Tuesday, July 12, 2016
I think it was the movie "Signs" that said: There are no coincidences. I happen to believe that.
Mom and Dad are up in age, and their house is showing the signs of its own slowing down of sorts. Old, rotted wooden windows, peeling paint and a shower that's been caving in for several years.
My father had always been the type of guy who could repair anything. There wasn't much he couldn't do in his healthy, robust youth. We all looked to Dad as a sort-of super hero, and would call him for any jobs in our homes, large or small. When my father became a heart patient, the tables turned drastically. No longer could me or my brother call upon him for help. It was we who became the helpers, the caregivers.
I learned a lot though: how to cut hedges well, as Dad would sit by while I had the hedge trimmers in hand, guiding me with his words and the rubber end of his cane as he'd point and say "you missed a spot." I learned many other jobs: painting, gardening, grass-cutting, things only Dad could do. I felt a sense of pride.
As the years passed, my own life got in the way, and little by little, my parents house would succumb to the ravages of time. My brother and I had our own families, so we would do the best we could, but so many issues crept up; things we couldn't do ourselves, jobs that got way too big. Especially the bathroom shower.
I asked around. Did anyone know someone perhaps who could be of help? Does anyone do this type of work? As I read my list of home issues. I was always rewarded with the same answers: either "no," or "well, it will cost you a fortune." Rejected once again, I would walk away, hoping and praying that someone, anyone, would step up and give us the guidance needed to begin and complete this job, or some of the others.
I found myself praying on the way to work each day. One of my most recent prayers was: "Lord, I ask that you would let my Dad live to see goodness, favor and blessing on his house. I pray that somehow a miracle would occur to be a help to him." But time would pass, and the shower wall began to give way more and more. Dad tried his own hand at small attempts of repair with my brother, but it looked bad, and worse than that, it seemed unsafe and unhealthy.
Two months ago, my father came back from church with a paper bulletin in his hand. "Kar," he asked me, "what do you think this means? Catholic Youth Heart Camp? Do you think it is something for heart patients?"
I read over the paragraphs, my eyes widening as I saw all the jobs this youth camp allegedly did. There seemed to be nothing they wouldn't tackle. There was a telephone contact number of one of the nun's in Dad's church. I phoned the sister the following day and found out it was true! If a family was in particular need, we could sign up to have work done around the house; inside and out. I filled out paperwork, answered questions, and I got Mom and Dad's house on the list immediately.
Yesterday the nicest group of young people I may have ever met, showed up with their adult mentor/supervisor. As we walked around my parent's property, talking of all the jobs that needed attention, I found their positive attitudes refreshing. It seemed there was nothing they wouldn't be able to do.... and that included fixing the shower.
I am an emotional person. Especially when it comes to seeing a miracle before my eyes. I cried right then and there, right in front of the group of seven young people and their leader. I told them that they were an answer to a prayer I'd been praying for a while. I couldn't believe that God would send this group to my family at just the right moment. Not early, but certainly not late. That's how He rolls. His timing is so different from ours. When I want to give up and throw in the proverbial towel, God is there and has my back. Not only my back, but all of me! And, it seems, my family's back and all of them as well!
The youth group is still working there as I type this, but my parents are in awe of the kindness of the teenagers and their mentor. They are polite, caring, Godly, hard-working. They don't grumble or complain, but work with their whole hearts as unto the Lord. This is what the Bible tells us to do, and I've never seen it more than through this youth camp.
These are young people, from what I understand, who give up a week of their precious summer, raising their own money for a time of prayer, reflection and very hard work. They give of themselves unselfishly, and I believe they get back a generous portion of God's blessings.
I had an answered prayer. And it came in the form of a group of teens. God can use you, my friend. He can use me too. Maybe, just maybe we can be the answered prayer for someone else. It's very, very possible.