Nothing happens by accident, I believe. God is weaving our life stories in ways that we may not fully understand here on earth. I visited a dear, 95-year old lady this week, and we had cake and coffee in her small apartment. She reminded me of another sweet, dear lady named Pani Vera we met two years ago in the hospital.
We had gone as a family, all five of us, to visit a friend who was in the hospital. Our friend was recovering well, and we noticed that she had a roommate who was asleep when we came in. We hadn’t planned on staying for too long but as might be expected with three young kids in the room, her roommate woke up.
She was an older lady who was hard of hearing and who just had surgery for cancer. We greeted her, and she left the room promptly. I thought, “Oh no, we’ve disturbed her peace.” But a few minutes later, she came back with an ice cream bar, which she gave to Robbie. That surprised us and thanked her profusely. Then she looked at our girls and said that she hadn’t seen them. We told her it was quite alright.
She proceeded to open the drawer next to her bed and take out coins and gave each of the girls one 20 crown coin which was the equivalent of a dollar at the time.
We protested but she insisted they take it to buy their own ice cream. She had a bottle of water on her nightstand and she offered us some of it. We were rather surprised to meet someone so friendly and kind and this after a major surgery for cancer.
After some chit chat, we asked her if we could pray for her and she said yes, that she believed in God. And so Jimmie went over and put his hand on her shoulders and prayed.
Vera, who we found out was 62 years old, was very thankful and full of smiles. She enjoyed the kids and told us that she also had two girls and a son but that her son died 8 years ago in a car accident.
We said good-bye to our friend and left. All of us were quite taken back by Pani Vera’s kindness. She was one of those rare individuals, who despite their circumstances, are so full of love that it just oozes out of them. We were complete strangers and foreigners at that and yet she showered us with kindness.
The girls had the idea that we should go back to the hospital and take her a gift to say thank you. And so they drew pictures and Cristina put one of her plush monkeys in a gift bag, and we went off to the hospital the following day.
She was quite surprised to see us. The girls gave her the presents they had made and tears welled up in her eyes. It gave all of us great joy to see her again.
The girls each gave her a hug as we left and I can still see little Eliza who was 7 then wrapping her arms around her frail body and Pani Vera patting her head as we said goodbye.