I had an encounter of the "real" kind last weekend. It wasn't an alien sighting or Big Foot but "it" had a profound affect on me.
Walking to church, I noticed an elderly lady sitting on the curb in front our house. She appeared to be in her 90's, wearing a tribal dress. I thought maybe she was just catching her breath but by the time we came home from church, she was still sitting there.
Life continued and a few hours later, J came in and told me that she was still out there, sitting. She had moved though, onto our driveway, behind our car. Something stirred inside of me and I grabbed a styrofoam cup and filled it with ice and water. I wanted to hear her story and find out why she was there.
I walked towards her as a little guy on a bike was talking to her. "Grandma, you need to go home. Go home, Grandma!" Grandma mumbled something and didn't budge.
I asked, "Does she speak Spanish?"
The little guy replied, "No."
So, I held out the cup and she shook her head and patted a huge jug of water that she had beside her. She mumbled in an island tongue that I wasn't familiar with.
"Does she need something?" I asked the little boy.
"Do you need something, Grandma?" he asked.
She continued to look at her fingers, ignoring him. I stood still for a moment and then retreated back to the house, figuring that she maybe needed some time alone.
By 9:00 pm, she was still sitting out there. By then, she had put a hand towel on her head. She sat vigil on the driveway, not looking the least bit bugged that the sun had gone down and she was more than likely a snack for mosquitoes.
By 9:30, I looked out the window and she was gone. Disappeared!
Then there was a knock on the door. Grandma's relatives were wanting to know if we had seen her. It seems that she was "missing".
I went to bed, worrying about Grandma. What was it that made her camp out on our driveway? Was she lonely? Hungry? In need of a quiet place? Was she being abused? Did she feel loved?What was Grandma's story?
The next day, J walked in the door from work and he said, "Good news! I saw Grandma. She was sitting on a brick wall down the street."
I was relieved...puzzled but relieved. She was okay.
I see Grandma sometimes, down the street while the kids are riding their bikes around her. I wonder about her life story. What makes her smile? What were her fears growing up? Does she miss "home"? What makes her laugh? What makes her cry?
I may not ever get to hear Grandma's story but she touched me. She is my reminder that "everyone has a story to tell".
What is yours?