Wednesday’s With Lenny

Lenny is an 85 year old man, whom I came to know through my friend Lucy. Lenny’s wife Betty was in need of pedicures and due to her health and limitations, I was asked to help out, and along with her feet I was asked if I could cut Lenny’s hair. We met at my friend Lucy’s house, and ate a wonderful meal, that Lenny and Betty would bring from a local restaurant.

I fell in love with Lenny instantly. He’s the creative romantic type with a nervous almost compulsive nature. His personality is big and contagious, the likable sort. I could see from the start that his passions probably got him into trouble if ever he was underestimated, but saw he sought a sense of intelligence in his relationships, and I valued that.

We enjoyed our lunch/spa days for many months, until Betty’s health began to decline. Our dates moved to their house, and lunch dates were a thing of the past. The last time I visited Betty didn’t have the energy to get her feet done and Lenny’s hair was all that got cut. I wasn’t able to see Betty at all that visit because she was in bed sleeping. That was all she could do in the end.

Time passed and I didn’t hear from my friend Lenny for a few weeks. Then one morning I got a text from his daughter “Can you cut Dads hair for the funeral.” And for a moment I felt like a member of my own family had died. Lenny was deeply grieved as was I, and we comforted each other that day.

I went to the celebration/visitation to show my respects. I felt out of place. I looked at the pictures of Betty’s and Lenny’s life in the span of the years that led to the moments I met them. I realized how much I didn’t know and I felt sad to have entered into their lives so late in the journey we call life. 

I waited for Lenny as he talked to friends, but when he saw he greeted me just like family! Everyone wondered who I was although they lost interest when they realized that I hadn’t the connections they had, had. I knew that even though I would have loved their acknowledgements it wasn’t about me.

Two months or so passed. And I didn’t hear from Lenny or his daughter. I began to think that was the last time I’d see my friend, but then I got a text, and it was to come cut Lenny’s hair again. 

This time he had fallen and hurt his leg. He was in a wheel chair with a cast on his foot to his knee, but seemed well. It was then that I realized Lenny needed someone to wash his hair once a week. I quickly volunteered. I felt drawn to my friend and it had been months since I’d seen him. We planned an arrangement, and that is when my Wednesday’s with Lenny began.

Wednesday’s at 9:00 a.m. I’d grab a sausage burrito and coffee from the McDonalds and head to Lenny’s. He would enjoy his burrito like a special treat, while we talked about the in’s, the outs, and the why’s of life. I cherished these moments because I didn’t have many people who would indulge in such deep conversations with me, and to top it off he has more wisdom in his finger tip than anyone I know. We would laugh and cry together. It was the highlight of my week; finally someone who got me.

One day we found ourselves in a deep conversation about the Lord. We broke down life and what it was about. We got to the root of it and tore it down to the bare essentials. We talked of how being a light was important and how giving of self, love, and good deeds were important as well, and for a moment we were satisfied.

But then I realized, Lenny thought the things we talked about, even dying to ourselves, had to be done to prove ourselves to God or to gain His approval. And then if God approved of us He would welcome us in. I decided to tell him about God’s power. 

“It’s not about doing it alone or to prove anything. It’s about acknowledging that we can’t do it and that we need God to help us do it. Then as we surrender to His power He helps us to be the loving person we long to be.”

I then told him about a book I was reading by Corrie Ten Boom and how she was a perfect example of what I was saying. It was one of my most favorite days with Lenny. The world stopped and we just explored the deep and  philosophical. At the end of the visit he put his hands on my shoulders, looked in my eyes and said, “I’ve always been a skeptic and it’s who I am, but I promise before I go I’m gonna do this.”

I left that day knowing God had done a mighty work through us. God was putting together a puzzle that had long been collecting pieces, and in time they would all be put together. 

I met with Lenny the next week and we didn’t speak of our time prior. His allergies were acting up and he wasn’t quite himself. I enjoyed our conversation and the time we had together. We decided on a scalp treatment that day because his scalp was dry, and after a half-hour of talking we got down to business with hair, and we no longer talked because he took off his hearing device.

It was the next Thursday that we met instead of Wednesday. He had physical therapy that Wednesday so we switch the day just this once. He met me in the drive way with his smiling face. I noticed that it was a good day for him. We got settled and talked while he ate his burrito. He educated me like he always does on a random topic. This time was about telomeres which are found in our blood, and afterwards he asked me, “What’s new with you?” 

I had nothing new to report. And I asked, “What’s new with you?” Sheepishly he responded, “The Lord is new.” I grabbed my face in delight. “Oh! Lenny!” I exclaimed. 

He then proceeded. “I asked God why? Why He had kept me here so long? And He gave me an answer.”

“Be strong, take heart, and be patient.”

(I later looked this up it is Psalm 31:24.)

He went on to explain that he couldn’t have made it through the week without the Lord. And then Lenny ministered to me. He gave me sound wisdom for my life and explained things from the Bible the he had read. I then shared what was on my heart and again we found the answers to life together. It is and will always be my favorite day with Lenny. 

At the end of our visit he told me he wouldn’t need me to wash his hair anymore and that haircuts once every two months would probably do. I was sad to think our Wednesday mornings had come to an end, but in that Thursday morning Lenny did all he could to prepare me to be on my own. More than anyone in my family ever did. 

It was in those moments he also shared with me the gift of knowing that he had made the plunge of asking God unto his heart. He did not have to share that. I am so grateful he did. Wednesday’s with Lenny might be over but they will live on forever in me! I thought at first Wednesday’s were for Lenny, but in the end they were for me too.

 

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