Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Lunch with Martha
And she likes me. I have never really gone out of my way any more than with other visitors, though I did buy her lunch one day because she was hungry and said she didn't have any money. She is one of those people you suspect their elevator may not go the whole way to the top, but she has a sweet personality. More than once, I have seen her standing at the courtesy phone across the lobby, crooking her finger at me. I have walked over, and it is always the same thing "Could you dial the number of the taxi for me?" And I do.
The first time I saw her after Christmas, she asked me if I had a nice Christmas. I told her I did, and asked her if she did. She smiled and said she did, and that she got a Cabbage Patch Doll......reinforcing my belief about the elevator.
Today, she walked in and I greeted her and asked how she was. "Not good, I'm sick", was the reply. I jokingly pulled back and told her I'd better stay away from her. "No, it isn't that.....they found out that I have leukemia, and I am here for more blood work." I tried to murmur the appropriate words, and she headed for the outpatient testing area.
Shortly after, I went to lunch, picking the corner booth in the coffee shop. I laid the book I planned on reading beside me, and was just digging into a hot turkey sandwich and mashed potatoes and gravy, and she walked in. She headed for my table, and I was thinking "please no, don't sit with me.... I want to eat in peace and quiet and read my book!" She came up to my table, and asked if she could join me. I smiled, and told her "sure."
The meal was a bit awkward. I was trying to eat while also trying to come up with things to talk about as she sipped her Pepsi and watched me. She filled in the silence with some chatter, and I found out a little about her: she lives with her 84 year mother who just had 4 stents put in her heart. She was a foster kid who has 3 sisters and 7 brothers..... I assume all foster. She has an ex husband who she said beat her, shoved her down a pair of steps, then did it again when she got to the top, and then chased her with a butcher knife. He also set the house on fire with her in it.....twice. In between these claims, she would comment about how nice it was to talk to me, that we all need someone to talk to, etc. To be honest, I wasn't sure how much of her story was true, but I tried to come up with the appropriate responses.
All the while, my book lay on the table, unread. Near the end of my lunch break, she said she'd better go call the taxi - I guess she is able to do it on her own (grin).... and that she was going to get a tuna fish sandwich. She thanked me for letting her sit with me, and went her way. I noticed a few minutes later that she had left her purse, so I carried it out and laid it beside the phone she was talking on.
I don't even know her name. I was going to ask it later, but her taxi had evidently come and she had left.
I felt a bit guilty about wishing she had not sat at my table. She is obviously lonely. And I found myself wondering how many other people come through those doors longing for someone to talk to, for someone to care and listen to them.
It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, and to have no time for anyone except ourselves and those closest to us...... and maybe not even for them.
We're on this earth for such a short time, and we tend to focus on all the wrong things too much.....when it is people we need to focus on. That is what Jesus did.... and if we want to be like Him, we won't spend so much time trying to get people to vote how we want, wasting time arguing about stuff that won't matter 100 years from now, or whatever else we spend so much time on.
I still don't know her name. I'll have to ask it next time I see her. For now, she shall be Martha. She looks like a Martha.