Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Neighbor

Dear Readers,

     This story is about an angel, disguised as a next door neighbor…

 

     THE NEIGHBOR   Journal Entry-  October 25, 2000

 

     In the early 1990’s there was a severe recession in America.  At the time it hit, I was a real estate broker and driving a school bus part-time to supplement my dwindling real estate business.  My husband had been out of work for a year and a half, and his unemployment check was about to run out.  Good jobs were scarce, but they were out there if you were willing to do just about anything.  With two children still at home and not yet college age, I was panicky. 

     Finally one day out of total financial fatique, and with no real income to speak of, I desperately prayed, "Please Lord, help us with our income."  Just returning from my morning school bus run, while walking over my front lawn, I glanced across the street and spotted my neighbor out in his yard, staring over at me.

     ( I should explain at this point that I’m a Christian, and believe in my heart that God speaks to me quite clearly sometimes.)

     At that precise moment that I looked over at him, I heard a profound message, "Ask him if they are hiring at his company!"  My neighbor worked as a city bus driver, a job I couldn’t imagine myself doing.   

     I tried to ignore the message but the urge to speak and the total financial frustration I was feeling at the time, pushed me to open my mouth.  "Richie," I shouted across the street to him, "Are they doing any hiring down at the bus barn by chance?"

     "Yeah, they are!" he responded.  "Only two drivers though!  Why?  Would you or your hubby be interested?  I could put in a good word for you!"

     My gut instinct at that point was to run and hide.  The last thing in the world I ever wanted to do was drive a city bus.  I loved selling real estate and driving school bus, but my husband’s unemployment was running out, and no houses were selling.  One of us had to get a full-time income started, or we were going to be in major financial trouble soon.  With virtually no good jobs available in this now full-blown recession in the early 90’s, I lurched at my neighbor like a kid in a candy store.  "What do I have to do, Rich?"

     "Go down to the office, right now, and fill out an application and I’ll pull it out of the pile and give you an excellent recommendation!" he told me.  Since I was already CDL licensed for school buses, and now I had a thirty-year veteran employee as a reference, I had nothing to lose.  I ran into the city, filled out the application and placed it on top of a two-foot pile of prior applications.

     I was called in for an interview the very next day.  Two days later I was hired with the condition that I pass the required training to drive in the city.  Me, a meek country girl who only knew how to drive a school bus and literally dodge cows in the farmlands of Charlton, Massachusetts, was now being trained to drive in the city of Worcester, Mass.

     Training went well, or so I thought, but the teacher disagreed.  "She’s too timid!" he warned the manager.  "She’ll never make it!  She will be in an accident within the first couple of weeks!  I don’t recommend her for the job," he went on and on to management at the end of my week long training.

     Again, Richie went to bat for me telling management I was qualified, but he also laid it on the line when he was alone with me, "You have got to be more aggressive!" he hammered into me.  "You’re not going to make it if you don’t!  They have decided to give you one more training day with the inspector, and that’s it!"

     I was shocked.  Here I thought I was doing so well and my neighbor was shouting at me to be more aggressive.  I knew the city was tougher than driving in the country, but I really had no clue.  Naivety was my downfall.  All my life I had been sheltered from the corporate world.  For years I had stayed home raising our babies and doing daycare, until I finally went out and got my real estate license.  I was meek and timid, but I had to have this job if our family was going to survive this recession.

     So, one more day I trained, with someone else this time.  The "Rodeo Champ!"  Johnboy everyone called him!  I was so nervous.  I started out driving, but soon lost what little confidence I had.  I did so poorly that I pulled the bus over and broke down in tears and cried uncontrollably to John, "I have to get this job!  I can do it, I know I can!  My husband has been out of work for over a year now and we have no money!"

     I must have tugged at his heart, because he finished the day’s training with me and went back to the company and reported in, "She’ll do fine!  Just let her go and give her a chance!" he encouraged the boss as I listened in.

     And so began my career as a city bus driver, thanks to my angel neighbor Richie, and approval from the rodeo champ.  It wasn’t a surprise to God.  He knew before He whispered that message to me in the front yard that I would be hired.  I was so glad I did as God told me and got my courage up to speak to my neighbor.  Only the Lord knows what’s ahead.  We have to trust in Him.

