Mom and I were sorting a box of old photos—a project she wanted to finish before her health worsened. At the bottom was a painting of a young woman I didn't know. "That's Gee." Mom said.
I met Gee once in my life. It was a hot summer day in 1965. We were packed for a day at the beach. Then the yellow rotary wall phone started ringing. I watched Mom answer it. Her hand went to her heart, and she exclaimed, "Gee? Where are you?"
Dad didn't know who Gee was, but reluctantly made a 60 mile trip to collect her from the bus station. Gee and my grandmother were best friends in nursing college. And throughout those years, Gee had been like a second mom to my mom. At the bus station, Gee quickly spotted Mom, and with energy I didn't think an old person could have, she ran to wrap her arms around her. This woman looked ancient—with leathery tanned skin and gray hair spun into a tight knot on the top of her head.
It had been twenty years since Gee committed her life to serving the lepers in Hawaii's Molokai Island. Gee had known about the leper colony's awful beginnings, and her mission was to help care for those suffering. She'd never left Molokai—until now. Gee wanted to come see the young girl she'd left all those years ago.
Mom insisted we still have our beach day, and Gee joined us. On the long drive, Gee sat between my sister and me. Her Hawaiian life was far from paradise. Gee told us stories about the kids she helped—kids who would never run, or enjoy the beach like we were.
After our picnic lunch, I grabbed a second doughnut. Gee quickly scolded, "No! You didn't even take time to appreciate the first one."
My fingers let go, and my eyes went from Gee's to my mom's. Mom explained to Gee that I was so busy running around, the extra doughnut wouldn't matter.
I remember Gee shrugging her shoulders and saying, "You don't learn satisfaction that way."
As I sorted through photos recently, I came across Gee's portrait again. That scene at the beach replayed in my mind. I now understand what Gee was trying to say... if you keep grasping for more before you enjoy what you have, you'll never learn to be satisfied.
Gee was right, of course—it wasn't just about doughnuts, but about appreciating all the good we do have.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11