Many years ago there was a very elegant store in Charlotte, North Carolina, called Montaldo’s. It carried exquisite women’s apparel.
Mary Anne, the friend I wrote about in my first book, Glimpses of Heaven, shopped there often and was always impeccably dressed. I have to admit I window-shopped there on many occasions and once was hired as their “house model,” which allowed me to play dress-up three times a week.
Mary Anne died after an illness the doctors said would take her life in six months. But God was ever so patient with her; he gave her two and a half years to find him, and find him she did. She was baptized on Christmas Eve and died in the wee hours of Christmas morning, with the peace and grace God gives to those who know and love him. She and I became very close friends through this experience, and during this time, God enabled me to learn some hard and valuable lessons he wanted me to understand.
About two weeks after Mary Anne’s death, I went with a neighbor to Montaldo’s to visit friends working there.
I thought I would shop for a new pair of shoes. Waiting to be helped, my eye was drawn to the center aisle of the store, leading into the very beautiful shoe department. A very elegant woman, dressed to the nines, entered the salon and sat across from me. As she did, she raised her eyes to look directly into my face. It was Mary Anne. She smiled a beautiful, loving smile while tipping her head in my direction. It was as if she was simply stopping by to let me know she had made the hard-fought journey she wanted for so long. In an instant she was gone, and the friend who was with me looked at my wide-eyed expression and said, “You look like you have seen a ghost.”
It was one of those times when you know for sure that God himself was tapping you on the shoulder saying, Pay attention, this is me.