It was a few hours later when she left recovery and I was just about to go and visit her in her room. I was sitting there with my head in my hands, rubbing my red eyes, trying to find an ounce of composure and strength to go stand by her bedside. Just then, another family entered the room, talking and making phone calls. I didn’t pay them much attention. Then a few minutes later, I heard the word “Jesus” loud and clear. Just the sound of Jesus’s name made my heart skip a beat, and felt like music to my ears. My eyes looked up and I saw a sweet, white haired older woman, with beautiful eyes, sitting in a wheelchair. Then I overheard her telling her family members how she just hoped that the Lord would allow her to keep her precious husband a little bit longer here on earth. But despite her worry, her face was glowing with joy.
Before I knew it, she was looking straight at me, and saying “Hey Honey! How are ya!”. I quietly said I was fine and left it at that. But then, she proceeded to roll herself over to where I was sitting, and began talking to me about her husband, how he was the matriarch of their family and such a wonderful Godly man. She asked me some questions about why I was there, and began encouraging me, reminding me of beautiful truths from the Bible, and sharing God’s love with me.
I recall her saying, in a soothing and gentle voice, “child – there is just no way to fathom how much God loves us, and it is so important for us to remember that truth in times like these”. The more she talked, I found myself wishing I could pull out a piece of paper and write down her every word, but I just sat there and let her sweetness pour out on me. Then she said something I will never forget. She said, “honey – you are so sweet, and young, I just hope God blesses your sister. And if He can only save one person today, I hope it is her, because my husband is 85 years old, and has lived a long and fruitful life.”
I was stunned at her selflessness. I was shocked that she would even consider the thought of putting a total stranger’s life ahead of the life of her dear husband. I didn’t even know how to respond to such a heartfelt and Godly expression of love. She took my hands, and my mother’s hands who was sitting there with us, and she prayed for my sister out loud. Afterwards, she encouraged us some more and told us not to worry, and before we left, I told her I wanted to pray for her, and we all held hands again and prayed for her husband, Ernest.
Today my sister is still in a lot of pain and still has a long difficult journey to travel towards recovery, but she got two good reports today, and that is a praise. It was an answered prayer, and I am waiting in anticipation to see what prayers He answers next.
I found out what floor that Mrs. Sykes husband was in, and after visiting with my sister for a while, my daughter Kaitlyn and I went to look for her. I found her in the ICU waiting room, standing there with that same joyful glow on her face, happily talking with another stranger. I had brought her a small vase of fresh gardenias from my back yard, and as the smell permeated the room, her eyes grew wide. I asked if she remembered me, and she smiled and said yes. I thanked her for her kindness last night and gave her a hug, and her eyes welled up with tears, as she poured out more encouragement and compliments that lifted my spirits. She doted on my daughter, how pretty she was, how sweet she was, and how wonderful it was to know that she loved the Lord. Then she told my daughter something very profound – she said, with the way the world is today, many kids never hear God’s Word or set foot in a church, and that Kaitlyn might be the only Bible that some kids ever get to read. Kaitlyn smiled and told her thank you, and it opened up an opportunity for me to talk to my daughter about the importance of being Jesus to others.
I can only hope to be just like Mrs. Sykes one day. To become such a strong woman of faith, such a lover of people, so selfless that I would put even strangers ahead of myself. To become a woman that despite hardships and pain, my face will radiate joy and God’s love. To become someone that leaves other people feeling as if they have seen Jesus, through the light that shone through me.
PS Mrs. Sykes said her husband was doing much better today, so I know that God sees Ernest too, and has His angels hovering around him.