Monday, November 21, 2011

Ella's Thankfulness

Her name is Ella. Today I sit next to her on a cold bench waiting for #91. We are at a food pantry waiting for her food stamp groceries. The room is crowded with brown paper bags, babies with no shoes, and mothers holding up their children to the water fountain - little feet dangling one after the next. Ella's hands are small and cracked; she fidgets with the cardboard number and we both stare at the white haired man calling out numbers like he is auctioning off artwork. It smells like smoke and Brussels sprouts, and there is a pregnant girl next to me rubbing her tummy. She can't be more than 16 years. Her eyes look glossed over, and her lips are in a tight line. I wonder what her name is. I wonder what her child's name will be.

On the way home Ella tells me that her and her husband have been married for 32 years, and that  11 years ago he suffered a stroke. In a few words, she explains to me how she insisted to care for him instead of taking him to a nursing home. "We decided a long time ago that we'd be there and take care of each other, whoever got sick first." She says it with ease, her fingers laced and resting in her lap. I tell her that it is so sweet of her. She looks at me and smiles. "I enjoy taking care of him." And I believe her. Ella does not have much to grasp onto in this world: her legs are failing her, her husband cannot move and people come and go in her life. I don't know if she hopes in the Lord, but I know that she understands something about what marriage is intended to be. She rejoices in sacrifice and chooses to dwell on thankfulness. Later I will drive home, put some coins in the dryer and praise God for the many blessings in my life.

Gratitude this week:
A husband who loves me
fat cats who cuddle close
walks under blue skies with my friends
Eggs Benedict with country ham
Saturday mornings laughing in bed
brewing a fresh pot of coffee at Royal Bean
discovering a new source of encouragement


  1. What a beautiful story! and I love fresh coffee and eggs benedict too!


"Pleasant words are [like] honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24