An Extraordinary Friend

by SidewalkPhilosopher

The entire town mourned her passing. She had touched more lives with her gentleness than anyone I have ever known.

If a person does not measure up to the world’s standards, it does not mean that, by God’s standards, their qualities are not unmeasured. A person's worth is too often based on what other people think of them. What is most important is whom this woman really was and the depth of her soul, as well as her love for others.

Discovering Jane

 

It  has been almost nine years ago that we moved across the river from beachside to the mainland. Whenever I remember those days, I always remember the woman I first saw walking along the main street that runs through the town past the Mall.

She always wore a heavy jacket, even in the summer, and our summer days are very hot and humid. Her hair was kept short and was always in graying curls of disarray. However, her face was the most memorable thing about her, always displaying a pleasant, content expression with a beautiful, winning smile. Many times she would be talking, seemingly to herself, as she walked along her way, carrying a small bag from the nearby grocery.

Finally, asking others about her, I learned her name was Jane and that she had a small room somewhere here in town. I now know her last name and her story, but that isn’t important today.

What is most important is whom this woman really was and the depth of her soul, as well as her love for others.

 

The Beginning Of A Unique Friendship

 

Not long after we were settled, we found a church and began to attend regularly. One Sunday morning, I noticed Jane sitting across from me, in the shadows of the balcony.

When she saw me look her way, she simply smiled a beautiful smile in my direction. It warmed my heart. She was there, in that same pew every Sunday, at first.

I began to speak or wave to her whenever I encountered her along the street or at the grocery store. I remember one afternoon, I was shopping with my infant granddaughter. As other ladies came up to the cart to see the baby, Jane was watching and smiling from a distance.

Without a thought, I motioned to her to come closer. As she did, the other ladies showed their displeasure on their faces and stepped away.

It didn’t matter. She wanted to see the baby. After looking intently at my granddaughter, she turned her face to me and I saw thankfulness…and something else I couldn’t quite read…almost an expression of love. I felt a closeness to her that I couldn’t explain.

 

Jane's God Given Talent

 

As time passed, I saw our youth at the church make fun of her on Sundays until she finally left her place in the usual pew. I missed her and wondered where she had gone.

However, as the service began and we sang the first hymn, I heard a beautiful soprano above me. It was obviously a trained voice and absolutely angelic. When I had the opportunity, I glanced up to see whom the voice belonged to. I was totally amazed to see Jane smiling back at me. She was the only one in the balcony. The voice was hers.

After the service, I approached her, commenting on the beauty of her voice and how it was a shame she wasn’t singing in the choir. She smiled her radiant smile and simply said, “I will sing in the Lord’s choir some day.”

 

Witnessing Her Pain

 

As the weeks passed, I became disillusioned with many of the women at this church because of their attitude toward Jane.

Yes, she wore old clothes and her life afforded her little opportunity to the things we all take for granted. However, she was a good person and deserved her dignity.

One Sunday morning, just before the service, I witnessed something that has never left my heart. As  I entered the door of the ladies’ room, Jane was standing in line several ladies ahead of me. I soon noticed the looks directed at her and the look of misery on her face. After a few minutes, she saw me and quietly stepped behind me, hiding from their stares, as we stood in line together.

I was appalled at the scene and broken hearted for her pain. Was this the way Christians should display themselves to those less fortunate? I didn’t think so.

 

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Matthew 7:1-2

The Soul Of A Friend

 

The next week, a very strong hurricane approached our coast and we evacuated to my mother’s in South Carolina. During that week away, I wondered where Jane had found refuge during the storm.

When we returned, though the church knew my husband was out of town and my daughter and I were alone that week, we heard not a word from anyone asking of our safety.

However, Jane found us immediately, checking to make sure we were safe. Jane, this woman who had been shunned, who walked everywhere she went, who had very little of her own, who was always alone…this woman was worried about us and came to our aid.

