Sunday, September 27, 2015

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

On occasion I will leave the cabin on Roan Mountain and trek down into Elizabethton just to drop in and browse through a specialty shop I adore.
The elderly Christian woman who owns the shop is always playing ole time hymns as background music; the shop is filled with slightly dusty ‘what-nots’, always reminding me of my small home as a child and the fact Mama never learned the lesson sometimes ‘less is best’ when it comes to decorating.

For some reason though, the essence of the place always seems to bring peace to my soul.

This past Wednesday I walked up to the always open door and was surprised to find it closed. Pushing against it, I was equally surprised to see it slowly crack open and a pretty redhead with alabaster skin peered out. I had never seen her there before.

She, in a slightly gravelly voice, informed me the shop had just closed ten minutes before as the owner always went to church on Wednesday evenings. Before I could say anything she asked where I lived and I told her I lived in a cabin on the side of Roan Mountain.

Immediately the door flung open and this lovely, tall, well-muscled gal gently asked me to step inside telling me she did not have the heart to send me away. I was surprised initially but then remembered this was not unusual behavior for the kind-spirited people I was getting use to in Carter County.

I told her she was really sweet but I did not want to inconvenience her; she apparently was the only one in the shop and my browsing would keep her after hours.  “I really don’t mind honey. I can tell already you are a caring soul so I will just do a little cleaning up and you browse ‘till your little ole heart’s content.” My heart melted then and I felt a connection with this woman. There was something about her that drew me.

A few minutes later I thanked her and as I was leaving, I reached out to shake her hand for being so gracious but my heart within compelled me to hug her instead. Tears welled up in her eyes. I cannot explain it but I sensed pain and rejection somewhere hidden deep within.

She thanked me for the hug and told me she hoped she would see me again; I assured her she would. I told her there was something very special about her that would be enough to drag me off my mountain to pay a visit soon.
And there was.  A couple of days ago I visited the shop again. I had thought about my new buddy often and I looked forward to seeing her.

When I parked my car and started toward the shop, out she walked onto the sidewalk to greet me. We immediately embraced  in that way women do when they are awfully glad to see each other again.

“How have you been?”, I asked. “You know, I have thought about you a lot since I left here and I've wanted to come back to see you. I don’t know about you but I don’t believe in ‘chance happenings’ in my life. I believe God has brought us together for a reason and I sure am glad.”  She wholeheartedly agreed.

“I still can’t get over your willingness to let me come in and browse after hours last week. Would you please let me give you a tip for that kindness and causing you to have to work overtime?”  “Oh please do”, she said with excitement.
As I reached into my purse she immediately told me to stop! No, she did not want a monetary tip; she said she thought I was going to share a beauty tip.
Stunned, I just stood there and looked at her.

Linda, she wanted to know. Haven’t you noticed anything about me?
I looked closely and my first thought was she had maybe darkened that beautiful head of flaming red hair since I had seen her last Wednesday.
Before I could utter a word my new friend said very nervously, “Linda, I am a transgender in progress.”

All I know is what happened next was one of those incredible moments God gives us is this life here on earth that reminds us He is El Shaddai. My instantaneous heartfelt comment was, “Well, you are beautiful.”

And, with a love given freely to me from Christ who cherishes me ‘Just as I Am’, I reached out and put my arms around this wonderful, kind and gracious woman and tears flowed between us.

As she clung to me, the only words she whispered were, “Are you an angel?”
And, realizing I had shared my name but she had never shared hers, I  asked my new friend her name.

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