As quickly as it started two months ago, my book tour ended over the weekend. I will be doing a few book signings over the summer, but the initial tour is over for now. Since mid-March, I have traveled to 28 different towns on Saturdays and met thousands of people. This past Saturday was no different as I was in Carthage signing at the Briar Patch Gift & Nursery.
I had gotten word the day before an older gentleman wanted to come see me, but he probably couldn't get out of the car. When I drove up, guess who was standing outside the car waiting on me? He is 96 years old and had just been released from the hospital the day before with oral cancer. He was there to buy a book and was willing to wait in line! I made sure to expedite his book signing and got his done first. I believe he is the oldest book buyer I've had to date.
A young man who had some mental challenges came to bring me a gift and a letter he had written. I opened the gift and it was a freshwater pearl bracelet--absolutely beautiful!
Later on, a lady in a wheelchair was being brought to the front door. I offered to meet them outside, but she was insistent on being inside. She was hard of hearing but we were able to communicate.
Also in line was a woman in her 80s who had made me a christening dress and baby booties when I was expecting Gracie. She wanted to meet me in person and it was a neat time for me to properly thank her for her meticulously made gift some years ago. "We were just here yesterday picking out flowers for my husband's funeral. He died yesterday," she said with tears rolling down her face. "When I found out you were coming, I had to come back!" They had been married for 61 years and he died Friday from a massive heart attack. I sat and listened to her and prayed for her.
To think that all of these people came, each for a different reason, is very humbling. Some were looking for encouragement through the book, some wanted an autograph and a picture taken, and others just wanted to be loved on for a while.
But last week, I received a rather unique request via email:
"Barbie, my dad has always been a huge fan of yours. He had to go in the hospital last Friday. We got the results Tuesday that he is in stage 4 lung cancer. Yesterday my cousin brought him your book, which he has displayed so he can see it. He starts his chemo today, tomorrow, and hopefully Saturday and will get to go home then. They are moving him to the cancer ward this morning. We were telling a couple of nurses yesterday about how much he loves watching you. We would consider it a huge favor if you would go visit him and sign your book. I know you keep a busy schedule and I know you probably get this all the time, but I thought I would just ask. Thank you so much and if you can't I certainly understand. He doesn't even know I'm asking...no harm done. Have a blessed day and keep on smiling because it means a lot to people. Yours truly, Cathy"
I am getting ready to take a trip so I have plenty to do in preparation, but I couldn't delete Cathy's email or give her the "I'm too busy" excuse. The next day, I went to visit her dad, Houston, in the hospital. When I walked in, his face lit up. He knew exactly who I was and even told his wife, "I need to sit up for this visitor!" so she helped him sit up in his hospital bed. We talked for a bit and he told me how he had stopped smoking 18 years ago, but his doctor said his lung cancer is a direct result of smoking for many years. In a calm manner, he said he believed God would either heal him here or give him the ultimate healing in heaven, and he was ready, if God was calling him home. I held his hands and prayed with him. What a precious man!
Over the last few days, I would have missed some spiritually intimate moments had I been too busy to look and listen. I pray that God will open your ears this week so that your eyes can see the special moments He wants to bring into your heart.