Lost and found

Published 8:56 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The persistent thought ran through my head again today. “You should stop by the nursing home and visit Mrs. Sylvia. She would enjoy a visit.” Wasn’t it bad enough that her best friend posted it on Facebook almost every day? Now the random thought popped up whenever I least expected it.

I knew I was being selfish by not wanting to visit her, but I had my reasons. It wasn’t like we were best friends or anything. We both belong to the same writer’s group, and I think she is a nice person. But I don’t like nursing homes much, and I surely don’t like cancer.

Since my late husband died of the disease I haven’t joined in the groups that fight for a cure. I have steered clear of people who talk about it, and definitely people who have it. I simply didn’t want to be reminded of the intense pain and sorrow I felt as cancer ravaged my husband’s body and took a piece of my heart as his life slipped away.

Still … the thought came to me. What if it was you? Do unto others, as you would have them do to you. Well … I recognized that voice and decided it was time to listen, but I really didn’t want to go.

I thought it would be easier if someone went with me so I tried to find a willing party.

“Mike, would you like to drop by the nursing home with me to visit Mrs. Sylvia?”

“Sorry, Honey, I’ve got to work at the rent house today. I won’t have time.”

“Well, I guess I’d better bite the bullet and just get it over with,” I thought.

My car rolled to a halt in front of the nursing home, and my feet shuffled to the door as I wondered what I would find to talk about.

“What if I start crying, now wouldn’t that be great? Lord, please help me not to cry.”

When I finally located the correct corridor and took a seat in the somewhat cramped room a friendly smile lit up eyes that seemed genuinely glad to see me. Instead of the stilted conversation that I had anticipated, we chatted like old friends. We spoke of mutual acquaintances, politics, and the lovely lilies that scented her room with their heady fragrance Mrs. Sylvia asked about my holidays and what my day had been like so far. We didn’t speak about cancer, and we didn’t cry. We shared a laugh or two.

As I got up to leave she asked me to pray for her, and I did. She asked me to come back to see her, and I will. I’ll come back not because I feel that I have to, or should, but because I want to. Today I found a little piece of my heart.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.