|Posted by karmannandkompany on March 14, 2012 at 1:30 PM|
It was a slow day at the real estateoffice where I worked in New River, AZ, a rural desert community justnorth of Phoenix. It was early in my career as a real estate agentand sales had been few up to that point. So, when the elderlygentleman from Sun City walked into the office, I was grateful andexcited.
We talked for a few minutes, me tryingto get an clue of what he wanted in a future home. It seemed heintended to look at every house listed, the “I'll know it when Isee it” method of house hunting. I picked several houses to showhim and we were out the door.
His wife was waiting in the car. Hewas driving a little bitty import. Good on gas mileage, but notsuited for the dirt roads of the area. I suggested we take my SUV.It had a much higher clearance and a little bit more elbow room. Hiswife was smiling sweetly as he gently helped her out of the car. Heheld her hand as she slowly walked the short distance to my vehicle. It was tricky getting her into the back seat. She seemed so frail,breakable, but we got her safely buckled in.
The first house was the furthestaway from the office and it took a good 25 minutes to get there. Thegentleman talked the entire time. He asked about my husband, if wehad kids, where we lived. He told me about their place in Sun City. His wife sat in the back seat and smiled. When I tried to get him totalk business, he deflected my questions. As we drove along throughthe desert on the winding main road, I was beginning to realize thiswas a pleasant way for the elderly couple to pass the afternoon. Iwas getting discouraged and a bit irritated. My time, after all, wasvaluable.
We finally got to the house, a Santa Festyle with – what else, desert landscaping. The gentleman and Ihelped his wife out of the SUV. He maneuvered her along theflagstone walkway while I unlocked the front door. We walked intoan adobe tiled entry way, with a living room thru an arched doorwayto the right, bedrooms to the left. A fluffy white Shiatsu, camerunning thru the archway from the living room, barking excitedly. The wife saw the dog, and suddenly became animated. “Oh look! Apuppy! How cute”. The dog seemed to respond to her. He stood onhis hind legs and pawed at the air, planting his front paws againsther leg and wagging his entire body. The wife was absolutelydelighted.
The little dog twirled in circles andran back into the living room. He bounded back thru the archeddoorway. The wife squealed with laughter “oh look, there's anotherone!” The dog repeated his performance, running into the livingroom then back into the entry way. The wife was so happy that therewas yet another dog – just like the first one and second one. Itried to tell her that it was the same dog. The husband shushed me.As we watched the proceedings, he had a gentle smile on his face.
The dog (and its many incarnations)eventually wore himself out. The husband took his wife's hand. Wewalked through the house, as I pointed out different features. Thewife was quiet again, smiling. The husband seemed happy. I wassmiling, too.
As we were driving to the next house,the husband confided in me that his wife suffered from Alzheimer. Hetalked about how they had been married for over 50 years and howthey'd sold their old house and moved to Sun City with expectationsof a fun retirement. They both had been in good health most of theirlives. His wife's illness was devastating for him..
We stopped at several more houses. Ateach, the husband would carefully extract his wife from the backseat, guide her around obstacles and away from cactus or any otherdanger, then carefully help her back in. Finally, we made it to theoffice parking lot.
I helped the wife out of the back seat. She looked directly at my face for the first time all afternoon andshe smiled. The smile was so lovely, sweet, bright. It shown in heralready beautiful hazel eyes, making them seem to literally shine. Iwas surprised and shocked at the intensity. She said to me “Ilove you.” And, you know what? I felt loved.
The gentleman promised he would calland we would go look at more houses. He helped his wife back intothe their tiny car. She was gazing at him with that wonderful smile. I knew she loved him, too. I waved as they drove off. I neverheard from them again.
The whole afternoon had turned out tobe amazing. I realized later, it was one of those “divineappointments” that God arranges. I witnessed a tenderness I'veseldom seen between a couple. The gentleman took such great care ofhis wife. Even though she didn't seem to acknowledge him, I couldtell she loved him by the way she looked at him. Communication deeper then any words happened right before my eyes.
I wonder, how often have I been toobusy to stop and talk to someone? Or too wrapped up in my own dramato take a moment? Too often, I'm sure. How many divine appointmentshave I missed because I felt like I might be wasting my time? Yes,my time is valuable, but the experience I had that day with theelderly gentleman and his wife was something of such great value thateverything else seemed to pale in comparison. I don't know if Godput me there for the elderly couple, or vice versa. All I know isI'm glad I didn't miss the appointment!
Now, when I encounter a cute littledog, I think “oh look, there's another one!” and smile,remembering that I am loved.
(a story from Karmann Powell)