Verla by Teresa Earnheart

The first time I met Verla was at her wedding. My cousin, Eddie, who taught at UCLA brought her to Arkansas to marry at his parent’s home. Immediately I became her best friend and she confided all of her fears and hopes for the future to me. She drafted me into the wedding party and was quick to tell anyone how close we were; how much we had in common. Very seldom do I run into someone that I clash with, but the moment I came into Verla’s presence I knew she and I were opposites. More than that, I did not like her.

Through the years she continued to be a thorn in my side. She called me to “sister talk.” I do not have a sister so I listened and made few comments. Whenever we went to California, she made sure to be where we were so we could strengthen our bond. I held up well. My cousin retired and he and Verla moved to Arkansas to leave the fires and earthquakes behind. Through the boredom of the Arkansas lifestyle, Verla became an alcoholic. She began calling me while drinking and I tried to comfort her tears by suggesting activities she could get involved with and make new friends. It was a struggle for me and I constantly dreaded the next phone call.

One night about midnight, I received a phone call from a mutual acquaintance that Verla had been in an auto accident and was in St. John’s ICU in Tulsa. The next morning I was there by 6AM. Eddie related the circumstances of the accident and her condition. Years earlier, he and Verla had become Quakers and around 10AM they began arriving to console Eddie. I sat by Verla’s side. Of course she was unconscious, but I talked and sang to her. The doctor assured me she could not hear me, but I wasn’t deterred. For two days I sat with Verla and when the hospital needed the bed, they eventually moved her upstairs. Eddie and the Quakers had gone to a meeting. I had lotions and lip balm that I dutifully applied to the swollen body of my “friend.” While applying lotion on her left hand, I felt a tingle and Verla breathed her last breath. Why was I in that situation? Did God plan this for us?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares theLord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)

Reflection Question:
Sometimes we do not understand God’s ways; so then, how do we live with the mystery of God’s work in our life?

Mysterious One,
Help me to trust in your ways, for they are not my ways.
Help me to understand by not understanding, and know by not knowing.
In Your Holy Name, Amen

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