Gilda's...and God's Greatness


I was sitting on a loveseat in the waiting area when another client walked in.  She signed in at the counter, and just as the receptionist had asked me how I was doing, she also asked her.  "Once I have some lunch (and held up a bottle of Gatorade and a protein shake that looked like one of Jake's juice boxes), I'll be much better.", she said.

She walked over and sat down in a single chair next to the shelves full of shampoo and styling gel and commented that she really needed a straw.  I just kept looking forward and down at my phone to check the time allowing her to make conversation with herself.  She didn't let her need for a straw stop her nor did the fact that she was "eating" her lunch stop her from talking.  "I just don't have much time in between phone calls to actually eat", she said.  I looked up, looked at her, and smiled.  Maybe she was talking to me, I thought, so this time I sympathized and said, "Yeah it's tough to take time out when you're super busy, especially if you're trying to talk and eat at the same time." 

I assumed she was a telemarketer on her lunch break or afternoon off, so when she shifted what was now a conversation between the two of us from not having time to eat lunch because of an enormous amount of phone calls to the fact that she doesn't know anymore what's open and what's not since the tornado that demolished so much of Tuscaloosa had hit almost a month ago, I thought it was odd.  But I didn't care.  I had some company while I waited, so I just kept talking too.  I told her I couldn't count how many times I had told Jim, people I talked to from other states who had called to discuss the funds they had awarded to The University of Alabama and asked about how things were, best friends, and church family that "'s like you get so used to seeing everything like it is right now, you almost can't remember how it used to be."

She agreed completely with these words..."I still think at times that I can go home, crawl in my own bed, and just go to sleep."  It only took seconds for me to realize the she was a victim of the tornado.  She lowered her head, folded her hands together in between her knees, and her body shook as she started to cry.  I asked her if she had lost her home, and she nodded her head to say yes.  I went from where I was sitting to where she was sitting and wrapped my arms around her.  "I'm so sorry", I said several times.  She stopped crying and said, "Thank you so much.  That's just what I needed."

I sat back down, and she started searching through her purse while she told her story.  She pulled out a white, letter-sized envelope with a dozen or more photos in it of what was left of her home.  She showed me a dresser that was still standing but damaged and told me that it belonged to her parents - the first piece of furniture they ever owned together - and her sister was having it restored.  She told me she found her cat alive and well under the rubble of her garage after three days of searching for her, and she gave her patio umbrella to the national guard members who were watching the area surrounding her home.  Then she shared how old she was (Sixty, but I swear she didn't look a day over forty-five, and I told her that.) and that she has a daughter my age who's an elementary school teacher in Maryland. 

Just before she left after being called back for her appointment, she made the time to tell me her daughter was able to visit the home where she grew up the weekend before and had slept in her childhood bedroom one last time.  And I said, "Wow!  What a blessing!  How great is our God?!" to which she replied...

"He is greater than great!"                 

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