Sometimes in life there are experiences that take your breath away – experiences that stay with you forever. And sometimes in life there are people you meet who affect you profoundly even in a matter of moments.
I met a woman named Marguerite who took my hand, looked into my eyes and changed my life in seconds. She is 97 years old, blind and filled with the holy spirit.
My encounter with Marguerite began a few months ago. I picked her up on my route and assisted her into the front seat next to me.
She asked for my name and I told her “Jeremiah.” She smiled and said “I knew there was a reason God had you pick me up.”
I smiled at that statement. She seemed to assume that just because I have a Biblical name that i’m a Christian. I am, but she assumed.
I then told her about how I am studying to be a youth pastor. She really enjoyed hearing this and we made some more small talk before quickly arriving to her destination. I assisted her to her door where she thanked me and then said “Jeremiah, I’ll be praying for you.”
I appreciated the sentiment but thought nothing more of it.
A few days ago her name popped up on my route again. I hate to admit it but I didn’t recognize her name and had forgotten our first encounter. I assisted her into the front passenger seat again and she asked for my name. “Jeremiah” I told her. She asked “Do you live up to it?” I smiled, “I try to.” She smiled too. She was quiet during the ride to her house. When we arrived at her house I suddenly remembered our first encounter. I began assisting her out of the van and she said “You know, you seem awfully familiar.” I told her “I believe we’ve met once before. I’m the one who told you I was studying to be a youth pastor.” She immediately became excited, “I knew it was you! I’ve been praying that God would let me ride with you again.” She held my arm as I walked her to her front door. She then took my hand and looked up into my eyes and said “Jeremiah, I’ve been praying for you everyday and I tell everyone I meet about you. We may never meet again but I know that I will see you on the other side.”
It blew me away. The warmth and love that I felt from a woman who had only met me once. In that moment I felt deeply cared about – by this stranger and by God. It occurred to me that this is the kind of love we are to have towards one another. She may not know it but Marguerite permanently changed the way I think. If I could be half as loving as she, I would be a better person.
I’ll see you on the other side Marguerite.