The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox, C4FIC Board member.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17).”
“Preacher Fox!” The shrill voice on the other end of the phone belonged to Mrs. Johnson, an elderly widow who lived across the street. “Well, good morning, Mrs. Johnson. How are you?” “I’d be a lot better if my TV would work right. Could you come over and see what’s wrong?” “Was it working last night?” I asked. “Yes. Can you come over and fix it, Mark?” she pleaded. “Yes, ma’am, I will in just a few minutes.” “Are you coming right now?” she persisted. I had an office in my house in those days, on the second floor. From there, I had a clear view of the front porch of Mrs. Johnson’s house. Which meant that she had a clear view of my office.
“You were up late last night,” Mrs. Johnson said when I arrived. Her eyes were dancing but she was trying her best to make her face show “innocent concern.” It wasn’t working.
“Now, Mrs. Johnson,” I chided, “how would you know that, unless you were spying on me?”
“I wasn’t spying!” she replied, and pretended to be hurt, shooting her bottom lip out.
“OK,” I said, “You were just ‘concerned’ that I wasn’t getting my rest. Right?”
I said, “So let’s take a look at that TV. I would not want you to miss one minute of your ‘stories’ this afternoon.”
Mrs. Johnson led the way into the little den, where her console TV sat like a sentry. The room was cozy and warmed by a portable heater that hummed on the floor beside the sofa. The only other piece of furniture was a small coffee table, which is where I found the remote. I pointed and clicked. Nothing.
She was right. It would not turn on. Neither the remote nor the switch on the TV worked, so I pulled the set away from the wall and immediately found the problem.
“Mrs. Johnson, the TV is …” I started to say.
But when I turned around to tell her what I found, Mrs. Johnson was not in the den anymore. She was whistling a tune in the kitchen, fixing each of us a glass of Coke.
“Can you sit down and have some Coke with me?” she said, pointing to a chair at the table as I entered.
“Mrs. Johnson,” I began as I sat down at the table, “your TV was unplugged.”
“It was?” she replied, trying her best to look surprised.
“Yes, ma’am, it was. You don’t know how that could have happened, do you?”
Mrs. Johnson lived alone with her toy poodle, “Precious.” There was no one there but Mrs. Johnson who could have moved the TV set and pulled the plug.
She smiled and started to tell me all about her last trip to town, her dog’s latest adventures, her family, and on and on. That’s what she needed most that day, a friend. I guess I did, too.
Prayer: “Lord, help me to love the ones who are lonely by giving them what they want and need the most—some of my time.”
Action: If there is a widow in your church or in your neighborhood, get the kids and go over for a visit this week. See if there is anything you can do to help her around the house.