The Odd Woman Under the Tree
All summer I watched her watch me, seated in her wheel chair across the street from my house under a shade tree. I didn’t know where she came from…she would just appear and leave just as quietly and stealthily. I would catch her eye and smile and drive away wondering what her story was…who was she, where did she live, why was she just parked under a tree? Even on the hottest of days, there she would sit…watching me as I went about my day. I have errands to run, not much time to take care of business, certainly no time to cross the street and speak to the odd woman under the tree.
I actually slowed down once as I drove past her and asked her if she wanted a bottle of water. She shook her head and showed me her water bottle. I asked her if she was okay and she smiled and nodded. I told her I’d stop by to speak to her when I returned and she just smiled and waved at me Of course, she was gone when I returned and so I went about my day…I have errands to run, not much time to take care of business, certainly no time to rush home to speak to the odd woman under the tree.
Yesterday, off my daughter and I went to run some errands and as we pulled out of our driveway I spotted her. We quickly reached the end of the block and I looked back and saw she was looking our way. I told my daughter that I would stop to speak to her on the way home….we had errands to run, not much time to take care of business and no time to stop and speak to the odd woman under the tree. By the time we returned, she was gone.
Today, after church, my daughter and I turned on our street and there she was again and this time I told my daughter that I was going to cross the street to speak to her. My daughter asked me why and without thinking I said, “I wanna know her name.” She watched me as I got out of the car. Her eyes never left mine as I made my way across the street to speak to the odd woman under the tree. I asked her her name and she answered, haltingly. I stooped down and asked where she lived and she struggled to find words as she reached for a business card in her purse. She lived in an assisted living home around two blocks away and she shrugged when I asked her why she was always parked on our street. I discovered that her loving husband Jack passed away in June and that her heart was broken; I discovered that she had two sons and she just lit up as she spoke of them and her five grandchildren; I discovered that she worked as a secretary until “this” happened. “This” was a stroke that took away her freedom and had her trapped in a chair.
As our time together drew to a close, I shared with her briefly about the faithfulness of God to heal my body and my broken heart; how He heard the cry of an infertile woman and gave me children. Her eyes teared up as I asked if I could pray for her. “Please,” she said. She told me that she was a Jew…and I said “so is Jesus.” I quoted Jeremiah 29:11 to her and told her God loved her and that now I knew why she was parked on my street. 🙂 She smiled and bowed her head as I prayed for her, right there across the street from my house under the shade tree. Our eyes connected one last time and hers were filled with tears. We embraced and she would not let me go. When she finally did, she smiled, turned her chair around and slowly made her way down the street….as I watched her go. Inez is her name….nothing odd about her. Just an assignment…that’s all!