In January 2016, I started walking the dogs every morning to improve my own fitness and start the day off right. We walked past the little elementary school in our neighborhood, and learned that a couple of the kids who especially enjoyed our visit had recently lost their mom. The crossing guard told me that she hadn't seen them smile in weeks, and that we brought a little moment of joy back to their lives. So we made a point to go every day.
In time, I began to realize that our visits were just as important to Mary, the crossing guard, as they were to the kids. She began bringing (very generous amounts of) treats for the dogs every day in anticipation of our visit. And if we had to miss a day, I could sense her frustration and disappointment next time we saw her. And we, of course, would miss her too.
Yesterday as we approached Mary she didn't look like herself; something was wrong. She had recently been sick, and her husband has been sick for a long time: pneumonia and then the flu. Her husband is struggling. It's not only emotional for her, but he is a much larger person, so it's hard for her to help him get around. With every detail she shared, her eyes welled up with tears and her voice wavered. Her heart was breaking with worry, and mine was breaking to see her in such pain.
If you are the praying type, I would appreciate if you'd send up a prayer for my friend. We met in such an ordinary way, and only see each other in that one context, but our connection is so very special to me.
The photo was taken last week behind the school, during spring break. Even when I knew no one would be there, we walked past, and my dogs look for Mary every single time. She has such a kind and caring heart and just thinking about her lifts my spirits.