"Is this the home of the happy Willifords?"
He called through the screen in the front door. (It's still warm in Denver.) I came to the door and met Gil, the delivery man for evening groceries.
I invited him inside, and he carried a heavy load with grocery bags looped over his forearms. I remember with a flash - this is the same way Robb carried groceries in from the car.
Gil made trip after trip from his truck to our kitchen, and we chatted during his brief moments inside.
"Look at these flowers. You have your husband trained well," he smiled.
I told him the Reader's Digest version: my husband died nearly two years ago, and I've decided it's a good idea to order flowers for myself, for no reason but to brighten the kitchen and share my joy with myself.
He shared his sympathy, as most people do when they meet us and see for themselves how whole and yet broken we are.
He said most of his deliveries are to widows, shut-ins, and young moms who are willing to pay the extra few dollars to avoid the tantrums of small, angry children.
Well, I could fall into any or all three of those categories on any given day.
He told me his story as he set my produce on the counter. He and his wife experienced 25 years of infertility, and when most people their age were approaching the lifestage of grandparenting, they adopted two little boys from Russia.
When they brought their sons home, nearly everyone they encountered believed Gil and his wife were taking their grandchildren out for the afternoon. Few realized these boys were written into their family through the labor pains of love.
Just before Gil left my home to venture out to the next recipient of a week's worth of recipes, he said, "I have something for you. Just one minute. I'll be right back."
He returned with a gift for me: a book about Heaven. He carries copies in his backpack and asks God to show him who might be encouraged by the gift.
This, right here, is ministry where you are. He drives a grocery delivery truck and asks God to show him whom he might encourage along the path of his day.
Gil and I have a standing date, once evening a week. Meals included.