My first encounter with Mrs. M. did not go well. In those days, Mrs. M., an intimidating hulking black woman, had a chip on her shoulder and resented anyone in authority. That was more than a few people since Mrs. M. was a file clerk employed to serve the underwriters in section 4. In the early 1970’s, I was a new underwriter who transferred into section 4. That was all she needed to know; I was someone to resent.
Many months passed before Mrs. M.’s attitude towards me began to change. She could not help but notice that I treated her differently from the other underwriters. In truth, I did not treat her any differently from anyone
else. It mattered not to me that the person was my boss, another underwriter, a file clerk, or a member of the night cleaning crew. I treated everyone the same, with kindness, dignity and respect. Eventually, her resentment towards me mellowed and in time we became friends. In fact, we became such good friends that after I had left Met Life to go into ministry, she started to call me from time to time to ask spiritual questions, discuss various matters and catch up on our lives. This continued even after she left New York and moved to Alabama.
Thus, when Mrs. M. called this morning, I was not surprised. However, what did surprise me was the news she shared. She told me she was dying and had called me to say “good-bye.” I asked her how she could know that she was dying. She informed me that her kidneys were failing, and the end was near.
Our talk did not last more than 20 minutes. She needed to head to the hospital. She promised, if possible, to try
and call again. Before we hung up, I asked if I could pray for her. She agreed. I prayed and then we said our “good-byes,” possibly for the last time.
Mrs. M. is a dear friend whom I will profoundly miss. I will especially miss our post-Christmas dialogs when invariably she would call to talk about my family’s latest Christmas letter. I will sorely miss my phone
conversations with her.
The opportunity to see each other again became possible because God crossed our paths and intersected our lives. He enabled me to share about his love and live out that love which helped Mrs. M. to open her heart. It was not I who led Mrs. M. to receive Christ, but I was a part of that process. Thank you God for giving me a role in helping Mrs. M. become a member of your family. Thank you especially for the remarkable friendship we have shared these many years. One day I will see Mrs. M. again. I look forward to that day, to renewing our friendship for all of