Today I’m having a tough day. I just had a phone call telling me that a woman who goes to our church is in the fight for her life. She is fighting cancer and has been a valiant soldier. My heart breaks as I think about her journey and the thought of not seeing her in her regular seat at church.
Her name is Hazel and strangely we are not close but Hazel has impacted my life greatly. At best, we are acquaintances and members of the same church who great each other each week with a smile and a brief conversation. My husband is one of the main singers at our church and Hazel has made a point of telling me how much she enjoys it when he sings at church. We’ve talked about my children and life in general and she is always masterful at bringing joy into the conversation and seeing the bright side of every situation.
When I first met Hazel I didn’t know she was in the fight of her life. I thought she was one of most attractive older women I had ever met. Her smile told a story that I craved to hear, her eyes drew me in like a good book on a warm summers day, her voice was soothing and every word seemed to be seasoned with wisdom. Hazel was one of the reasons I looked forward to Sunday mornings, seeing her in her regular seat and engaging with a smile made the world feel okay.
She may never know the impact she has had on my life. She may never know how I longed for our brief interactions, our smiles across the isle and how I enjoyed watching her soak up the music and the words as my husband sang. Yet most important, for me, was how she gave me this gentle nod that spoke of acceptance, that told this mother of three that it’s all going to be okay and you’re doing a good job. All in a glance, a sweet smile and a gentle nod. Hazel was a true communicator and someone who I will remember for a lifetime.
I wish she could know the things she taught me on these Sunday mornings. Through her life I have seen strength, perseverance, courage, determination, kindness, gentleness, sweetness and love. So today, I simply pray, I believe and I thank God for a life well lived and in these prayers I ask God to teach me to be a woman like Hazel.