A Remarkable Reunion
During Thanksgiving in 2017, I remembered how grateful I was for friends. I became determined to find all those old friends that I'd lost touch with over the years. Since I had moved around a lot and had even lost my address book, I realized my commitment to this search was going to be a difficult task. I decided to begin by finding the oldest and first friend I'd made when I moved to Orlando back in 1959! I was delighted when I found that her children had set up a Facebook page for her! She lives in Maryland and is 95 years young! We are now in contact, and I read her comments on social media!
I felt God's hand in this work of being grateful and letting people know how they touched my life along the way. I succeeded in my quest… except for locating one lady I had known and loved, Rosena. We used to attend Good Shepherd Church in Hayesville, North Carolina together.
My pursuit became quite serious when I woke up in the middle of the night and heard the Holy Spirit’s voice saying, “Go find Rosena.” I was stunned! I answered, “It will take some doing since I have no idea where her children have moved her. It has been over eight years since I last saw her.” I prayed, “Lord, I need your help if I'm going to find her. I haven't got a clue!” and I heard, “You are going to St. Augustine, aren't you?!”
Actually, I did have plans to go there for the Christmas Festival of Lights! Suddenly I recalled that Rosena had a daughter who lived there, but I didn't know her name. However, I did know that she had attended the Episcopal church in the city and was a member of Daughters of the King. My prayers went up again for the Lord’s help.
I called the church and left a message. No reply. I then called our former church in Hayesville and asked the secretary if she had any forwarding address. The latest one they had was in St. Augustine, Florida! “YES!” I thought to myself, “With the Lord’s help, I am going to find my dear friend.” Excitedly, I searched the internet for the address. It was listed as a memory loss facility. My heart jumped! I called the number. Due to rules and regulations, the lady who answered could tell me nothing.
I was not going to give up! I wrote a card to her and sent a picture of the two of us in years past. Still I heard nothing back from anyone. Still I kept hoping that God would let me find her. I continued to kept faith that there would be a way. I needed to let her know how much she is loved and missed.
On December 21st as I was about to leave the old city, I decided to check out this facility even though I had no right to information about her. I arrived about one o'clock. The residents were just coming into the lobby from the dining room. They were still sitting in their wheelchairs; some talking to others. I saw Rosena immediately - just as pretty ever and with the same sweet smile I remembered. I could see she was still the kind and compassionate soul I called my friend. I didn't even have to ask permission from anyone if I could see her! As I approached her, her eyes filled with tears. She grabbed her heart and said, “Oh my, this is almost too much to take in! I can't believe you found me!” We both shed tears and laughter as we sat recalling our happy adventures together. She said she was now 87; I told her I would soon be 80. I told her that I remembered her birthday to be April 12, 1923. She replied quite quickly, “Well, guess I'm 94 then! But how did you remember that?” I answered that she was very important to me, and that I had given her a party for her 85th birthday. She shook her head and said, “Oh, yes, now I remember!” As we talked I learned that she, too, had lost touch with most of her friends. She was thankful that her son had found this lovely home for her, and that her granddaughter came every Wednesday night to see her. Her daughter still lives in the city. It warmed my heart to know she was happy, relatively well and doing just fine getting around. Although she displayed some memory loss, it was not easily recognizable.
During my visit I told her that Father John Rice, who was our priest at Good Shepherd Hayesville, sent his love and best wishes. Hearing this, her eyes filled with tears again as she said, “Oh, My Father John!” for she loved him dearly – just as he loved her.
Jesus gave us such a precious gift of friendship for many years. We shared the joy and love as we were reunited. We had the chance to let each other know how much we have impacted each others’ lives.
Since our visit, sadly her number has been disconnected. Although she hasn’t responded to my letters or cards, I have a feeling she is still there. When I return next summer, you can bet I will try my best to see my dear friend once again.
The laughter we shared remains in my heart. We had so much to be thankful for - especially the way the Lord orchestrated all this so perfectly - down to the very last minute. The Master himself set this all up; I just followed each nudge.