But the new heaven-sent friendship ended up being even more valuable.
Posted in , Apr 27, 2022
Shoppers at the antiques show in Columbus, Ohio, milled around, but I stood still, mouth agape. Was I seeing things? It seemed impossible, but there it was. A genuine 1920s era Berkey & Gay bedroom suite was being unloaded from a truck by a couple about my age. For me this was like discovering a treasure, one I’d been looking for since junior high school. The furniture was deep green, with hand-painted twining pink roses.
“Like it?” the woman asked as I studied the fine detail on the dresser.
“You don’t see these where I’m from,” I admitted. Or anywhere else much, either, I thought. They were rare. And here was a complete set right in front of me: chest of drawers, twin beds, mirrored dressing table, nightstand—everything I could want! “How much are you hoping to get for it?” I asked.
The woman, who said her name was Margaret, conferred with her husband. “Roger and I paid a lot less than its value at the auction where we got it,” she explained. “We want to pass that savings along.” The whole set cost less than the single chest of drawers would have bought elsewhere. Unfortunately, it was still more than I could afford to spend all at once.
“We’ve got three other people interested,” said Roger. “First one to show up with the money takes her home.”
Lord, I know this is a material matter, I thought. But it would make my bedroom a healing place—if only there was some way…
“You have no idea how much I’d like to pay for the set in full right now,” I said to the couple, “but I just can’t.” Before I knew it, I spilled out the whole truth. “I’ve got surgery coming up for a recurring tumor, and I’m already paying off a huge medical bill. It’s a wonderful deal, and I’m sure you’ll get that buyer.”
Better to just walk away and stop torturing myself. But before I’d gotten far, Margaret called me back over. “Roger and I have discussed it,” she said, nodding to her husband. “If you could make a down payment now and send us the rest as you can, we’d like for you to have the bedroom set.”
I stared at her in shock. “But…why?” I asked.
“I’ve battled cancer myself,” she explained. “I know how expensive health care can be.” She hesitated a moment, then leaned in closer.
“Besides that—and I don’t know how to put this, so I’ll just say it. I love angels, and you remind me of one.”
Margaret was mistaken about which of us was the angel here. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I put down a payment, and Roger loaded what he could fit into my car. In a month we’d all return to the fair and I’d pick up the rest.
By the time I got home, I was feeling a little guilty about the whole transaction. I had never expected God to answer my prayer so dramatically. A bedroom set, no matter how rare or beautiful, was a material object that I could live without. Was it fair to even make such a prayer? I didn’t say any of that to Margaret in the thank-you note I wrote her.
In her email reply, Margaret wanted to know how my preparations for surgery were going. Soon the two of us were corresponding like old friends. Not only did God give me the bedroom set of my dreams, but he gave me a new friend as well. He was too good to me. Surely someone else needed these blessings more than I did.
God knows what he’s doing, I scolded myself as I opened Margaret’s latest email. The content of this one was troubling: Margaret’s cancer had returned. She would start radiation and chemotherapy right away. I called her to assure her I was praying for her.
We postponed plans for a follow-up meeting at the antiques show, and stayed in touch during her treatment, which was successful. By the time we saw each other again, I was far more excited to see Margaret than the rest of my bedroom set.
“You don’t know how much you’ve helped me,” she said when I gave her a hug.
Me, help her? I thought.
“Your notes, your phone calls, your prayers. They made a difference. I knew from the start you were an angel.”
I’d been embarrassed by Margaret’s remark when we first met, and I’d continued to be uncomfortable about God answering my frivolous prayer. But now it was clear that I had it all wrong. Margaret had sensed an angelic presence that day at the fair. God knew how much the two of us were going to need a friend, and he had sent an angel to bring us together.
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