It's Friday ... It must be Bridge!
© Betty Sue Eaton
When we experience a tragedy, like the death of a loved one, we wonder how, even in God's
name, we can possibly survive it and go on. All we have to do for an answer is look around at
friends, acquaintances, associates to see how they are doing just that. I have had the great
fortune to meet some of those people and have learned even greater truths from them. One
such friend and fellow youth mentor, quite unknown by her, showed me what real grace in the
face of overwhelming tragedy looks like!  But I didn't seek her out. God placed her in my path
and life, I truly believe, for His purposes. I also believe that He puts us where He wants us to
be WHEN He wants us there.

Jo S. was a very unique, wonderful lady, and when one first meets her, one would never think
there was any pain or grief of any kind in her life. She had a radiant face, lovely coiffed hair,
and astonishingly blue eyes. I first met her in a Wednesday Bible Study class  about five
years ago. That was before my husband and I had made new friends in our little village, and I
was feeling a little sad and lonely in a new place with a different culture than where we had
spent the last 16 years. Retired and rather at loose ends, I decided one morning to attend the
church's 10 o'clock Bible class in order to learn more about God's word and the Episcopal
church, but as much to meet new people with whom I shared a common interest. That
became a regular routine as I came to town each Wednesday to shop for groceries and
attend Bible study.

Jo was one of the ladies there and I was immediately taken by her charming manner. We
attended the class and became friends although she lived in town and I lived far out in the
country. One morning, I stopped her as she was leaving and asked her if she knew where I
could get in touch with the Shivwits Indian Authority with the thought of tutoring some
children. She was totally taken aback as she confessed to me that she had been in prayer
that morning that the Lord would send her another helper at the Shivwits Community Center.
She and several other adults mentored and tutored about fourteen children ranging in ages
from 8 through 15 years on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 3 to 5:30. A number of
the mentors had to take leaves of absence and she was becoming desperate for help. She
put me in touch with the coordinator of the project, another lady from the church, who told me
that their church, in fact, was the founder and sponsor of the program.

During the mentoring experience from February through May, Jo and I became very good
friends and she asked me to please come by to have coffee one morning. When I arrived at
her home after Bible study, she was waiting with hot coffee and a dish of small cookies. Then
she began telling me about her life. Her husband had died about three years earlier after a
life of alcoholism, and her son was dying of an inoperable brain tumor. She had moved to
there because of the wonderful warm climate and the beauty of the desert sandstone
mountains in the area.

She related that she didn't want to spend her life continually mourning her husband and son,
and she had taken the position of second lead instructor in the Shivwits program five years
before. Further, she was very active in her church's activities, served as a Gray Lady at the
local hospital, and belonged to a regular Friday bridge club with other ladies from her church
and neighborhood. They planned luncheons out on bridge day and greatly enjoyed each
other's companionship.  So her schedule looked something like this: Monday- Gray Ladies
Auxiliary at the hospital; Tuesday and Thursday- mentoring and tutoring at the Shivwits
Community Center; Wednesday- morning Bible Study and evening services at Grace
Episcopal Church, and Friday- bridge with the ladies and lunch out. Weekends: Saturday-
grocery shopping and beauty shop, and Sunday morning and evening services at church.

When she related to me how busy she was, I was astounded and said I didn't know how she
kept the pace up!  I was several years her junior and I couldn't do it!  She told me it was by
design; that way, she always had something to get up and go out to do.  But sometimes, she
confided, she just needed to talk to a friend.  Later, she developed severe bronchitis and
chest pain; and taking the doctor's advice, she asked if I would take her place for the next
week as refreshment coordinator at the center. In addition to going by the school for the girls,
she prepared snacks, served them, and then took the drink bottles home and washed them
for the next time!  Then she told me how old she was and I was completely floored! She was
going to have her 84th birthday in a few weeks!

This beautiful lady was so filled with God's grace that she couldn't help but transmit it to any
and all who met her and learned to love her as I did.  If anyone would have a reason to be
sad and remote with grief, she would!  But instead, she stayed close to the Lord and planned
her days leaving no time to wallow in self-pity.  Surely if there are stars given in heaven for
our crowns, Jo will have a galaxy of them!

I can never recall Jo without also thinking, "What day is this?  Oh, it's Friday, I can't drop by
today; it's bridge day!"


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