After the first two words of his message, I knew. If the voicemail cut off at that point, I'd already heard all I needed to hear, but still that didn't prepare me for the punch of the words that followed.
“I don't know if you've heard, but she passed away.” His voice was flat, practiced, controlled, as if he'd meted out exactly the number of words he could say before the despair cracked through his voice. My breath, which I'd been holding since I'd heard “Hi Kristy,” puffed out in a screech.
Betty was a gift. I met her in 2010 when she was looking for an “old-fashioned” Avon lady who would sit at her kitchen table and go through the book with her. We were instant friends. Our visits were filled with laughter and story swapping. My kids loved her and she loved my kids, occasionally giving them little gifts and always giving them Tootsie pops. She even knew their favorite flavors. And my orders were always bigger when I left, not because I'm such a salesperson, but because she'd talk me into buying a dress or two for myself.
As quickly as she came into my life, she was just as quickly gone.
That morning, after talking with her husband, both of us sobbing and gasping into the phone, I couldn't stop crying. I cried through breakfast. I cried while getting dressed. I cried at the thought of her sweet, devoted husband sitting alone at his own breakfast table that morning.
Then, my phone beeped and I saw a message from my lifelong friend, a friend whose continued friendship over our lifetime is a gift I never feel worthy of possessing. In the bright sun, I could only read the first line, but that was all I needed. I knew what the rest of the message said without seeing any more. They were expecting. And suddenly, I was laughing.
Between the tear-filled giggles, I whispered “Thank you, God.”
He'd seen my sadness, heard my prayers and reached down to comfort me in a way only He could. He sent me a sweet gift that morning. To know that He keeps the world in perfect balance and still cares about the heart ache of one of his children is an overwhelming gift that I will forever cherish.
When has God eased your pain with unexpected good news? How do you feel knowing that there is a season for new life and a season for death?