The interesting thing about real heroes is that they really don’t care to be recognized. Many do what they do because they want to. Not for the glory.
My hero today was a little lady I talked to in a shoe store. Our conversation lasted less than a minute.
But that was enough.
My daughter and I had a spontaneous “Girls Day Out” today. It involved traipsing through stores in Wichita, finding good deals, and eating lunch.
Which brought us to a shoe store. As I looked over and tried on shoes, I heard a lady chattering and exclaiming, almost like she was tired.
As I looked down the aisle behind me, a lady in her 60’s, with blond/white curly hair-that seemed to almost defy gravity, came slowly towards me pushing a wheelchair. She had a youthful appearance; dressed in a bright shirt, gym pants, and colorful tennis shoes. Apparantly they had just came into the store and since it was hot outside, I’m guessing that’s why she sounded like she was panting.
I picked up my purse and box of shoes and moved to a nearby bench, observing them as I tied my shoes.
The lady behind the wheelchair was carrying on a sweet conversation by herself, taking down shoes and showing them to her companion in a kind, natural way. She commented about the colors and such, while the lady in the wheelchair looked straight ahead, seemingly unaware of what was happening. All the while I tried not to stare, and wondered if there was any relation between the two ladies. As they reached me, I heard her say something about “Mother.”
I smiled at her. She smiled back.
“Is this your mother?” I asked her.
She replied “Yes!! And she is 92 years old.”
I congratulated her and asked if she took care of her mother. The daughter then told me, to my astonishment, that she had taken care of her mother 30 years, and had lived with her for the last 25, and enjoyed being with her. Then she dropped her voice to a whisper saying that her mother couldn’t talk, all the while smiling and radiating a joy about her.
My heart, well, it reacted with a sort of happy/sad feeling. I just knew that she had sacrificed her life to serve and love on her mom. And yet I found before me a lady filled with joy and purpose.
All the while the wheelchair slowly moved forward.
“That’s just wonderful,” I told her, “God bless you!” And she chirped back, “God bless you!”
And down the aisle she rolled. Still talking to her mother, looking, showing, smiling.
I can still hear her happy chatter as she rolled out if the store. Her happiness was infectious, store employees had caught the mood and opened the door for her as she left the store apologizing for the doorway being hard to maneuver. Off she went to the next store.
She was my hero today.
As I pondered what had just happened, I had an urge to ask more questions, and even to take a picture of them, with them, and doubting myself. I didn’t want to be creepy though, but I felt like I just wanted to encourage them in some way. To let them know how they blessed me. I really admired what I saw. I somehow felt even the mother must be “one special lady.”
She sure raised a fine daughter that was certain.
I have other heroes. Like one of the ladies (and her husband) in our area who took care of her mother for years. I would run into her at the grocery store, ask how things were going, and she would always exclaim how she was so glad to be able to care for her mother.
And I would walk away feeling blessed.
No doubt there are hard times when caring for loved ones in these situations. These days, there are options for the elderly, but honestly it doesn’t seem to be a very satisfactory one. I don’t think many people get very excited about the prospect of entering a retirement home in their final years.
I know I don’t.
But I am thankful for the options available to us, we have several ladies in our community who work in a retirement home nearby. They are very good at what they do. I consider them heroic because, sadly, not all communities have such nice facilities with good caring staff.
I also know of a family that divides up their time to take care of their father. Among several of the siblings, they spend a week each caring for him. That includes a friend of ours who goes to Oklahoma every few weeks to take his turn. Meanwhile his wife stays home with their 3 young children, spending the week without daddy.
And there are more.
Like those who take care of terminally ill parents or siblings. Putting them to bed, bringing food. Cleaning house. All the while having such a caring heart and concern.
Thank you for being an unsung hero.
Currently, we live in Kansas and I have a father-in-law in Texas in a retirement home. I have to admit, it makes me sad. I wish we could say we are totally satisfied with our journey in health care and it’s facilities thus far. Circumstances don’t allow for him to be at home where family can take care of him, and I think we all feel the heaviness of leaving him every time we go see him. It just doesn’t seem right. But it’s the best that we can do.
It leaves us to wonder.
Why does it have to be this way?
It makes me so thankful to have family that does such a good job of visiting and taking my father-in-law out for dinner. Doing the best they can. The Peters clan is really heroic in my eyes, always standing by each other.
Sooner or later we will all face this season of life, making hard decisions, to take up new responsibilities. To take the role of caretaker or help someone in the family with cancer or recuperating from an accident.
It can be exhausting.
Let’s not forget them. To pray for them. And I think if we listen to our heart, and the Holy Spirit’s prompting, we may even think of something we can do to lift their burden.
Because even heroes need help every now and then.
“”Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”