One morning while at the dental office, I asked an elderly woman a simple question. I asked her, “Ma’am. Where are you from?”
The woman’s name was Ms. Jane. She was a 70 year-old African-American woman with a stoic demeanor. Her daughter had called a couple of days before her visit to make an appointment for her to have a tooth evaluated. Ms. Jane was suffering from an unbearable toothache and had ridden approximately 2 hours across the state of Georgia to see me for an examination. My dental office was the closest office to her hometown that accepted her dental insurance.
After pondering on my question for a few moments, Ms. Jane squinted her eyes and sharply responded with, “You don’t know me. So, why do YOU need to know my business?”
7 seconds of silence. 8 seconds of silence. 9 seconds of silence.
During this moment of silence, I had to ask myself the question, “Do you really want to know the answer to that question?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be nosy. I was just curious. That’s all. You’re right. It’s not any of my business” I uttered as my voice cracked like a teenage boy going through puberty.
“Hmph! I am from Broxton, Georgia” she stated as she pursed her lips.
“Oh. Wow! My mother’s family is from that same area” I replied.
She tilted her head in the direction of my voice. She grinned as hard as a child who had been left a crisp five dollar bill from the tooth-fairy. “Really? Who are your people?” Mrs. Jane asked with curiosity.
“The Johnson’s, the Butler’s, the Smith’s” I informed her in my normal voice.
She placed her hand over her chest, leaned her head back, and laughed. “Lord! I know your people baby. I knew your grandma. And, I knew your granddad too. They lived right down the road from us. They were such good people. They were hard-working people. They were honest people. They were humble people.”
After hearing her response, the corners of my eyes filled with tears of happiness and sadness.
I was happy that she had such wonderful things to say about my grandparents, but I was also sad because I never got a chance to meet my mother’s parents. Both of her parents died before I was born.
Nevertheless, I was extremely thankful she decided to answer such a simple question such as “Where are you from?”
My heartfelt message is simple: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
Life is such an amazing journey! You never know who you may meet!