… to visit orphans and widows ….” (James 1:27).
I wrote previously about my visit with the orphans. Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending time with a dear widow, Galina Sergeiovna, who also happens to be Alla’s mama. She is a lively 84 year old, a rarity in Samara where life is hard and health fragile for so many. I can count on one hand (with fingers remaining) the number of my friends here who still have living mothers. So being able to spend time with Alla’s mom is also a privilege.
She insisted (like mother like daughter) on feeding us, even though we had just come from a big lunch at Natasha Ivanovna’s place. She brought out her special bottle of cognac to celebrate my return to her place. Then she dug into some shelves and came up with 100+ year-old photos of her family in the pre-Revolutionary times. We started there, and worked our way up to the present. I couldn’t help but notice the strong resemblances to my own family’s photo albums of the 1900s. Even though the USA and Soviet Union were thousands of miles apart in distance and political ideologies, the lives of ordinary people were so much alike. Posing in front of cars or at the lake front. In tour groups in various resorts or far-away cities. Toddlers standing on chairs for the formal photograph at age 1, 2 and so on. Weddings, birthdays, picnics on the grass.
Galina Sergeiovna called later to thank us for coming. She said I was a blessing. Many time she said it. It only took a couple hours of my time to bring in a ray of California sunshine to a sweet woman who has most of her life behind her. I’m sure you know someone like Alla’s mom whose day would be a bit brighter if you showed up.
Please do it.