Nineteen twenty was the year of her birth.
An only child, not pretty, unwanted.
Abandoned at nine years of age,
Shuffled from one foster home to another.
Treated as a slave although
She was white.

Mistreated and abused, life was
Joyless, sad and without hope.
School was only a
Source of taunting and pain.
Thin, plain looking, pale,
Without friends, lonely and ignored.
She wore hand-me down, ill-fitting
Clothes. Tried hard, learned little.

One evening, years later,
She attended a tent meeting revival.
Young, unlovely, friendless,
Yearning to be with people!
The tent was hot, sweaty and noisy.
Someone banging hymns on an old piano.
Tambourines. Loud, off key singing,
As if trying to wake God!
No one would
Notice her in the crowd.

Lottie listened to the
Evangelist. Coat off, sleeves rolled up,
He shouted, sweated and glared.
His face was beet red, terrible!
Pounded his Bible. “Accept God’s love or
Burn in hell!” Afraid, she obeyed and went forward.
Asked Jesus into her life.
She looked hopefully into the eyes
Of the evangelist; he turned away.
Anxious to count the offering!

Cleaning houses of the wealthy
Provided a meager living. Unnoticed
Except to complain about something. Hard work
All of her life. Alone.
She studied Scripture, desperately seeking
The love of God that
She had heard about so many years ago.
She prayed, waited, lost hope, gave up!

Lottie attended a church
Near her apartment for years.
Stopped going to singles class.
Women were either divorced
Or widowed. Nothing in common.
Rarely greeted with a smile or word.
She cried out in her heart for
Someone to speak, touch her
Hand, notice her! Her hair,
Her face and her spirit were grey!

The pastor seemed nice, but he could never
Remember her name. Meeting her
After the service he bestowed
Upon her a slight, joyless smile
Then quickly spoke to the
Next person in line. His mission
Was to attract young people
To the church, not the elderly.

Now, eighty-seven, frail, poor and alone.
She has broken her hip.
Her home is an old, crumbling, understaffed
Nursing home, reeking with
The smell of urine and hopelessness.
Day and night people are crying,
Moaning, begging for pills.
The rooms are white, sterile. She
Shares it with another woman, who lives
Behind a plastic curtain.
Her bed has a hard, plastic mattress.
Bed sores!

Her day is spent staring at the ceiling or
Trying to look out dirty windows,
Hoping to see the sky, clouds.
Her church has forgotten her.
No one visits.

Life still had one more stake
To pound into her heart! She has lost
Control of her body.
Diapers; shame; humiliation; helplessness!
What little pride she had is taken away!
Her fate is cast into the hands
Of aides who do not speak her language.
She is forced to depend on them, for everything.
Often forced to lie all day in her
Own waste. Cries silently! She prays to die!
Finally, her prayer is answered!

Her pastor nervously scans the local
Paper before breakfast. He’s not sleeping well.
Church attendance is dropping. Why?
He sees the church is
Mentioned under a name
In the obits. Removes his
Glasses, stares into his coffee.
“Who was Lottie?” he asks.
His wife mumbled something.
He paused a moment, thinking, then
Shrugged his thin shoulders, went
Back to reading important the news.

At that moment Lottie was stunned!
Where was she? It’s so beautiful!
Tall, fragrant pine trees, fields of green grass,
Flowers of every description and color, the bluest
Sky she had ever seen.
And clean, wonderful, fresh air!
She felt young and strong, and the
Strangest feeling of all; happy!

Suddenly, someone shouted her name.
“Lottie, hey Lottie!” People
Around, no one familiar. Wait!
A bearded, tan young man, dressed
In light blue slacks and casual
White shirt, and of all things,
Sandals, was running toward her.
He grabbed her and gave her a bear hug,
Pounding her on the back,
Taking her breath away.
“I’ve been waiting for you. Welcome home!”

Lottie struggled to think
Where she might have met
This delightful man.
She looked into his dark,
Sparkling eyes. Listened to his laughter.
“Do I know you?” she asked.
He brushed wisps of hair from her eyes
With a scarred hand.

Suddenly, she knew! It was Jesus!
The only friend she
Had ever known but had never seen.
For the first time in her life she
Felt love! As tears
Filled her eyes she fell to
Her knees grasping those
Strange sandals. She wept
And wept.

With love in His eyes,
He lifted her to her feet. and said,
“Come on Lottie, I have some
wonderful surprises for you!”
As they walked away, together, he gave her
His strong arm. Her smile
Was nearly as bright as His!