Some years ago, I was still reeling from the very public demise of my marriage. I felt horridly conspicuous, especially at church. I also felt like a big failure. It was only natural, then, that I would seek out the most remote, least-used restroom for a quick stop between Sunday School and church.
Miss Geri soon found that same potty-place behind the kitchen, and we became "bathroom buddies." She was the widow of our former pastor, and not at all like any pastor's wife I'd ever known. She was beautiful, elegant, and had the most dashing way with clothes. Even then, I longed to be as cool and nice as she.
Miss Geri was well-liked, spirited, and funny. She never failed to remember my name, greet me with a happy smile, and ask if my "silly husband has gotten his mind back." To my sheepish, "Well, no," she would wave her hand, laugh, and exclaim, "Pooh on him, then!" It sounded so funny coming from this lovely older lady that I always laughed. She would pat my cheek, tell me I was beautiful, and that he must be "blind and dumb. Is he deaf, too?"By the time I made my way to "big church", I was prepared with a genuine smile.
I tend to think of pastor's wives as being doers of good deeds, and she probably did her share. The good deeds she performed in that potty-place, though, were little known but ones I will never, ever forget. Miss Geri knew my name every time, and she used it, every time. She gave me acceptance when I needed it more than I can now imagine. She offered me humor, and hope, and love. I didn't realize it then, but she was pouring out the balm of Gilead and turning that little bathroom into a chapel of healing.
A few years ago, she moved from our town to be closer to her children, and I missed her terribly. A few days ago, she moved to her eternal home, and I imagine heaven (admittedly too marvelous to imagine) is an even brighter, sweeter place with Miss Geri there.
When I grow up (which should have been a few decades ago) I'd like to be just like Miss Geri. She just pretended to discover that bathroom about the same time I did. She'd been in that church for years. It was no surprise to her. She had seen a need, followed it into the little potty-place, and met it with such grace and kindness that it took me years to realize she had come in just for me.
With her gone to heaven, someone needs to pick up her standard of meeting needs, no matter how unlikely the route, and pouring out the balm of Gilead with every fiber of her being. I guess that someone might as well be me.
Do you have a Miss Geri? Better yet, why not be the Miss Geri to those in need around you. Humor, hope, and love. It was an unbeatable combination that brought healing in the most unlikely of places.