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Ida-the Blue One

By Louise Byrd

I had a job traveling all over the United States as a salesperson. Only getting home an average of four days a month. While on the road the schedule was hectic. I ended up working from morning to night, seven days a week. However, once in a while I'd get unexpected time off if the home office was unable to schedule an appointment for me. It was a sweltering Iowa evening in August. I received my company fax at the motel and realized I had over six free hours the next day. I was exhausted from a two-week straight grueling pace, and I was in a motel that had a hot tub and a swimming pool. I could even catch a movie on HBO. Oh, yes! A day for me. Yippee!!

I was still excited on my knees before climbing into bed. In my prayers I found myself saying, "Heavenly Father, is there anything YOU want me to do tomorrow? Can I give comfort to another? Render service? Any messages to deliver? Please use me to do Your work - just let me know what you want me to do..." I patiently waited there in the silent darkness for a booming voice to give me instructions. "Dear Lord, is there anything You want to tell me?" It was tempting to claim those precious six hours. After all, I was not getting an answer to my offer of sacrifice. Disappointed and giving up on an answer, I went to sleep. The next morning I repeated the prayer on my knees at my bedside. Nothing. But, I didn't want to take back my offer- especially to God. So, I decided to do volunteer work. Maybe there was a hospital nearby. I asked at the desk. Not even a care center in the town I was in. I didn't give up and was able to find three nursing homes within a thirty mile radius. "I" picked the one (not the closest one) in a small town called Hull. I called and made arrangements with their director to read to three ladies not usually visited. I stopped at a small pharmacy and bought four dusting powders for the ladies I was to visit. A lovely pink, bright yellow, pale peach, and a soft blue. (One extra - just in case!!) I bought some ribbon. I sat in the car and tied cheerful bows on each powder container. Then, off I drove to find the care center on Railroad Street in Hull.

My first hour was spent with elderly Cynthia - we laughed and enjoyed each other. Next was Dena: interesting, blind, retired school teacher. My third and last lady was sweet and reminded me of my grandmother. I allowed each lady to choose a dusting powder. All were happy to receive the small gift. The blue one was left. I was a little surprised because it was the most beautiful of all. I slipped it back into my little bag, and was already outside in the parking lot to leave, feeling the time there was well spent. The director caught up to me and asked me if I had enough time to look in on Ida, who had been really "blue" lately and refused to tell why.


"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

-Mosiah 2: 17


As I looked for her room number, my heart started pounding. When I saw sad Ida on her bed with a broken leg and staring at the ceiling, I knew this was the reason I was at this nursing home. "I" did not choose this care center by accident. The spirit filled the room and words poured out of my mouth. I told her Heavenly Father had sent me to give her a message. In child-like innocence, she said, "What is it?" I told her that He wanted her to know that he was pleased with her life on earth, that He loved her, and that she had nothing to be afraid of. The inspired message was over and I just stood there quietly. Ida had a startled look on her face. She shook her head and exclaimed, “It's a miracle!" Ida motioned me to sit on her bed. She confided that she had been so terribly depressed after she slowly realized she was in the home for good and would not be going back home to the farm. She felt she would die, not having done anything worthwhile for God. She was afraid to meet Him and report that her life had been a failure. Time ran out. Ida said the night before she had cried herself to sleep, begging God to forgive her for her useless life, and asking Him to find a way to tell her how He felt. Ida smiled. "God must really love me to have sent an angel so quickly with the message I so desperately needed to hear." We visited. Ida worked very hard on an Iowa farm, was a good wife, caring for her husband after a tractor accident left him disabled. She plowed the fields, did all the farm chores, and raised two wonderful children. Her son and daughter were married, one a school teacher, and both had children of their own. Ida said she was too tired to do the Lord's work. I explained to her that I now understood the message God had sent her. I explained to her that she had valiantly fulfilled her mission on earth. And no wonder God was so pleased with her life.

We hugged and we cried. As we held each other, it was like God shot a laser of love and warmth into us. We both felt it. We bathed in His glory of answered prayers. (God had directed me to Ida answering my prayer and hers.) I will never forget this spiritual experience. I continue to write Ida, and remember her with little gifts on her birthdays and holidays. To "adopt" a lonely person in a Nursing Home is an indescribable blessing with wonderful rewards to both people. Knowing what Ida would answer, I asked what her favorite color was. I reached into my little bag and gave her the extra dusting powder that was left- the blue one.

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