How a Singing Angel In the Gym Reminded Me Where to Find My Treasure

I am honored to introduce you to my sweet friend Amy Dee Stephens. She always has a smile on her face and warmth in her spirit. And she has the coolest job–she works at the Zoo! She is not only a talented writer and published author, but an amazing person. For over ten years I have attended church and bible study with her and seen her compassionate heart on display. She sent me this charming story and graciously allowed me to share it with you.
Guest post by Amy Dee Stephens 
I had a “God encounter” Sunday night at the gym.
First off, let me say that I never dreamed I’d be a member at this particular gym, because I always viewed it as a bit too trendy for me.  It’s a place for serious body builders and toned young people–but it’s close to my house and I got a discounted membership through work.
My routine is to go late in the evening, keep my head down, put in my ear buds, and avoid eye contact.  I am an introvert, after all, and frankly it’s embarrassing that every single workout machine I use, I have to move the weigh level from 250 pounds (from the last guy), down to about 30 pounds for me.
So it caught my attention to see a quite elderly gentlemen shuffle in the door, bracing himself with a tall wooden cane.  He hobbled straight toward me and smiled, very friendly-like, so I asked, “Did you make that cane? It looks like one my husband made on a camping trip.”  He said yes, introduced himself, and we had a short conversation. It turns out, he wanted to use my machine when I was done.
Of course, I immediately turned it over to him.  He said, “My legs have been giving me trouble for about two years, but I found out two days ago that I have Parkinson’s disease. I won’t have much longer to live, but maybe I can make it to 92 like my dad did. That’s why I come here six days a week.”
“I hope you make it,” I said with a sympathetic smile. “Is it better knowing or not knowing what you have?”
“Knowing,” he said. “I’ve never seen you here, but I usually come in the mornings. Do you come every Sunday night?”
I told him that I did, but Sunday was always busy with church and family, so I never made it until the evening. We wished each other the best and went about our workouts.
An hour later, I saw him shuffling past me again.  I took off my ear buds and said, “Did you have a good workout?” “I did, Amy, (he remembered my name), but it makes me real tired. You’d think I would sleep better, but I’m up awake a lot a night.”
“No, just praying. I don’t have to worry, I know where I’m going.” He smiled so serenely, looking straight at me with clear, watery eyes that elderly people sometimes have.
“My mom used to sing me a song,” he said. “Maybe you know it?”
 And he started singing to me, right there in the gym…
This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.
My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
I just locked eyes with him and joined in.  Right there in the gym.  By the last line, I was getting teary, so I had to mouth the last sentence to keep from getting choked up–but he just looked straight at me, calm as could be.
“See, I don’t have anything to worry about.  And then the moment was over and we said our goodbyes.
I doubt I’ll ever hear that song again without thinking about that gentleman. Such an incredible reminder, from someone at the end of his life, that we’re “just a passin’ through.” We get so busy and forget about our final destination. That faithfulness will be rewarded with peace. For Christians, the end of life is something to look forward to, not fear.
I think God was present in the gym tonight.
Maybe that gentleman needed to tell me his story, but it’s more likely that I needed to hear his story.  God knows me well enough to know that music is the most powerful way to speak to me. So he sent a ninety-year-old singing angel with calm, clear eyes to remind me that, “Up in glory land, we’ll live eternally.”  
Amy Dee Stephens is a freelance writer of more than 150 magazine articles and award -winning author of “Oklahoma City Zoo: 1902-1959” and “Oklahoma City Zoo: 1960-2013.” She enjoys butterfly gardening and adventure traveling.
Amy Dee Stephens, Freelance Writer
           “Words carry time and culture.”