Memories of Anita

I decided not to post either C. H. Spurgeon’s morning or evening devotional earlier today because they just didn’t feel right. I am going through a period during which God’s convicting spirit combined with amazing instruction from John Owen on holiness, sin, and temptation in the form of 3 books consolidated into 1 which can be found here. Owen’s writing is hard to read and requires much patience as it sometimes takes several passes over a paragraph before I am able to grasp the intended point.

And so it is in my current spiritual state that I found the two meditations in question a bit out of place. I am not generally averse to messages on dying, and in fact I usually find them enlightening and well worth reading. But on this day I just did not want to post either one of them.

The morning meditation begins:

“Arise, and depart.” Micah 2:10

The hour is approaching when the message will come to us, as it comes to all, “Arise, and go forth from the home in which you have dwelt, from the city in which you have done your business, from your family, from your friends. Arise, and take your last journey!”

And the evening:

“And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them—Come up hither!” Revelation 11:12

Without considering these words in their prophetical connection, let us regard them as the invitation of our great Forerunner to His sanctified people. In due time there shall be heard “a great voice from heaven” to every believer, saying, “Come up hither.” This should be to the saints the subject of joyful anticipation. Instead of dreading the time when we shall leave this world to go unto the Father—we should be panting for the hour of our emancipation. Our song should be,

“My heart is with Him on His throne,
And ill can brook delay;Each moment listening for the voice,
‘Rise up and come away!'”

And not finding anything else to post I closed up my blog and moved on to other things. I’m currently following the Arizona Cardinals from Florida having become a fan during the 9 years that my family (4 years) and I (5 years) lived and worked in Phoenix. So, as I often do, I went to the AZCentral website and clicked on the Sports section. No big news really, although it seems that 60% of Cardinal fans would be agreeable to trading for Nick Foles.

And then I did something that I rarely, so rarely in fact that I can’t remember the last time I did so, I clicked on the Local section.

One story caught my eye. The headline stated that a woman referred to as the Safeway lady had been killed after being hit by an SUV on Glendale Road. As I scrolled down through the story, the memory of a woman who matched the description in the story was coming back so me stronger and stronger with each passing paragraph.

About halfway through the long story I scrolled back to the top as I had not caught the  name of this woman in my first reading.  My suspicions were confirmed. It was someone who I had known and attempted to provide at least a limited amount of care for.

There is much that I could say about Anita. But the one thing that I would like to convey seems almost impossible to put into words. But I will make an attempt.

During numerous conversations with Anita over the course of 8 or 9 months while commuting to work on the Phoenix bus system, I experienced on each and every occasion an overwhelming sense that I was loved by this special person. She presented herself with matted and tangled hair, wind and sun blown face that looked like she had just climbed Mt. Everest, and shoes through which the bottoms of her feet met more pavement than shoe.  But when confronted with the gaze of her blue eyes and the soft voice that conveyed gratitude for even the most insignificant of gestures, the particulars of her appearance faded into the background.

Even now I can feel the warmth of what seems to be an unconditional sort of love with just the thought of her.

And so I ponder about her current state. Every fiber of my being presses with the hope that she is joyfully and victoriously in the presence of the Lord at this moment. But until I pass from this life all I can do is hope.

What of the two messages which the Reverend Spurgeon decided to pen for this day, the 7th of February? And what of their message, our hope in the next life? And what shall we do with what seems to be the hand of the Lord guiding me to a section of the paper I rarely visit, and the reality that if I’d not seen the story today it is unlikely that I ever would have?

My confidence is in the Lord. And I am happy to leave questions such as these to his wisdom and understanding.

The article can be read HERE .

I commented as follows on this article:

I met Anita while riding the Glendale/24th St. bus northbound on 24th St. about a mile south of Camelback. That was back in 2015. I helped her bring her bags into the bus and was immediately struck by her gentle nature and of course those eyes.

For the next 8 or 9 months I rode that bus I would see her maybe once or twice a week. She would often be at the bus stop in front of Filabertos located on Glendale at 7th St.

I would sometimes offer her a Subway sandwich which she always accepted. I don’t know if she actually ate them. And one time I spent about $60 at the Dollar General and bought her a rollaboard (hers had wheels that had long since been able to turn and was open at the bottom from being dragged on the street) and a pair of running shoes. She was happy to accept them, but maybe 2 weeks later I saw her and she still had the same old bag and tennis shoes with no soles.

I did ask her one day if I could pray for her and she said yes. I put my arms around her and asked God to keep her under his protection and that if she wasn’t already his to please take her as his child.

She, along with Michael (another homeless man in that same area), was always someone who I felt and cared about deeply. But the bus drivers and my roommate (a Glendale detective) told me that there isn’t a lot that we can do.

So yes, there is a little sadness. But I am glad that the pain of this life is no longer a reality for her. I do hope that she is with the Lord at this present time.

God bless you all,

Larry

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