The Woman At The Gift Wrap Counter
I had to get something gift wrapped.
I never utilize that service; however in this case it was necessary.
I found a perfect gift but I actually purchased the last one.
There was no box for the item that I wanted to wrap.
I paid for my purchase.
The salesgirl carefully wrapped it in tissue paper.
She directed me to the gift wrap area.
She told me to show the woman my receipt.
I walked back to the gift wrap area.
A small, thin woman was behind the counter.
I have seen her from other times I have been in this store.
I may have even had something wrapped many years ago.
I gave her my purchase and handed her my receipt.
She found the perfect box.
I chose the paper and the bow that I wanted.
She went to work.
We began to talk.
We talked about how many children each of us have.
We discussed grandchildren.
I told her that my first grandchild was expected in the spring; hers are already grown.
She told me that she is a widow.
In fact, she had been a widow for a few years.
She was married almost fifty years to her husband.
I could see that she still misses him.
My husband had MS, she told me.
I learned that he was wheelchair bound.
She shared that there were years when he was confined to his bed.
At some point along the way, his illness required them to move into another house.
My husband was a doctor, she said.
Our home and his office were in the same place, which was wonderful for many years.
As his disease progressed, he could not go upstairs.
There was only a small powder room on the main level, she explained.
I knew that we would have to move.
I began to look for other houses, though my husband didn’t know it at the time.
After an incident one day, he accepted that we had to move, she said sadly.
A rancher became available four houses down from where we lived, she said with a smile.
I packed thirteen rooms of furniture and moved four houses down, she admitted.
This was one strong woman.
Her small size was deceiving.
There was power and ability behind her diminutive frame.
Her husband was known, since he was a doctor to many who lived in the area.
Sadly, her husband never walked through the front door of their new house.
The grade was such that her husband could wheel his chair right in the back door.
That was the only door of the house he ever used.
As his condition became more challenging, this woman knew she needed help.
She wanted her husband to be at home.
She was hoping to hire someone to help them.
As I listened to her story, I learned it is a difficult process to find help for someone you love.
At the time, I was getting a new counter in my kitchen, she began.
I had to call the office of the counter installers with a question.
When the woman on the phone heard my name, she asked about my husband.
It seems that she was a former patient of my husband.
I told her that he was deteriorating and things were getting harder.
She asked me if I ever considered getting help.
I told her that I wanted to hire someone, in fact I had interviewed two people that morning.
The woman on the phone knew of someone who would be perfect for us.
When I asked if I could call the person, she said that she would contact them first.
About five minutes later, my phone rang and Miss S was on the line.
She told me that she could come over at 1:00 that day to meet us.
I was so glad that one of my daughters was over that day with her baby.
Miss S came in and after talking with her, I knew that she was the one.
I brought her in to meet my husband.
He told me, in no uncertain terms, that he did not need help.
I told him that we would try Miss S for two days a week, just to see how it goes.
In a short time, Miss S was here every day of the week.
She was an incredible blessing to my husband and me.
She took the bus to and from our house every day, since she never learned to drive.
It was an hour commute each way.
She bathed my husband with such care; she took care of his physical needs.
She did not live with us, though we offered.
Miss S’s husband had died during the ten years she was with us.
Miss S’s husband was buried on a Saturday and she was back to work on Monday.
She only took one vacation in all those years, though we insisted she take time off.
We increased her salary along the way.
After her very first raise, she called me on the phone.
After saying hello, she said: My check is wrong; you gave me too much.
I listened and felt my throat tighten many times as the gift wrap woman told me her story.
My beautifully wrapped package was off to the side of the counter.
It seemed less important than the real reason I was at the gift wrap counter.
God had sovereignly placed this woman in my path that day.
The woman behind the gift wrap counter continued her story.
I knew it was getting close to the end.
One morning, I went in after 7:00 and found that my husband had died.
I knew that Miss S would be there at 8:30 as usual.
I did not want to call the funeral home until Miss S had a chance to say goodbye.
Miss S arrived.
She had no idea that my husband had died.
I gave her the time she needed as my children and I waited.
The funeral home was called; the time of death was determined by the nurse.
My husband was placed on a gurney to be wheeled out the back door.
NO! Miss S said emphatically.
He will go out the front door.
It’s only right.
There we were: all four of my children, Miss S, and me.
We moved the furniture.
We made a way.
We quietly wheeled my husband out the front door and down the walkway.
It was the right thing to do.
I asked the woman behind the gift wrap counter for her name.
Grace, she said, amazing Grace.
Amazing Grace, indeed.
I thought of the amazing grace of our Jehovah Jireh, the One who provides.
Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:14)
This story has been written and published with permission.