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The Visitor--an inspirational short story series

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"...Choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices...Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable."
For The Strength of Youth

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The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
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The Visitor--an inspirational short story series
    Ch. 44 The Wisdom of the Wise
Submitted by Steven ODell on 12 January 2009 - 3:44pm.

Steven G. O’Dell © 2008

Velma Wood sat quietly in her chair in the lobby at the home for senior citizens. Others bustled around her, coming to visit family members or going back to their rooms to rest after a short walk in the yard or garden. Velma neither bustled nor walked today. She was reflecting on her life and wondering if it had ever amounted to much. That she had lived a long life was not to be disputed. She was, after all, eighty-two years old. But had she lived a meaningful life? Did it matter to anyone but her?

"Velma, you have a visitor." The voice of a female attendant cut through the reverie and brought Velma around in a moment of surprise.

"What? No one ever comes to see me, you know that," she said softly.

"Well, today seems to be different. He's a handsome fellow, too. I think you'd better see for yourself." She smiled mischievously and turned to lead Velma's gaze in the right direction.

He was handsome in a rugged sort of way, just as she had been told, but Velma had never seen the man before. Her mind wasn't that far gone, despite her age. She was certain she did not know this man.

"Have we met?" she asked, knowing the answer before he could respond.

"No, Velma, but I want to get to know you, if that's alright."

"I suppose... I have nothing better to do. Have a seat and tell me what's on your mind, young man."

The gentleman smiled widely at this treatment and sat down in a nearby chair that he turned to face her. "I suppose I do seem a youngster to you, but I tell you honestly--there are days I feel so-o-o much older than I look."

"Honey, I know the feeling--indeed I do."

The man laughed aloud. His laughter was musical to Velma. Somehow it lifted her spirit a bit. She continued, "What can I do for you?"

"Well, my name is John and I have come to see what I can do for you, actually."

"Sonny, there isn't much an old lady like me can be in need of anymore. Just what did you have in mind? I have no home to paint, no car to repair and no family you can contact for me. I guess you could say I have nothing in this world to need help with." She looked a bit forlorn as she said this.

John softened his voice and looked lovingly upon the woman as he said, "Velma, listen to me. I know you have been feeling down lately. All of your family is gone, including your two children. You think your life hasn't amounted to much. That simply isn't true. You have added far more to the lives of others than you can imagine. That's why I am here--to help you put your life into perspective."

Her eyes were now riveted upon this man. There was no way he could possibly have known the inner feelings of her heart...and yet he did.

"Do you remember the time you found the young Lawrence child in your backyard and took him home to his mother?"

"Why, yes. How did you know that? You couldn't have even been born then, young man."

He smiled adoringly again and continued. "You never knew it, but you saved his life that day. He was headed for the bull-pen on the farm beyond your yard. You know what would have happened there, don't you?"

She looked truly awe-struck. "I can well imagine."

"You also didn't know that he grew up to be a doctor and is currently developing a method for treating brain function deterioration. His work has been very important in that field. And he will succeed because you gave him his life."

"I had no idea...."

"No, I know you didn't. You also didn't know that the evening you took some homemade chocolate chip cookies to Edith Corrigan, you kept her from leaving the house a few minutes earlier and that prevented her from having an automobile accident that would have left her in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. That was a worthy act, don't you think?"

Her eyes were moist now and she nodded silently her agreement.

"And that isn't all, Velma. There were several occasions when you taught the children of the neighborhood about your own childhood and the lessons your parents had taught you when you were young. That may not have seemed like much to you at the time, but the lasting impressions you left on those children have shaped their lives and allowed them to avoid many of the traps of this world that waited to snare them and destroy their lives. You made a difference to them, if not to yourself. And your own children, Velma--they may have passed away prematurely, but they were righteous, God-loving people and will receive a reward appropriate to that type of life--all because of you, Velma."

"I couldn't have known that." She paused to wipe a tear from her cheek. "How do you know it?"

"I don't think you would have believed me five minutes ago, but you might now. I am a messenger, sent from God to help you understand that your life has been productive and worthwhile. All the little things you did when you could have so easily turned away--like helping Mr. Tompkin several times before he passed away, getting his groceries in from the car--you made a tremendous and lasting difference in the lives of those you helped. You lifted the hearts of several who were feeling unloved and unwanted, just like you were awhile ago."

"Thank you, John," she squeaked out softly through her soft sobbing.

"You are more than welcome, my dear woman. And thank you, for doing the Lord's work. I
have been authorized to tell you that you will see your children again--and your husband. You have a distant cousin in Ohio that has a great interest in family, it seems. She is doing research right now that will make it possible for your family to be sealed together for all eternity. Do you believe me, Velma?"

"Yes. Yes, I do. Thank you, John...thank you." She reached her thin and withered hand out to take his and he easily responded in kind.

"You are a lovely woman, Velma. I look forward to seeing you in the Kingdom of God, our Father, but I must go now. I have other work to do. Will you be alright?"

"Yes, of course. I feel so much better now, thanks to you."

"Don't thank me. Thank your Heavenly Father. He sent me to you." He smiled again, stood slowly and kissed her on the cheek, then hugged her a long moment before turning to leave. He paused at the door as her gaze followed him and smiled one more time before disappearing from view. She felt better than she had in years and said a prayer of thanksgiving right then and there for the wonderful care and awareness of a loving God. She sat contentedly in meditation for a few more minutes, until the assistant came to ask if she would like to go to her room for the night.

"No, thank you. I think I would like to visit some more before then." And she did. She took some time to lift the hearts and spirits of those who looked depressed and alone. She greeted a new woman in a wheelchair that was checked in that night. She smiled at everyone she exchanged glances with. And she was happier than she remember being in years.

Velma Wood passed away quietly that night, but not before she understood that her life had indeed counted for something and that she had been admired and appreciated by others who daily gave thanks for the kind and angelic messengers who had come into their lives along the way. Velma now knew without doubt that she was one of these and she had a smile on her face as she slipped peacefully beyond the veil.

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