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Past Grace

"Girls, come on" I'm kind of pleading at my tag alongs in the grocery store and as my eyes fast scan the aisles,  I see her.  Someone I knew many years ago.  My tongue trying to form her name while my brain tries to retrieve it. "Tanya?" I stammer.
Her familiar face marked with the same kindness and warmth.  Her eyes lit in recognition.  We had worked on the same floor of a rehabilitation center many years ago.  She was still working the same floor.
I stopped and asked her about my old friend, Dickey.  My friend I just knew no longer was on this earth.
"Oh no, He's alive.  We were just talking about you last week. He's been real sick."
My eyes widened.  I had never dreamed he was still there.

Dickey was so special to me.  A special man with the innocence of a child and a mental diagnosis that tormented him much of the time, but didn't inhibit his amazing memory.   I had loved strolling the halls with him and listening to his childlike blunt observations about everyone we passed.  I had bounced into work every day to see him.  We had laughed over the same stories and questions he asked me on repeat and I never got tired of answering them again and again. I had tried to make his small heart of a kid dreams come true in every way I could.

I made up my mind right then that I would be going to see him.  I was surprised to had bumped into this coworker and I knew it was a gift from God to me.  I was going to get another chance.  I had always felt a sting of regret that I had not faithfully went to visit this old man after I had my second child.  Just a handful of visits.  I hadn't been faithful.
I knew he hadn't forgotten, because he never forgot anything ever told him.  His brain was a vault and a story once told him stayed.  For the first couple of years when I left that job I would see people who said, "He asks where Somer is?"
That always pricked my heart.

As I have alluded to in previous posts, this has been a very dark season of life for me.  Many things at play and mistakes I've made seeming to pile before me.  It's been heavy, thick with mixed emotions, and weighed down with regret and "if onlys".  It's been a time that feels foreign to me.  Almost like I have been not me for quite a while now.  A funk for sure.
I think God knew I needed to go back to an old place that reminds me of love.
I packed up my two youngest babies and went to see Dickey.
I had to.
Just walking in the place transported me back to a different innocent time so to speak.
I inquired where his room was.  "It's the same place, same roommate."  I smiled and whisked my kids down to the old room.
He was completely bed ridden now.
I gingerly walked to his bed with my kids and I leaned over and whispered his name.  He didn't know me at first. Just stared blankly up at me.  "Dickey, it's me.  It's Somer."  His eyes cloaked in uncertainty.  "Dickey, Its me.  It's Summertime." I said referring to the name he called me.
His weak dark eyes sparked.  His tired mouth spread a wide smile.
I knew he knew me.  Sure enough.  Immediately he started asking me the same questions again.
He requested I go get him some "pop".
I can't tell you really the joy those moments with him brought me.  Leaning over his bed, holding his drink, and listening to his short sentences and answering the same questions.  It felt like home.
It felt like stepping into a warm, sunlit room with old friends. In my heart I kept wishing for a passage back in time and this was the door I was being given.

This was a gift that I hadn't planned to ever be able to do again, but it took me back to a different time of joy and goodness.  God knew I needed to see with perspective a different time of my life.  To see that no matter what I had done there had been some right and lovely times.
After I left Dickey promising to visit him the next week, my soul was lifted.  Almost like the way my own dad kisses me on the forehead before I leave his house, this visit was like a soul kiss of approval from God Himself.
Sometimes in periods of darkness in our own lives we have the tendency to view the whole of our life  in this singular snapshot of failure.  But God doesn't.  Our life is a massive album filled with myriads of snapshots.  It's never rightly viewed through an isolated season of failure.
Seeing Dickey was grace to me and it made me step back and get a better vantage point.
I needed to see him I'm sure more than he needed to see me.  This sick bed ridden, child like man was soul medicine to me.

What about you?  Have you ever walked through a deep dark valley that is perhaps even one of your own making and found that God gifted you with a friend from the past?  Like Graceful Nostalgia almost?  Reaffirming that He still loves you and that He's not done? Letting you slip back into the past for a minute or two so that you can see hope in the future...

Sometimes God uses the most unlikely to cup our chin with His mercy and whisper to our hearts, "The story is not over."


  1. Oh Somer, what a beautiful account of God's special gift to you, to see how you touch peoples' lives! I heartily agree that no, God is not done with us, no matter how far gone we think we are! Just love how you ran into your old colleague and then took the initiative to visit your old patient -- what if you had missed out on God's love-note to you? But what a gift he had waiting for you! xo

  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! I have a few friends that I don't see very often, but they always show up through mail, phone or text message, just when I need an infusion of grace. God is so good!


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