Close the Gate, April 25

I drive to and from work five days a week, 52 weeks a year. I take the same route all the time unless I’m feeling adventurous or there is road construction. I have tried every possible way to go and the usual is the fastest and easiest.

On my regular route I pass several businesses and always read the changing marquees and signs they post. I compare the clock times as well as the posted temperatures and often marvel at the differences a couple of miles can make in such things. I like the signs that they are able to change by computer with all the red dots that can make pictures and words. The scrolling, flashing, fading and many other ways of getting people’s attention really works ... well it works on me so it must, by pure default, work on others. 

They probably have the control panels for such signs hidden somewhere in the offices of those buildings. Probably in a safe so spunky adolescents and jester employees don’t get hold of it and make inappropriate posts for the public viewing. I know they would have to keep it hidden from me; after all, I usually avoid temptation unless I can’t resist.  

Anyway ... I have been reading a sign about some gal named Pam for, I would guess, about a year now. First it was “Please pray for Pam,” then “Pam fighting the cancer, keep praying,” then “Pam is still fighting” and, last week, “Pam has gone on to Heaven.”

I never knew Pam but she held a special place in my commuting time. I have been bending God’s ear about this woman I don’t know for more than a year and I was deeply saddened to learn of her passing.

I’m sure it would be easy to look up her obituary on the Internet with a couple of clicks of the keyboard keys, but I have resisted the temptation to do so. I have a picture and story of her I have created in my mind that I don’t want to corrupt with the facts.  

At an anniversary party this past Saturday, a friend asked what I was going to write about this week and I told her “Pam.” Without going into any further detail my friend said she knew Pam. She instantly started to tell me about her and I had to “tut, tut, tut” and shush her for, though it was as awkward to say as it is to write, I didn’t want to know. I did inquire of her if she had attended the funeral and she had. She recounted that it was a beautiful service and that was all I needed to know.

I wonder if Pam, who is now whole at Home, knows about all the prayers from strangers sent heavenward on her behalf. Though I know our appealing for her sake didn’t save her, I would like to think it made the transition easier on her and her family ... if she had one. 

This may sound silly but I know it made me feel better. Yes. I know ... it’s not about me. But, if Pam was the kind of person I concocted her to be in my mind, she would be glad to hear it.

Unfortunately, there is a Pam in every neighborhood, around every corner and across every street. A Pam who is sick or hurt and needs prayers to help her get better or get through. Her need may not be displayed on a business sign you see every day, but trust me when I tell you, Pam is there. And she needs your help.

Sometimes the power of prayer may not seem that it aids the “pray-ee” but, simply by the genuine act of purposefully caring for another, it automatically helps the “pray-er.” And who among us couldn’t use a little divine aid?

Someday I might just look Pam up. I’m sure her life, as well as her passing, is well documented somewhere online in either the newspaper or funeral home archives. It will be waiting there for me when I’m ready. Until then she is going to be my hero for a while and I’m sure she is deserving of such status.

I may not have been born for fame or fancies or other great affairs; but I have unwavering faith, I pay my bills and I always say my prayers. 

We can change the world if we all work together and really give a damn.

It’s time to close the gate, bow our heads for strangers and pray for every Pam.


Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, I’m Nancy Kraayenhof. 

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