This POST is PART II, after: THE CHURCH AND TOWN THAT CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER, so if you haven’t read that post, please go back and read it first, and then this one.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2
Faith Baptist Church in Eunice, served the town in many ways, such as providing food for the poor in town, going to the grocery store and serving families in the area, different ladies in our church would go by a home of a widow, and help her clean. One time, I had a unique experience of helping different church members in replacing a roof of a widow in town who needed help, and had about 50 pots and pans on the floor of her house, collecting water as the rain came in.
My mom was a tough woman, very tough. She loved helping people, and could do almost anything, the harder the better. One day, while I was at school, my parents had a very unexpected experience and blessing. I heard all about it, when I came home that day.
My parents were filling up with gas one morning, and it happened to be by the bus station in town. Mom looked up from the car, and saw what looked like a homeless man sitting on a bench, and she thought he must be waiting on a bus. He looked very tired, dusty, like he had walked a long way outside, and she couldn’t get him out of her mind. When Dad got back in the car, she pointed to the man, and asked Dad if he thought they could give him a hand. Dad knew that with Mom, that meant more than just handing him a $20 bill and calling it a day. So, he slowly agreed.
They went over to the man, introduced themselves, and asked if he would like some new clothes, a meal, etc. He told them that he really needed a bus ticket, and was hungry. So, they asked him if he would like to get cleaned up at the church, get a new change of clothes first, and he said he sure would. He got in the car with them, and off they went to the church. Mom asked him if he would like a nice, hot bath, because the church had a big bathtub in the bathroom, and he said that he didn’t remember the last time he had taken a bath, and it sounded wonderful. He seemed really weak.
They asked him what he would like to eat, and Mom ran his bath. She asked Dad to go to the house and pick up some clothes that she thought would fit him, and to get his food, along with some cigarettes, because he had said how he needed a cigarette. She told him she was a nurse, and asked him if he was uncomfortable with her helping him with his bath, and he said he wasn’t. Dad wasn’t good with bad smells, and things like this, and he kept making faces and holding his nose during all of this. Mom said she spent a lot of time giving him “looks”. ha!
She helped him off with his clothes, and she said you could tell that those clothes hadn’t been off of him in weeks if not months. As he got into the bath, he let out a sigh. She asked him if he would like her to scrub his back, and he nodded. She scrubbed his back very carefully and slowly. He said he felt like he was in heaven. About the time, his bath was finished, Dad was back with his clothes and food.
They took him out to the front porch, and said there was a nice breeze blowing, and it felt good outside. *Remember, in my first post, when I mentioned that when I saw the front porch of the church, I was really moved to tears?* Well, I was remembering this story that my parents told me about that day after school.
There was a nice swing on the porch, and they had set up a nice chair for him to prop his feet up and really rest while he was eating. Mom asked him if he would like some coffee, and he nodded, and she left to put on a pot of coffee. Dad sat and visited with him while he ate his meal. He oohed and aahed at how good it was, and how wonderful he felt.
He told Dad that he was on his way to another town. (I can’t remember where it was.) And, he needed a bus ticket. He was out of money, and had just had one bad thing happen after another.
When Mom came back, she had a steaming cup of hot coffee, and his cigarettes, and gave them to him. He put his head back on the swing, set down the coffee, and lit up the cigarette. He sipped and puffed, and talked with them for at least another hour. Finally, Mom asked if he was ready to go back to the bus stop. They would buy him a bus ticket to where he needed to go. He said he was ready, and got in their car, and they took him back to the bus station.
He couldn’t say thank you enough to my parents as he was ready to get on the bus, but when he looked at my mom, he stopped and reached out to her, and they hugged. He started to weep. He told her that the love she had shown to him was something he would never forget.
The tears are falling as I’m writing this story, and I remember the tears falling that afternoon after school while they were telling me all about it. It also told me something about my parents, and in particular, my mom, that I needed to hear. It made me smile, cry and realize the heart that my mom had, and it was beautiful.