Gratitude Day 217
Thurs., Feb. 21, 2019
Luke 5:19 – but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they took him up on the roof and lowered him—cot and all—through the roof tiles into the crowded room in front of Jesus.
As I sat down at the table in a restaurant, I looked down and was immediately transported back to a time and place earlier in my life.
By a roll of life savers.
You know, those candies that have been around almost as long as the dinosaurs. The candy that comes in a roll of 14 candies with flavors of cherry, raspberry, watermelon, orange and pineapple.
As a child, I remember walking into our local Dime Store. It smelled of rubber and cleaning supplies. Here, you could by chain link by the inch (or foot), toothpaste, pots and pans and household paint all in one stop. A person could easily get lost wandering the endless aisles. If you didn’t want to spend half-of-a-day looking for contact paper, it was best to ask whoever was standing behind the counter for help.
At this same counter is where the Life Savers were stored. They were right below the counter, as part of the rows and rows of candy and gum that cost no more than a quarter. Right there in plain sight, easy to throw onto your pile of goodies.
When the roll of Life Savers was placed in the center of the spot where I would be seated at the restaurant, my brain automatically went back to the door dinging when it was opened at the Dime Store back in little Augusta, WI. Yes, this story was unique to Augusta. But in an earlier time, didn’t every little town have their own version of Dime Store? Rows and rows filled with everything a man or woman or child could possibly need.
It’s been at least 35 years since I’ve had a Life Saver. And yet, I knew immediately what the candy inside of the roll with foil on the end would taste like, if I happened to pop one into my mouth.
Life Savers are intentionally shaped like a round life vest. A small, flavorful candy whose flavor explodes when placed in the mouth, Life Savers are just a little bit of sandy beach when winter has been dragging on too long.
At the restaurant, I meet my friends, Pam and Janice, for brunch. The Life Saver’s were Pam’s little treat for Janice and me; a little something special to bring a smile on our faces. I’ve known these ladies for more than half of my life. We’ve kept up on each other’s lives for decades. We know each other’s gifts and graces, as well as our growth areas. Our history is long and detailed.
The Life Savers? Symbolic of our relationship with each other. We’ve tried to be there when the going was tough. After Janice was involved in a horrible car accident, I washed her hair while she was lying flat in bed and unable to get out because she just wanted clean hair. I’ve sorted through piles of things at Pam’s house, trying to find exactly the items she had requested via e-mail that I send to her overseas.
Likewise, they have been life savers for me. Helping me out when I needed something or someone to come in at the last minute and pitch hit for me.
These ladies, as well as so many others that I know, can be called upon in a moment’s notice. They are my life savers. They are my stretcher barriers. You know, the story of the man who was terribly sick and on a cot. Jesus was healing and teaching people on day. The ill man’s friends decided to take him to Jesus so he could be healed. When they arrived where Jesus was teaching, the house was so full no one could get into the building.
These life savers didn’t give up simply because it was crowded. No, they hauled their ill friend up to the roof, figured out where Jesus was stationed below in the house, removed the roof just enough to let the cot and the man down through the hole into Jesus’ lap.
They were the ill man’s stretcher barriers, folks who knew what the right thing was to do. Life savers – people who know your needs almost more than you know them yourselves.
We can go through life alone and maybe even do OK. But isn’t life a lot more fun and interesting when you have a couple stretcher barriers hanging in the wings with a roll of Life Savers in their hand?
Thank you, Pam, Janice and all those other ladies who have been such important stretcher barriers for me. You mean the world to me.
For stretcher barriers who are also life savers, I am grateful.
Holy God – thank you for bringing people who represent your hands and feet to me into my life. Thank you for all those stretcher barriers and life savers who enrich my life daily. Amen.
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