“Crazy Things We Do for Love,” Aug. 14, 2018

Have you ever done something that was so hare-brained crazy you feared, if anyone found out, you’d never hear the end of it? Readers often tell me stories I won’t repeat without permission though they know, when they tell me, what I do for a living.

Sharing a story with a columnist is like asking a monkey to hold your banana. The monkey might like you, but bananas are hard to resist.

I asked permission to tell you this story. Luckily, the woman who told it to me said yes. I won’t tell you her real name or where she’s from. It doesn’t matter. She could be any one of us. Let’s just call her “Pat.”

I met Pat years ago when I spoke at an event near her home town. I’ve never forgotten the warmth in her smile or the light in her eyes. She’s a devoted mother and grandmother, retired after years of being a church secretary. Not the sort of woman you might expect to be walking the streets at 3 a.m.

Recently, Pat wrote to tell me about her former pastor. She had worked with him for many years and had become close friends with him and his wife. Ninety years old, and suffering from Parkinson’s, he’d been in assisted living since losing his wife two years ago. Now, Pat said, he apparently had only a few days left to live on Earth.

“Lately, I wake up in the night thinking about him and I can’t get back to sleep. So at 3:00 a.m. this morning,” she said, “I decided to drive to his assisted living facility to check on him and sit with him for a while.”

He often had family and friends visit by day, but at night, Pat said, he’d be alone. There are times when all we can do for someone is just be with them. This was one of those times.

Imagine her surprise, backing out of her garage, to discover her van had a flat tire. She sat there praying for direction. None came. So she prayed for protection and started walking.

“I know it wasn’t the brightest thing to do. But sometimes when we follow our hearts, we do things the brain disagrees with.”

Halfway through the three-mile walk, a young Hispanic man rode up on a bicycle and said, “Lady, what are you doing out walking this time of night?”

“Due to my prayers,” she said, “I figured God had sent him.”

He told her to climb on the bike behind him and he’d give her a ride to visit her friend. She tried, but couldn’t manage it.

“OK, then,” he said, “I’m going to ride beside you to see that you get where you’re going.”

And so he did.

Finally, Pat said, after an hour’s walk with her God-given bodyguard, “I was able to sit at my dear friend’s bedside and hold his hand and let him know he wasn’t alone.”

Pat doesn’t want us to think she’s entirely crazy. She points out that: 1) She lives in a small town with a relatively low crime rate; 2) the street was well lighted, more or less; and 3) she had asked God for protection and the strength to do the walk.

What could possibly go wrong? If she were my teenager, and not my 73-year-old reader/friend, I would ground her for life. Instead, I emailed back a quick shout-out: “You go, girl!”

Two days later, Pat wrote, “Our dear pastor passed away the day after my three-mile, 3 a.m. walk. I’m surely going to miss him, as will many others!”

She will always be thankful for her decison that night, but looking back on it, she says, “I can scarely believe I did that. It isn’t like the ‘usual’ me. But I’m betting you know other usually practical people who, from time to time, do impractical — even irrational — things in order to come alongside a friend and help them carry their burden.”

She’s right. I know lots of people who do crazy things to follow their hearts and help a friend. I like those people a lot.

I’ll bet you know some, too. I’d love to hear about them. If you want to tell them this story, by all means, feel free.

You have Pat’s and my permission.

 

Comments

  1. Terry Mitchell says:

    Sharon, you are such a blessing to all of us who “read” you. You make my laugh or cry or both. I am so glad I found this site because my newspaper dropped you [Evansville, IN]. I will meet you here once a week. Take care and blessings to you and your family! Terry

  2. Becky says:

    Thank you for this story, which is a lovely example of the kindness we can show each other. Please know I enjoy reading your columns yet today one word -Hispanic – stuck out for me. Why did you identify the God-given bodyguard in that fashion? And, if you felt so compelled to do so, then why not tell your readers if Pat is Hispanic or white or black? Is the default white? It just felt that by saying a man who was also a minority rode with her, this fact somehow made her more brave or crazy. Thank you for allowing comments and for sharing good news stories

    • Pat says:

      Dear Becky,
      I am the person who lived that adventure, and to me it was an honor for God to send a Hispanic angel! I’m sure he is proud of his ethnicity, and I’m thankful for it and him. “Pat”

  3. Jackie Williams says:

    Thank you for asking for my story that is “so hare-brained crazy” that it has to be one that you would only do for love

    Redding has been, and still is, touched by a by a fire that acts like a tornado by picking up one house and destroying it and leaves the next one completely untouched. Each of us in this community know someone that has lost everything in the blink of his eye. We all want to help but don’t know what to do. So…..when one of my special friends’ home was completely destroyed it was especially close to my heart. She had lost everything and was living in a rental home with nothing in it. She was severely depressed and could not leave the home to be around any noise or be in the company of too many people. Shopping was impossible because to make any decisions did not come easily.

    Seeing my friend with her mom at my favorite tiny lunch place was providential. She told me she had absolutely nothing and I gave her my cell number. Did I mention my husband was out of town for 4 days? When she sent me a message and I told her to come over because I had everything she needed. 24 hours later she had one sofa bed, one couch, 4 barstools, a coffee table, 2 sets of silverware, a set of chins,a kitchen table and a patio table with 4 chairs in two trucks. My daughter said she had stuff too so my sweet friend’s cooking and baking items were taken care of plus a kitchen table. I’ll never forget seeing the joy and seeing the tears of gratitude shining through her eyes. It was kind of like a child at Christmas. I really don’t know which of us was blessed more.

    Now comes Friday and my husband comes home to bare home on Sunday. My daughter and I hit the stores. This is a man who doesn’t like change of anything. We grabbed the basic replacements and on Sunday, 15 minutes before he pulled in the driveway, the house was put back all though not the same. We have been married 52 years but he still has not quite figured out that his wife is “one of the people who, from time to time, do impractical…even irrational…things in order to come alongside a friend and help them carry their burden”

  4. Kate Sciacca says:

    Wow. Yes m’am, we need more Pats in the world – who listen to a prompting by God and follow it with Trust. Although a dash of prudence isn’t a bad idea ;-). Thanks to Pat, and you, for sharing her Faith.

  5. Vickie Good says:

    Your columns are always so inspirational. A huge THANK YOU for sharing your incredible talent with us all. You’re living in one of my favorite places in the whole wide world! I’m hoping to take my extended family to Lover’s Point beach soon. Bless you.

  6. Marion says:

    What a beautiful story, as I wipe the tears from my eyes. And what a wonderful world this would be with more like Pat, her bike-riding guardian, and Sharon.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for sharing Pat’s story. Please let me tell you another story of “crazy love.” In our rural Texas small town church, one of almost 90-hear-old members heard that here sister had died – in South Carolina. “Mary” was heartbroken and really wanted to attend her sister’funeral. Our deacon body pulled together mileage points for her airfare; Mary was very humbled by the gesture but had never flown (?) and was very nervous about doing so. Our young (37) pastor bought a ticket to accompany Mary and after he delivered her to her family, he flew back to Texas! Six months later, as we all gathered to celebrate Mary’s 90th Birthday, some of her family from SC thanked our church and our pastor for such an act of love. This crazy love touched lots of lives and the ripple effect will continue, just as the “midnight rider” in your story. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us all!

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