for beauty. She is satisfied only when she can partake and then offer it.
Recently, her joy has been unbounded by the changes brought on by Spring. “Liz, come and look!” Something else is in bloom. Delighting in the smallest of details, she puts a fresh comforter on the day bed–and then steps back to admire and enjoy her Spring decor.
Either bitterness or joy is produced from hardship. She has taken the path of joy. Because the suffering has been deep, the wells of joy seem to be dug deeper still. Upon meeting her, one would think her life has been a fairy tale.
Her current struggle is real. Many would have lost heart and hope if they were in her shoes. I asked her one day, “Miss Patricia, what is it that you desire? How do you want me to pray for you?” Her response was weighty, her eyes lit up with zeal. “I want to live! I want to enjoy!” Her passion to live in the face of this personal mountain awakens my soul for the same. Wonder is evoked in me. The tiniest, seemingly insignificant things leave her awed. And she always shares her discoveries with me. She doesn’t know the language of sarcasm or cynicism. “Adult” sophistication has nothing in her. The innocence leaves me quieted, marking me with desire for childlikeness.
Hugs are offered readily. Laughs are spontaneous. I really really love her laugh. If it was a song, I’d leave it on repeat.
She is teaching me. Slow down. Enjoy the moment. It dances past and is gone.
“Wide-eyed and mystified, may we be just like a child. Staring at the beauty of our King. May we never lose our wonder.”