Life Didn't Turn Out The Way We Planned
Pocket Full of Quarters Trek 2010
Things Didn’t Turn Out the Way We Planned
By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady
Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. James 5:13-14 The Message
“Where are you from?” the man I later found out was John asked. I saw it in his eyes. He had what I called the “Intensive Care Waiting Room” look. John had a burden.
“I live in Pennsylvania. What about you?”
“My wife and I are from Maine. We stay there until November and here until May.” Here was the KOA in the tiny town of Starke, Florida. They traveled in a truck pulling a large 5th wheel camper. “This is a nice campground. We love it.”
“I’m surprised,” I said. “My family lives 45 minutes from here so I’ve never stayed here before. I do like the campground.”
“Are you alone?” he asked.
I paused and prayed about how to answer. Telling a man I’ve never met that I’m alone in the camper next to him isn’t usually recommended. I trusted the peace I felt from the Holy Spirit so I answered.
“I’m a Christian writer and missionary,” I said. “I’m on a mission trip. I’ll be here until Friday. Do you have a church here in Starke?”
“No,” he said. “My wife is bedridden. We can’t go to church.”
“I’m so sorry,” I said.
“Life didn’t turn out like we planned,” he said. “She fell in 2005. She’s bed ridden. I do everything. I even lift her in and out of the truck. I’m doing the laundry now.”
“If you went to church, what church would it be?” I asked.
“We were Episcopal,” he said. I noted the word “were.” He didn’t identify with church.
“How long have you been married?” I asked.
“Fifty years,” he said, his face finally lighting up. I wondered how long he would be able to lift his wife in and out of the truck.
“Congratulations,” I said. “That is a feat now.”
John suddenly looked sad again. “My daughter’s getting a divorce.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “Divorce is so painful. It hurts everyone. We just had a family funeral that brought divorced family members together. I realized how much I’d missed people I used to be related too. I hate divorce. It tears whole families apart. Bob and I have been married almost 39 years.”
“Yep,” he said, shaking his head. “It hurts all of us.”
“I can tell it’s hurting you. Do you have grandchildren?”
“They are all grown. All my kids and grandkids live in Maryland. We don’t see them much.”
“John, do you have any support?”
“Not really, it’s just me and Mary.”
“Is she good company? Does she still have her mind? Does she talk to you?”
“She does,” he said. “She has a good attitude.” I thanked God that something was going right in this poor man’s life. “Her arm’s all drawn up so I have to do everything but she’s good company.”
“My new book came out yesterday. The name of it is Dealing With Pain and Related Depression. It doesn’t sound like Mary’s depressed but she might enjoy reading it. I’m going to give her a copy of it. I’m also going to add Mary to my prayer list.”
“Thank you,” he said.
“John, I always ask people if they are a Christian. What I mean by that is do you believe in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, have you confessed your sins, and have you invited Jesus into your life. Are you a Christian?”
He looked at the ground, as if being reminded of something that had happened a long time ago. “I have,” he finally said.
“You need some help,” I said. “Even if you can’t go to church, maybe if you connected with the local church, they could be support for you.”
“There is a good Episcopal church right up the street,” he said, sounding hopeful. “When we come back in November, I think I’ll try to check them out.”
“Good idea,” I said.
I went back to my camper and got a book. I signed it, “Mary, I’m praying for you. Life can be hard but I understand that you have a good attitude. I can tell your husband loves you. You are blessed.” Cheryle M. Touchton Luke 10:27
I took it back to John.
“I’m finally done with this laundry,” he said.
“I’m doing laundry tomorrow,” I said.
“You’d better do it today,” he said. “It’s less crowded.”
Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to www.pocketfullofchange.org or call Gail Golden at 904 316-5462.
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