I remember watching them in church every Sunday… the most adorable older couple I had ever seen. You could literally see the twinkle in his eye as he gazed at her while they walked past my pew to head back to the spot they sat in every single Sunday, the second row from the back. I remember leaning over and whispering to my mom, my sister, or my husband on many different occasions, “They are SO CUTE!” It was refreshing to see a couple at their age so plainly in love still. You could tell just by looking at them that they were a match made in heaven. It was obvious they adored one another.
Then, one Sunday, I remember watching her walk back from communion past my pew… alone. With tears rolling down her face. I leaned into my mom and asked where he was. “He is sick…” she replied. My heart ached for a woman I didn’t even know the name of who I could tell was hurting. I silently wished I could do something for her.
It was All Saints Sunday, in our church, they do a remembrance slideshow to honor all of the members who had passed that year. We happened to be sitting one row ahead of her that day. I saw her dear husband's picture float across the screen and heard a sniffle from directly behind me. I turned around, and reached my hand out and gave hers a squeeze. My way of saying, I’m here for you. That’s all I did that day, but I couldn’t stop thinking about her from then on out.
I was a new mom to a then 6-month-old baby girl. I was busy and was still trying to figure out how to navigate this life with another human depending on me around the clock. But no matter how busy I was, I couldn’t seem to get her off of my mind. One day, I just decided I needed to do something about it. I looked her up in the church directory, her name was Florence. I baked some cookies, stopped at the grocery store for a card and a bouquet of flowers, and I pulled into her driveway. I sat in my car contemplating what I was doing. I couldn’t just go knock on a stranger's door like this. What was I thinking? What if she just wants to be left alone? I called my mom, “Go,” she said, “You need to go.”
As I stepped out of my car, her neighbor walked outside. I asked her if this was where Florence lived. She informed me that it was and that she will welcome the surprise of my visit. So, I grabbed my baby girl and the goodies I had prepared, I stopped and asked God for strength and to calm my nerves, and apprehensively knocked on her door.
As the door cracked open, I saw the gentle face of a woman I had seen once a week for many years in a row at church but had never known. I said, “Hi, I’m Kassidy. I usually sit ahead of you at church on Sunday’s and I just wanted to bring you something to brighten your day.” She immediately began to cry and invited me in. We stayed for a while and I learned a little about her and her late husband, whom I learned I was using his formal name, not the name he usually went by. I knew we brought a smile to her face that day, but little did I know, sweet Florence would become one of my and my daughter's very best friends.
Over the course of the past two and a half years, my children and I have had the pleasure of visiting with Florence almost every single week. Westyn (my 3-year-old daughter) begs regularly to go see Florence and Tabby (Florence’s very spoiled and adored cat). It is her favorite day of the week and quickly becoming something my one-year-old son, Dallen, enjoys as well! Of course, it is a day that I look forward to each week and brings so much joy to my life. Florence is full of knowledge, stories, and has so much love to share with us. How very thankful I am for stepping outside of my comfort zone and listening to the voice of God walk me to her doorstep.
Through this relationship, I am able to teach my kids a few lessons in life. Lesson number one: It doesn’t matter your age, your race, or your beliefs. The opportunity to be friends with others wildly different than you is one you ought to take! Lesson number two: Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Had I not taken a deep breath and done something I was scared of doing, we would not have the privilege to call Florence our friend, and that would be an honest shame. Lesson number three: Listen to God’s voice. If your gut is telling you to help someone, greet someone, befriend someone - DO IT. Lesson number four: Look for opportunities to touch someone else’s life. You never know, they might just end up turning around and touching yours back tenfold. Lesson number five: Dessert is ok to eat no matter what time of the day it is. It doesn’t matter if we visit at 9 AM, 11 AM before eating lunch, 3 PM, or 5 PM, brownies will be waiting and “no thank you” will not be accepted as an answer!
I can’t explain how thankful I am to have followed my heart that day. I thought I was walking up that walk and knocking on a stranger's door to brighten her day, little did I know, she was about to change my life.
- Kassidy K.