"When I was a little girl, I remember telling Jesus that I wanted to see my name in lights. It'nt'that somethin'? Of all the things I could'a been prayin' for and I asked Jesus to put my name in lights. Real bright lights, ya' know? So them people in the whole wide world could see my name big in lights 'ya know?"
She tapped the top of my foot which signaled me to put it back in the warm water and she waited for my other foot to come out of the soak. She adjusted the mask covering her mouth which made her pale blue eyes look like water. She turned her head to the front window and coughed as she patted my foot dry with a towel.
"Anyways, I prayed as a kid 'cause I heard some other people talk about it, but I really wadn't raised with it, ya' know? I pray to Jesus all the time. About anything. Nothin' formal, 'cause 'dat ain't me, but I just talk to Him like stuff on my brain and I asks for signs. I believe in signs. D'you?"
I was about to answer but she looked back down at my foot and tried to excavate my big toe's cuticle.
"If you ask for signs and you really want 'em, you'll get 'em. Theys like confirmation of whether or not yous supposed to be doing something. But I think God has a sense of humor. I mean He's got to wit all the these crazy peoples er'where. So I think that's why I'm doin feet, 'cause God's got a sense a humor. When I first got the sign that I's supposed to being doing feet, I told Him, 'NO! Feet are gross.' I mean, feet are kinda' nasty, right?"
I was about to respond but her eyes looked down at my feet again and all I could think about was that maybe I should've scrubbed my feet more before my appointment.
"But Jesus cleaned feet, so if he can do it, I can do it."
"That's right," I managed.
"So I could tell you stories about Him leading me this a-way and that a-way and how it all circled back to wheres I was supposed to be. I could tell you stories that would make your ears fry. Really sizzle with hearing it, ya' know? Good stories. E'rybody's got good stories, but I tell you the way God worked in mine is just well...."
She trailed off and looked up at me. I smiled a more confident grin than I actually felt but I hoped my eyes were telling her that I wanted to hear her stories.
Her eyes moved away from me and darted to something below my chin. She squinted slightly and said, "That cross around your neck lets me know you're a believer."
"Yes ma'am, I am."
"You like talking about God because you're listening real good."
"Yes, ma'am. I do like hearing about God." I said since I hadn't done much talking.
"You know people pray for people even though they don't know it sometimes?"
I nodded and she tapped my foot and waited for the other to come out again.
"People been praying for me long before I knew it and I think it's my job to pray for people when they don't know it, ya' know?
"Yes, I think so."
She looked down and said, "So I prayed to Jesus when I was just a girl to put my name in lights. I could've been praying for my dad not to be an alcoholic and take my Buffalo Nickels away from me. I was so sad that day, but I figured he needed them nickels more than I did cause that's why Jesus let me have 'em for just a little while. You know that's why on this earth you only have things a little while. But praise Jesus, He never forgets a prayer even the ones you don't know your heart prayed without telling your brain, because one day many years ago, I had a customer ...she's gone on to Glory now...but I told her that story about the two Buffalo Nickels and she brought me two Buffalo Nickels the next time I seen her. Ain't that something? God remembering somethin' takin' away from you?"
"Wow. That's amazing. I'm so glad she did that for you. That was really nice."
"Yeah, I treasure those nickels. I surely do. But Jesus heard my prayer about my name in lights too. He never forgot me."
She looked up at me and pulled off her mask. I could see the fine lines beginning to crease smile marks around her eyes and her pale skin dusted with light freckles made her seem younger than she is.
I stared at her, waiting. Grinning.
"I saved and worked my tail off, ya' know? I worked for bunch of other shops, ya' know? Saved my tips, worked extra hours, paid for my husband's colon cancer surgery. He's doing good now though, but I worked hard. Saved a long time....
When that man came to hang my sign I went into the parking lot and looked at him putting the last of the screws in that big plastic sign. It was toward the end of the day and it was getting dark, like in wintertime?
"Well when the lights flickered on behind my name, I stood right there in the parking lot and cried and then I fell to my knees and I praised God. Because He is so good and He takes care of his little children. Even after they all growed up. He remembered my prayer that I whispered so many years ago. I got my name in lights. That sign man came over and hugged me. I guess he's understood. Meant a lot to me."
She pulled a tissue out of her pocket and dabbed her nose with it.
"I bet you won't ever stop praying or looking for signs, will you?"
She looked at me and smiled. "No ma'am I won't. So you don't either."
Seeds to Share:
Matthew 5:5 - Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.