“Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” – Luke 14:12-14
I like to cook, so when I know we’re having people over for a meal, I usually go all out. I also try to plan the menu a few days in advance. This particular night, though, I didn’t have time to do either. What I ended up making – a Greek-style rice and beans dish, salad, and fresh vegetables – wasn’t my proudest moment in the kitchen. The rice was slightly undercooked, which made it crunchy, and the flavor was much too bland for my taste. However, I had a feeling Georgia wouldn’t notice at all. She didn’t. She kept commenting on how much she enjoyed the food. Georgia was just happy to be with us, and we felt equally blessed to have her in our home.
After dinner, Isabelle and Jocelyn played in the living room, while Justin and I visited with Georgia in the kitchen. We stood because it was more comfortable for her. Her legs tend to cramp if she sits for too long. As we talked, Georgia revealed more details about herself, her family, and the accident that changed her life.
Occasionally, though, Georgia would make random comments that seemed unrelated to our conversation, making it difficult for us to know how all the pieces of her past fit together. Our best understanding is that when Georgia was in her 40s, she suffered from extreme work-related stress, which caused severe physical problems, causing her to deteriorate rather quickly. She got very sick, lost too much weight, and ended up in the hospital. Eventually, she was forced to quit the job she loved.
When I could tell she was getting tired, I offered to take her home. Again, she thanked us profusely for the evening. As I walked her to the front door to make sure she got in safely, Georgia asked me to come in for a few minutes. She had something she wanted to show me.
She handed me a box filled with papers and receipts – medical records, worker’s comp claims, physical therapy documentation, and settlement forms. Georgia was reaching out, trusting me with a few of those mysterious puzzle pieces. She didn’t want me just to read information about her illness and what she endured. She invited me to see her. To know her.
This precious lady has a history. A story. Who was Miss Georgia? What had she been like in her younger days? What were her hobbies? Did she really understudy with Bing Crosby’s daughter-in-law, as she claimed? Had she done some modeling? What had happened to all her friends? Has everyone abandoned Georgia?
I had so many questions and hardly any answers. I was sure of one thing, though. I wanted to know more about this unforgettable woman God has brought to our family.