The Secret to Meeting the Most Fascinating People

in loving memory of Marie Bobola

susan pic1My friend Susan is a small but spunky, pebble-throwing prayer warrior whose hat collection rivals Princess Diana’s. She often shows up at our Monday prayer meetings colorfully accessorized from head to toe. But as much as I adore Susan’s fashion statements, it’s the statements of her heart that have rippled their way into my blog today.

susan pic5Three words stood out as Susan shared one morning about her recent trip home: purple poker chips. Susan’s 92-year-old mom, Marie, used to love to play bingo. At Marie’s assisted living home, Susan noticed that some residents were playing bingo using special chips. But her mom was playing with generic markers. She made a mental note to buy Marie a set of purple markers, her mom’s favorite color. Later, after hours of searching the internet to find just the right ones for her mom, she purchased a set of purple poker chips. Her mom was overjoyed to have her own set of signature chips to mark her bingo board each day.

During Susan’s time at the assisted living home, two sweet ladies took a very specific interest in her. The hours she spent listening and laughing with Geneva and Madeline left a strong impression—so strong that the retelling of it brought tears to Susan’s eyes. God richly blessed her that day as she soaked in quality time with an often overlooked generation.

Two short weeks after Susan’s visit, Marie took her final earthly breaths. Susan was beyond grateful for the moments she’d spent with her mom and for the seemingly small ripple of her poker chip gift.

waterSmall things done with love matter. They’re what pebble throwing is all about. Gestures of love shown to the next generation—whether that generation is behind us (our children) or ahead of us (our parents and grandparents)—are significant in kingdom terms. Why? Because Jesus said so. He taught His disciples that even a single cup of water given in His name yields kingdom rewards. Perhaps our Savior would say the same about the gift of purple poker chips.

A few weeks ago, I was checking out at Walmart behind a senior couple. The purple poker chips rippled into my mind. I smiled and greeted the husband, who replied with a few pleasantries. The cashier paged a manager for a price check and in the process, we were faced with a wait.

As we killed time chatting, I was struck by the couple’s wit and charm. I discovered that the husband was an author who had published a highly valuable civil war history book. I looked him up on Amazon when I got home and his antique book is currently priced at several hundred dollars!

cell phone

photo credit: Osman Kalkavan

I often forget about the rich tapestry of stories and contributions the older generation holds. I swoosh past fascinating people as I check my twitter feed in the grocery line, while the Susans of the world search high and low for purple poker chips.

Join me in tossing some pebbles with a generation who has treasure to offer if only we’ll slow down long enough to listen. Who knows what holy introduction might occur with a simple smile and hello? The most fascinating people are out there, just waiting to meet you.

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5 thoughts on “The Secret to Meeting the Most Fascinating People

  1. Lovely writing about a very important topic! I love to chat with the Grammies and Grampies I met in my travels. I love to listen and am always struck with a feeling of joy at having spent a fe moments in fellowship!

  2. So this morning I was in our Wal-Mart 20 items or less line. I had 45 2-pocket folders for work. However, the cashier waved me over to her line saying it was fine because they were 3 colors, so she could ring them up as 3 transactions. Turns out, she had to ring them one by one, but the store was slow (everyone was at the post office as I would soon find out) so she was not concerned. A man came up to the register and I apologized and explained that I had “permission”. He asked me what I was talking about and I pointed to the 20 items or less sign. He replied, “Listen, all I have is time. Usually, I chose the longest line so I can meet some fascinating people”. Such refreshing perspective as I was struggling with patience at every turn today.

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