Every morning, around ten o’clock or so, she would slowly make her way to the bench in the little park next to the church. Her daughter would bring her there for the day. The large trees offered lovely shade and a cool refuge from the warm summer days that these were. By the third morning that week, I finally noticed that she had a walker in front of her, and that she had only one leg. At her age, in her seventies it seemed, that must have been a very limiting thing.
I was there in Poland that week with a short term mission team of about fifteen altogether. We were helping the local church in this city to paint the building they were using for services, and to clean up a bit in the park that surrounded it. While I was working on other projects those days, I didn’t get to (or take time to, really) spend a time with this lady on the bench, but I did get to observe someone who did. And a friendship was being built—however temporary our limited time there made it. This connection was one that took very little—just a bit of time and availability, and the willingness to actually touch someone.
Quite often during the week, Mrs. P from our team could be seen sitting on the bench with this lonely lady, holding her hand, and talking with her through one of the translators who was helping us while we were there. Mrs. P could also be seen giving her hugs, patting her shoulder, and loving on her as completely as possible.
I don’t remember much of this lady’s story to be honest, except the impression that it was somewhat heavy and a bit sad. But I do remember something she said at the end of the week, when she and her daughter stopped by on our last evening to give Mrs. P the freshly baked cake they had made that afternoon. She told Mrs. P that in all her years no one had ever touched her like she had—a touch full of love and hope. That was what she needed, and that was what was gifted to her, even though most would shy away from the contact.
Perhaps it only takes a small bit of time, and the willingness to be there, to encourage a lonely someone. While it might not seem like there is much you could do in any given situation, the sheer need of those around us is great. And you just might find that you will be abundantly blessed in the process. Be encouraged to bless someone in need of just a little bit of your time, and who could benefit from holding your hand for just a little while.
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The Encouragement Project
PO Box 452
Alpharetta, GA 30009
678 . 951 . 6235