To start at the beginning, I’d have to go back 17 years, to when Evelyn and I first entered the mobile home market. We had decided on a triple-wide home (which, we were to learn later, would be one of only three in the Fox Pointe development).
The day came for us to check out our new home which had been delivered to a storage lot. While we were there we met another couple, John and Ruthie, who were buying a home to be delivered to Fox Pointe also. We became quick friends, and for the past decade-and-a-half-plus have enjoyed one another’s company in each other’s homes.
Fast-forward to about two weeks ago. Our younger son Kevin had asked if he could borrow our RV to take his family on a week-long vacation to Tennessee. On the day he was to pick the camper up he and his two sons came down, but he was the only driver. I was under the impression that his older son would drive their car back to NJ, but, apparently, he’s new enough behind the wheel that he doesn’t feel confident driving on the interstates. So I called a neighbor, Albina, who happens to live next door to John and Ruthie, to see if I could park my car in the unused half of her driveway so Kevin could keep his car in ours. No problem.
About four days into that week I was returning from running some errands and pulled into Albina’s driveway. I saw Ruthie on Albina’s porch, so I went up to say hi. She told me that she was trying to get Albina to come to the door, but wasn’t having any success. I offered to call Albina, but Ruthie said she had already tried that, also unsuccessfully. Once it became evident that Albina wasn’t coming to her door, we both left.
The next day I received an email from John: “Please remove me from your list of contacts. I don’t have to tell you why. I’m sure you already know.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading! The only thing I could conclude was that John saw Ruthie and me on Albina’s porch and came to his own conclusion (Ruthie has told me before that as he’s become older, John has also grown more and more jealous). I replied to John’s email, assuring him that I have always honored requests from people who want to be removed from my “MMM” mailing list (no questions asked), and would do so for him, but I also admitted that I was at a loss to understand why. I wanted to be sure that I was correct in thinking that he had misinterpreted what I was doing on Albina’s porch while Ruthie was there also, and wanted to give him an opening for telling me. He never replied.
Ever since that time both Evelyn and I have felt cautious about approaching either one of our friends. Evelyn said she’d love to have Ruthie come over for a visit, or even have me take her over there, but after John’s message, we didn’t know what to think. So we spent the next couple of weeks in a kind of cold standoff.
Then, yesterday, the “God Moment” happened. It was a day for running errands that all three of us had to run, so Karlyn, Evelyn, and I piled in the car and took off. Among those stops was the library (Evelyn had about a dozen books to return and wanted to “restock”). As we were entering the building, Evelyn decided that she had better visit the ladies’ room before heading to the stacks, so Karlyn wheeled her in. I waited in the lobby. The next thing I knew, I heard a rather muffled, “Hi, Karl.” Yep – it was John. He sat down at one of the tables outside the area where passports are created, so I went over to him. I told him that I hadn’t gotten a reply to my email, but would still like to know for certain why he asked to be removed from my mailing list. He made some vague comment about he and Ruthie having some problems. I looked at him and said, “John, I’m guessing that this has to do with the day that Ruthie and I were on Albina’s porch, so I’m gonna look you right in the eye and tell you that nothing was happening that day. I’m the last person you have to worry about. Lord knows, all my time is taken up with Evelyn and her needs. But I believe that God opened up this moment for us to talk.” He said, “I know,” and seemed maybe a little bit embarrassed. We talked a little more until Evelyn and Karlyn returned.
I can’t say that I’m satisfied that everything will now be as it was before this incident (we did at least shake hands before I left), but the fact that, of all people, John showed up in the library at the same time that we were there told me that God wanted to open up an opportunity for us to begin to heal, whether we succeeded or not. I’m glad I followed through on the opening that God provided. Perhaps we can start building on that beginning.
And, oh, yes – thank you, Lord.