Monday, March 15, 2010

Taking the Time.

There is always a reason not to do what we know we ought to do.

Elva Balluff is a woman who was a dear friend of my Mom's. Our paths crossed in Nome, Alaska in the mid 60's. A tall Canadian who was married to an electronics expert for the FAA, Elva brought a measure of kindness, faith, and beauty to our small, tough town on the edge of the Bering Sea.

One of the enduring memories of my life is the Christmas Eve when Elva sang the carol "Lo, 'Er a Rose is Blooming" in our small church. It was so beautiful it caused me to sit perfectly still as I rested my chin on the edge of the church balcony.

Elva and her husband, Bunny, moved to the lower 48' shortly after we came to Indiana. Elva has lived in the Aurora, Illinois area for almost 40 years. A time or two over the last twenty-five years we've seen each other.

This past Christmas I received a card from Elva's daughter and her husband. Kim and Dan said Elva had fallen, broken her hip, and was in a rehab center in Aurora. I knew I needed to go.

Last week I got away to work on sermons, and I made my way down to Aurora. I took a wrong turn and made a slow, stop-and-go trip through Naperville. Finally, I got where I needed to be.

When I walked around the corner and entered her room, Elva looked up and gave me a big smile. "You have no idea what it means to me that you've come!" she said. Elva asked if we could go down to the lounge on the first floor to talk. So we went down there and spent about an hour. Talking about the families. Remembering old stories.

I pushed her wheelchair to the elevator and we went back to her room. We prayed together and she gave me a big hug.

I said, "I'll be back to visit."

She answered, "Don't say that unless you mean it. Because you shouldn't say something if you aren't going to do it."

We hugged again. I waved and disappeared around the corner. Before the Friday night rush hour traffic got to the truly serious stage, I was east of Chicago...Hammond.

There are people whose presence defines our lives. The time we have shared leaves a lasting impression on our heart...our soul.

I'm glad I went.


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