 

                                  Love in Christ,  Claire xoxo 

Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding"  (NIV)

John 3:3, "The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice."  (NIV)

 

     P.S.  My angel neighbor Richie, passed away shortly after he officially retired from the WRTA.

     P.P.S.   After three years of driving, I was promoted and became the first full-time female dispatcher/inspector and remained in that position until I retired.

      

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The Twofer-Part 2

Dear Readers, 

     Here’s the rest of last week’s story.  You can scroll down the page to read part one…

 

 

     THE TWOFER  PART 2      Journal Entry  2-13-2013 

 

     As I approached the front desk to exit the hospital, I ran into an old friend from church who was headed to see a relative in ICU.  She asked me to walk there with her, and her story unfolded.

     An elderly uncle of hers was very ill and she was worried as he hadn’t yet invited Jesus into his life.  After witnessing to him for many years, she asked if I would pray for him.  When we arrived the nurses were working on this man, so we decided to pray together in the corridor for him to be open to salvation.  The nurses finished up, and when we were allowed in, she introduced me, "Uncle, this is my friend Claire from church!"

     "Hi Mr. …, it’s nice to meet you!  I was wondering if I could pray with you, but first I want to tell you a story?" and I told him my Midnight Light story  (Blog #24  2-16-2011).  He in turn, told me a story about how he fell out of a tree a few years ago while hunting, and broke his back in three places, as well as a couple other broken bones.  He thought he was going to die lying there, and worried who would take care of his very ill wife.  But God spared him.  He also said he believed in a higher power.  He even went on to walk again after breaking his back, which was a miracle and he was able to take care of his wife until she passed away last year.

     As he went on to tell me he thought that was why God let him live, I politely interrupted him and cradled his hand in mine…

     "No Mr. …, you are wrong!" I said boldly.  "God let you live because you needed to get saved!  You needed to invite Jesus into your heart!  Don’t you want to spend eternity in heaven with your wife?  John 3:16 tells us, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life!’  Don’t you want to be with her?" 

     Suddenly, he stared deeply into my eyes and nodded yes, and I held his hand and asked him to repeat after me, "Father, please forgive me for all my sins.  I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for me.  I believe He is the Son of God.  Please, I want Him to come into my heart forever, amen."

     When I looked up, his niece was in tears and she whispered thank you to me.  I left shortly after that so he could rest and spend a little time alone with her.  As I was leaving, the nurses were returning to work on him. 

     Consequently, I floated out to the front desk for the second time, and in tears I told the volunteers what precious moments God had just given me with two patients.  I ran out to the car where my sweet husband waited for over an hour.  I was so excited I couldn’t stop telling him all that God had just done through me.  He not only allowed me to pray for the senior lady I missed on Monday, but He gave me the added bonus of praying with another senior man.

     As I basked in the beauty of it all, my logical hubby caught on before I did, "Oh, now I see why you weren’t supposed to pray on Monday with her!  God was prepping you for a ‘Twofer’!  He wanted both of them saved, not just one!  He sure made the devil look like a fool for harassing you, didn’t He!"

     Wow!  As I started to come out of the cloud I was in, it finally dawned on me.  My man was right as usual.  God’s plan is perfect and HE ALWAYS WINS!

                         

                                  Love in Christ,   Claire  xoxo 

 

 

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The Twofer

Dear Readers,

     How do I shorten this and tell it so profoundly?  I’ll just have to begin at the beginning…

 

     The Twofer-  Journal Entry 2-13-2013

     Monday morning I arrived at my volunteer job and as usual I prayed entering the hospital, "Lord, if there is some special thing You want me to do today, show me, and then give me the courage and the words to do it, amen."

     I did my routine rounds visiting all the patients, but when I reached ICU, I dropped the ball.  An elderly woman, all alone, frightened and in pain, told me, "I think it’s my time to die, and I’m either going to heaven or hell, I don’t know which!"

     I stopped in my tracks and said, "You don’t know where you are going?"

     "No, I don’t," she repeated.

     That was the perfect time to ask her if she wanted me to pray with her, but I didn’t.  I ignored my signal from God.  The very sign I look for from Him, and I didn’t pick up on it.  I just stood there and continued my spiel about magazines, books, and sundries, asking if she needed anything.  She lay there wondering if she was going to heaven or hell and I returned no comfort to this aging, very ill senior, when I had specifically asked God to point out needs for me to act upon.  It went right over my head.