 

Mourning Our Loss

 

We soon found a new church and I only saw Jane along her walk or at the store. One afternoon, waving to her as I passed, she smiled and waved back happily. She then turned, as though speaking to an imaginary friend walking beside her. Jane pointed me out and talked to them as though she were telling them about me, smiling all the while. It was sad to me at the time that she was so lonely.

Only a couple of months later, Jane was found, as though sleeping, under a tree not far from our home. She had laid down to rest, with her head on her bag, and drifted off to Heaven quietly.

The entire town mourned her passing. She had touched more lives with her gentleness than anyone I have ever known.

 

With Whom Jane Talked Daily

 

I began to talk to others downtown about her and soon found that she talked of her Lord Jesus to anyone who would listen as she met them along the way.

And, when she talked to the imaginary person walking beside her, he wasn’t imaginary at all. She was always happy to say that she was talking to Jesus as they walked together.

When I heard this, I remembered the afternoon she pointed me out to her companion, seeming to discuss me with them as they walked. That made me glad.

I am very proud to have known my friend, Jane, and I am thankful that God smiled at me through her eyes.

If a person does not measure up to the world’s standards, it does not mean that, by God’s standards, their qualities are not unmeasured.

A person's worth is too often based on what other people think of them. The one, true authority on our worth is Jesus Christ. Since He gave up His own life for us by dying on a cross, that should tell us just how valuable each and every one of us really are to Him.

 

When I Rest My Soul

by Eugenia S. Hunt

As I walk along the path,

I hear your steps beside me.

The quiet words that touch my ear

Bring joy and peace to guide me.

 

Though life is hard and lonely,

Quick and certain is my stride.

For as we walk that road ahead,

I know you, my steps, will guide.

 

And when, at last, I drop my head

To sleep and rest my soul.

Again I'll find my gentle friend

Will shield me from he cold.

 

We’ll walk again those streets I know,

With this life’s wrongs, forgiven.

For with Your hand upon my arm,

I’ll walk, with You, to Heaven.

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Updated: 01/18/2013, SidewalkPhilosopher
 
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SidewalkPhilosopher on 01/18/2013

Thank you, Georgette...yes, Jane was a special woman with a talent for loving everyone she met, regardless of her own misfortune...I miss her still.

SidewalkPhilosopher on 01/18/2013

Thank you, Georgette...yes, Jane was a special woman with a talent for loving everyone she met, regardless of her own misfortune...I miss her still.

georgettejohn on 01/18/2013

What a great way to start the day! Your story about Jane has touched my heart and will have an influence on how I will make it a point to greet those I meet today. What a great teacher Jane was as she went about life with faith and a gentleness to others. Your story is a wonderful tribute to a woman that sounds as though she truly deserved to be honored.

SidewalkPhilosopher on 03/08/2012

Vincent, thank you so much for sharing my story of Jane. I am going now to read about Wally. Sometimes we are too quick to overlook the people of our community who walk in our shadow...if we do, we miss their blessings.

VincentMoore on 03/08/2012

I was intrigued when I saw your story appear. I just published my story about a dear departed friend named Wally. Your story is similar in nature, although Wally was a homeless, his tenderness towards life, people and especially sick dying children in the cancer wards at our city hospitals, moved my spirit to the core. I was honored and humbled to have known him for a short while in his life. Your story as well was a very touching and stirring story of Jane. Peace and blessings to you and yours.

SidewalkPhilosopher on 12/16/2011

Thank you, Michaela...I am so glad you enjoyed hearing about Jane. She was a very special lady. I will never forget her sweet, forgiving nature.

Michaela on 12/16/2011

What a lovely and touching story, thank you for sharing! People like your friend Jane are true role models, I think - being so accepting of herself, her life (in spite of challenges) and of others. I would love to be a little bite more like that. :)

SidewalkPhilosopher on 11/30/2011

You're welcome, Christine! Jane was a lovely friend!

cdcraftee on 11/30/2011

Ahh-hh...yes! Too often we judge people by their appearances...and not their hearts.
How lovely of you to remind us all of this beautiful aspect of human nature.
Thank you,
Christine

SidewalkPhilosopher on 11/01/2011

Thanks, Lauren and I totally agree!!


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