by Carol Sokolsky
I found the house—beautiful curb appeal—and as I walked up to the gorgeous stained glass front door, I knew this house would truly be full of charm. Even the doorbell chime was elegant. As she opened the door, the beautiful white foyer was so inviting as she welcomed me, “Please, come in.”
You know the feeling—when you walk into a room—like you probably won’t want to leave? That is what overtook me as she led me from one room to the next, each one more charming, full of stories, I’m sure. I made a comment about the pretty dress hanging on the door at the edge of the foyer… a little out of place, I thought, since she paid such detail to everything in her home, but a beautiful dress, nonetheless. As she took the dress off the door to open it, I expected to see a basement stairway, until I remembered that I was in Tulsa, where basements just don’t work well! As she opened the door, I was again taken back by what I saw. There, in a cozy little nook, was an adorable little bar with a tender memorial to her father and her father-in-law—both World War II veterans. The nook passed through to the room where I believe they spend most of their time. I would! Immediately, I knew that I’d be back again soon, because her home just breathed love and friendship. As she took me through the house, I probably sounded like a broken record, “Beautiful, gorgeous, charming, love that!”… speaking only in adjectives for about 20 minutes. And then she took me out to a covered patio area, and I knew that is where I’d truly live if I had a key to the house!
The coffee smelled so inviting, and as she walked over to pour me a cup, she said she had a special mug for me to use—a gift to her from a special friend—and it truly was. A large, ergonomically perfect mug, one that I could wrap my hands around and just hold for a while. And how, I wondered, did she know it was my favorite color? My happy color, my “I want everything in this color” color? It was aqua—of course—and she didn’t even know. As I approached the table to enjoy our conversation and the amazing coffee, I saw the “Welcome Carol” she had written on her commemorative plate… just for me! The morning went from wonderful to perfect.
I don’t know her well, but I’ve known her for a while, and now as I look back, I wonder how many glorious people I know, like I knew her, that have such stories to tell and such love and kindness to share? But back to the coffee and conversation.
The918 brought us together this day, but as I walked out the door with her, down the sidewalk to the car, after our two hours of beautiful conversation, I knew that God brought us together, and the918 was just the conduit. You see, she has amazing stories in her heart, many that she has lived large and around the world, and many that revolve around her two precious children, nine years apart, the older son and younger daughter… now both married, giving the empty-nesters the opportunity to just enjoy life as they wish. Except… she lives with a debilitating disease.
My new friend has the sweetest spirit, her eyes speak volumes, and yet she apologizes as she tells me she needs to take her medicine with her apple, and I can tell as she moves, that she truly requires that golden pill several times a day… one that keeps her able to move and stable. I realize that I’m in the presence of courage, grit and grace, all rolled into about 95 pounds of power… the face and the heart of an angel. I was humbled.
We talked about life and Jesus, a lot about Jesus… we shared stories. We laughed and cried, yes, we cried. She warmed up my coffee and I sat wrapped around my mug as she sat up and said, “Let me tell you about THE DRESS.” Oh, the dress, she said, that was hanging on the door in the welcoming foyer. The one that I quickly understood as not being where it normally should live. Yes, she had brought it out just for me.
She shared the love story of their daughter and son-in-law, and how she had looked for the perfect dress for her daughter’s wedding. She was very detailed about the search, but all of a sudden, she said with such conviction, “My eyes locked on that dress and I knew—just knew—it was exactly what I wanted.” She was willing to pay whatever price was on the tag, because she loved the dress that much. It’s the one she wanted. Period. She didn’t think twice about spending the money because she loved it that much.
All of a sudden, she changed positions and told me how “The Dress” clearly spoke to her spirit. No, the dress didn’t really speak to her, but the realization that Jesus just loved her so much, that He was willing to pay full price for her. He didn’t think twice… He loved her that much… He wanted her, no matter the cost. Jesus was willing to pay full price.
The Parable of The Dress. Now I get why the dress was hanging in the white foyer with the stained glass front door. It was her story to me, a story—like so many that she holds deep inside of her—that she wanted to tell, and I was so honored that she shared it with me. And today, dear friends, she has now shared with you.
She wants so badly for others to see the goodness of God through her eyes… the eyes of someone who knows and lives with pain. And today, I saw the hands and feet of Jesus in the heart and the words of my new dear friend… who repeated again, “He was willing to pay full price.”
Carol Sokolsky loves coffee, sharing coffee with friends, and spending time writing for the918 in several of her favorite coffee shops in Tulsa. She believes that every story has a story behind it… the real story. And the story behind the story is usually the one she loves to hear. If you have a story to tell, she’d love to meet you for coffee, but be forewarned that the mug is part of the experience… and especially if it’s aqua.