Journal Jan. 2, 2017!
“Let me be Perfectly Frank….”
New Years’ “Adam” – or the day that comes before “Eve” -, Bill and I went to scrounge the local hardware box stores to find pansies to give our courtyard some winter color (to replace the brown of the dead ferns). We also found ourselves roaming through the store for little things to complete some outdoor mini-projects. That evening, while inside Lowe’s, we met a stranger named Frank.
Backing up a little – for those of you who don’t know, or maybe don’t realize, we live downtown. Urban. Also in the midst of a large Urban university campus (VCU). We often have people approach us and ask for money -on the streets, outside stores, etc. Those who really are aggressive and approach with a chip on their shoulder, or a strong odor of ‘disinfectant already consumed’, I have been known to stick out my hand and respond, “No, but if you’d like to give to my cancer fund….“ and usually they walk quickly away or stumble, say “I’m sorry” and leave. I thought this might be one of those times. Shame on me.
This stranger, without a buggy or merchandise in hand, who looked and followed us a little in the store, finally stopped us in the main aisle and asked me if I was a cancer survivor. I smiled and said I was a current cancer warrior. Fighting it daily. He asked if he could hug me. He said softly that he’d lost his brother to cancer this year. Then he said he’d pray for me – daily. Bill, who saw all of this, walked up and said he had a bald head, too, and asked him for a hug! We introduced ourselves. Susan, Bill and Frank. He promised he and others would pray for us daily. I told him how sorry I was for his loss, but that I promised to pray for him daily, as well. I haven’t been able to forget Frank. I was called to prayer.
I’ve had many encounters with strangers where I’ve been blessed to share my story and how prayers, faith and a positive outlook has helped me so far. Usually, these “random” meetings are usually forgotten, I’m sure on both ends. I’m having trouble forgetting this one. I feel guilty stereotyping Frank. Every time I think of him, I find that I’m saying a short prayer for him. I’m hoping and trusting that he’s doing the same. This encounter was also a reminder of how much I love my husband and his sense of humor, but more his gift of compassion he shows to strangers, usually more than I find myself wanting to do.
I’ve found in this encounter at the end of this crazy year and at the beginning of a year full of daily chances I hope to make the best of, that my New Year’s resolution is to be “Perfectly Frank”. Not just “frank” in the no-nonsense faith and encouragement I hope to offer others this year, but “Frank”, like the Man. “Frank” as in someone who engaged THIS stranger of a different background, history, social status, color, etc., who was there as a messenger of hope. A prayer warrior uplifting a cancer warrior in the battle. I want to be “Frank. Perfectly Frank.” I hope you do, too.
Love to you all from the ‘battlefield’. The last appointment following my most recent CT scan in NY, Dr. Kemeny said the scan was “Good”. Not sure of the specifics, yet, but going with the attitude of today is good… I hope… frankly, I pray, that all of us will choose to live DAILY without fear, in the brightness of the gift of each God-given fresh new day. Let’s put aside the bitter arguments, the things we cannot change, and let us LIVE in a way that is “perfectly frank”.
Love you all, Susan