I was hearing talk around the community about a woman I adore who I hadn’t seen in a few weeks that is now “kokobè”.
This Kreyol word means handicapped.
The woman that broke my heart in 2015, who even in her old age, decided to care for her orphaned granddaughter. With this young, spunky gal who can’t move from point A to B fast enough, and her grandmother always following in the distance, they are quite the pair.
So I set off to visit her, unsure of what I’d walk into. Although 80, she walked fearless, always making sure to let me know when she was upset with me for not seeing her more. She is a woman who fears the Lord, raising her hands to the sky multiple times in conversation, continuously and obviously giving praise to her Father, even if you couldn’t understand the words she was preaching to you.
This time walking into her yard was different. She didn’t run out of the house to greet me, she didn’t throw her hands in the air of excitement (because every visitor was a gift). Instead, I walked into her dark house. Her home consisting of one room, the bed taking up over half of the space.
And she laid hunched onto the bed while sitting in her wheelchair, one hand leaned onto her face keeping herself up, cheeks sunken in.
I repeated her name multiple times before she finally opened her eyes.
I wasn’t sure what it was, but as she offered me the chair in front of her, I felt I was sitting with royalty.
Although she was half-clothed -and her voice came out in hardly audible whispers, she was beautiful.
We sat face to face, holding one another’s hands. As we spoke, I noticed her eyes had this gorgeous blue color to them. I couldn’t help but smile with her toothless grin back at me.
These moments with her cause for more beautiful moments to follow. One of my housemates, Leah, felt to go visit her a few days later. Our friend wasn’t able to make it to church anymore because her wheelchair dragged her feet along the dirt paths leading to church, so Leah had a grand idea to pick her up in our car that next Sunday morning. What a darling idea, this gives you a wonderful picture of the heart of Leah.
So a few of my housemates and I, Leah, Noah and with Isken driving us, headed off to meet our friend that morning. Anticipation was rising in me as I was imagining the difficulty of getting her out of her chair, out the small doorway in her house, through the cactus fence and into our little truck.
Without hesitation, Noah followed me into her house, where he swooped her up with ease.
Honestly, it was a beautiful moment where I got to see my housemates be the hands in feet of Jesus. I hope you can imagine the moment with me, as we pulled up to the church as it was already beginning. Leah, placing our friend’s wheelchair into the church, and Noah kindly holding onto her like she was his own grandmother, his hands smoothing down her dress to make sure it wouldn’t rise up. And we walked up those church steps together to allow her to sit in, I’m supposing, her very favorite place to be.
Friends, I am not only honored to watch a friend beginning to leave this world with grace, but eternally grateful to watch my housemates love so strikingly with the heart of Jesus. What a joy.
1 John 3:16-18
“This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.”