It was an ordinary day, a Tuesday, except this particular Tuesday was my birthday. It was lunch time and as I walked toward the dining area, I noticed the perimeter of one table surrounded by two women and a man. My eyes were immediately drawn to the gentleman sitting in a wheelchair – my daddy. My heart did a flip and my chest swelled with pride to see my dad participating socially as well as doing more than just nibbling at his food. That sight alone was the best birthday present ever.

gift of Sylvia

My dad proudly introduced me to his table companions and announced to all that it was my birthday. Seeing him beaming was like being wrapped in his arms. The two ladies greeted me and told me their names.  That was the moment I met Sylvia. Her sweetheart face was framed in tight, white curls and her impish smile crinkled the skin around her blue-gray eyes. I was drawn to her gentle spirit and welcoming way of leading the conversation so everyone felt included.

I remarked to the nurse on my way out that afternoon that I would love to take Sylvia home with me. I was shown the gift of hospitality in the short time it took to eat lunch.

My dad’s days are ordinary and repetitive. The stimulation of watching the stock market report has lost some of its luster recently as my dad’s days are filled with physical therapy. As often as I visit my dad, there is so much more time when I am not there. My dad loves conversation and the mind-fulfilling stimulation that it provides. When I met Sylvia that day at lunch, I knew that God had provided this beautiful lady to break up some of the mindless monotony of my dad’s days.

[Tweet “We may find ourselves staring at a blessing not knowing it really is the hands and feet of Jesus.”]

The hands and feet of Jesus show up in all sizes, ages, and kinds of people. Sometimes we are staring at the very thing that is a blessing and don’t realize it. Sylvia was a blessing to my dad and this is how I know.

The gift of Sylvia was wrapped up in the story of a coffee date. Two people who never would have met if it wasn’t for unlikely circumstances and unfortunate falls. Two people who happened to be in the same rehab facility at the same time to undergo physical therapy. Two people who were brought together by the nursing staff to share coffee and conversation.

Happenstance??? I don’t think so. God knew and sent a blessing wrapped up in the gift of Sylvia.

God has a funny way of showing us the blessing in the hard. The silver lining in the dark clouds that hover when discouragement and hopelessness fill our days.

A coffee date one day and a wheelchair race in the hallway another helped to break up the monotony for my dad. As his primary caregiver, I learned that joy looks like hope. It is discovering a “Mary” heart in Sylvia to counter my “Martha” personality, which works hard to check off items on my “to do” list. If joy looks like hope, then Sylvia brought hope in her smile and warmth. She radiated a listening spirit and embraced and welcomed all those around her.

Dad is still in rehab giving it his best shot. Sylvia has since gone back to her home, but imagine how a chance meeting of two people led to joy for my dad and a meeting of the minds for both. Never underestimate the power of a blessing sent by God.

We never know when we are going to meet a Sylvia in our lives and certainly do not expect the blessing that comes from a chance meeting. But God knows and I venture to say that He places these people in our lives just when we need them the most.

Have you ever met a Sylvia in your life at a time when you needed it the most? What did the gift of Sylvia look like for you?

Here are some verses for reflection:

Luke 10:38-42

Romans 15:13

Hebrews 13:2

In grace and peace,


Blessed to be linking up with these fabulous ladies!





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