Jim ended our meeting with, “Well, I guess it’s time to go say hi to the 94 year old.” I had told him about meeting Dorothy two weeks earlier and how she and I had planned to meet again after our appointments today to exchange a magazine, a poem, and more conversation. I was excited to see her! I’d been looking forward to it for 2 weeks.
I walked out of Jim’s office and began to look for Dorothy. I assumed she would be on the curb again, waiting for her ride home, so I headed in that direction. I reached the sidewalk with magazine, poem, and Bible in hand, ready to resume my conversation with my new friend Dorothy, but found the sidewalk empty. There were cars passing by, a few strangers talking across the street, but no sign of the small, elderly woman I had met two weeks before. I heard myself quietly mutter, “Dorothy?”
“Maybe she was not out of her meeting yet”, I thought. I walked back into the building, looking down the hall and around the lobby, again saying “Dorothy?” No response. “Well”, I amusingly thought to myself, “I know she is old, but she’s just spry enough to have possibly slipped by me.” So I wandered back out to the sidewalk. “Dorothy?” Still no Dorothy.
I sat down on the concrete ledge at the edge of the parking lot and waited for another 10 minutes. I took one last look inside and out, then finally walked to my car, disappointed at not getting to see Dorothy and wondering where she might be.
I was sad not to see Dorothy. Obviously, my mind wondered at all the possibilities – hopeful ones like maybe she had to reschedule her appointment, or her ride came before I got to the sidewalk, or maybe there was a fun activity at her retirement community that she didn’t want to miss out on. Or, maybe she just forgot! She’s 94 after all. I also thought of less hopeful scenarios: maybe Dorothy is sick. Maybe she got to the sidewalk before I did and left thinking I forgot about her. Maybe our meeting two weeks ago was the only time I will spend with Dorothy. I hope not.
I quietly said her name one more time (as if it would somehow she could have heard it wherever she might have been). While I don’t know why she wasn’t there that day, I do know this: I can rest in this fact that I’m not the only one quietly calling Dorothy’s name.
In our brief conversation we talked about the most important thing of all – Jesus’ love for her and the reality that she can have a relationship with a loving God through Christ. And scripture says that He’s calling her name. Sweetly, gently, compassionately, lovingly. He’s calling the name given by her parents, longing to give her a new name: Redeemed, a Child of God, Beloved. If only she will just respond to Him.
“Dorothy…If I never see you again here, I’m praying that just as He calls your name, one day, you will call on His.”
I have a feeling I will see Dorothy again.
Revelation 3:20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”