     I finished my work and headed home, fatigued this particular Monday morning and wanting to get home quickly for lunch.  But, about a mile from home the patient came back powerfully into my thoughts, and I suddenly realized how desperately she needed prayer.  "Should I go back to the hospital?" I wondered, "No, it’s too late, and I’m tired.  I’m going home to relax!"  The hospital was full that day and I was exhausted from serving all those patients.

     At home, I sat down to lunch and the devil started right in on me, "You messed up!  You aren’t worthy of any gifts from God!  Just because you ask, and study about what God wants from us, it doesn’t matter!  You lost your chance to pray with that soul!  You were probably her last chance at getting saved!"… and on and on and on, he hammered failure into my mind.

     Monday afternoon I fell to my knees apologizing to the Lord for my misdeed and begged Him to send her someone else to pray with her.  I couldn’t imagine my loving God letting her go, just because I messed up.

     Tuesday came and I still couldn’t shake the feeling of failure.  I got all my housework and laundry done and my hubby ran errands all day.  I prayed a lot, hoping to please God and again begged Him to send a prayer warrior to this elderly woman whose name I didn’t even know, and who probably went home, or to a nursing home by now.  They don’t keep patients in ICU for long before  passing them to the next step.  I almost never see any patient twice in my volunteer job.

     The devil continued to haunt me about this failure all day Tuesday and into the night.  Finally, Wednesday morning I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me.  I woke up early, around 4:30ish to get my blog story typed and online.  When my hubby got up, during his coffee time I kept telling him how I was still very upset over not praying with the senior in ICU, and my always supportive mate said, "Well, we need to go to town and get our driver’s licenses renewed!  We could run to the hospital to see if she is still there!"

     I knew the chances of her still being there three days later were slim.  And, I would need to go in uniform, check my old patient list from last Monday, get her name, go to the front desk and ask if she was still there, and then go down to ICU and pray with her, if she wanted me too.

     "Let’s go!" my man said.  Quickly I showered and talked to God, "Lord, please give me one more chance to pray with her if she is still there, amen."  All of a sudden, in the shower, a totally peaceful feeling swept over me, unlike the pleasant warm shower I usually enjoy.  It was accompanied by a knowing that He was in charge and that if this was to happen, He would take care of all of it.  I almost felt a little cocky like, "So there satan, shame on you!"

     We arrived at 9:15AM, perfect time to get my paperwork and then I went to the front desk to find out if she was still in the hospital.  Imagine my shock when I discovered her in her original room!  I  actually thought I would be headed back to my car by now.  I went straight to ICU and asked the nurse, "Is Mrs. … still here?  I visited with her last Monday."

     "Yes, she’s here," I was told and I went right to her room and closed the door for privacy.

     "Mrs. …, good morning!  Do you remember me hon?  I was here with magazines last Monday morning and we talked."

     "Yes, I do!" she smiled.

     "Well, you said something to me that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about for the last few days."  She stared at me intently.  "You said, I guess I’m getting old, and maybe it’s my time to die and I’m either going to heaven or hell!"  And I said to you, "You don’t know where you are going?"

     "No, I don’t!" you said.  "Well Mrs. …, I should have prayed with you last Monday, to make sure you know where you are going!  I’m sorry I didn’t!  Would you like to pray with me now?"

     And, this charming lady softly spoke, "Yes, I would!"  So, I held her hand and we prayed together for Jesus to forgive her of all her sins, and come into her heart forever.  It was so special, it felt like she and I were surrounded by warm, peaceful angels.  Her soft hand in mine was reassuring, as I realized my job was done.  I finally did what I was supposed to do.

     I’m not sure if this sweet little lady was already saved, or if she was disoriented, or if she was just contemplating her death, but I  do know that she felt better when we prayed and so did I.  She was in a lot of pain, but didn’t want more pain meds because she wanted to be alert and not sleeping.

     I left soon after that, knowing she was fatigued and needed to rest.  I told her I loved her and said good bye.  I literally floated through the hallways of the hospital feeling pleased with doing what I believed God expected of me.

     What a glorious end to my fretting for three days.  I thought I was going to float out to the parking lot, but God had different plans for me.  He wasn’t finished with me yet…

     Part 2- next Wednesday

 

      John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  (NIV) 

      

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