Browsing in various used bookstores in the Johnson City TN area, I have found a number of Daily Guideposts in which there is an entry for every single day of every month for the whole year – a note or a brief prayer.
The editors had given the blank spaces various captious through the years- “Blessings,” “Thank you to God,” “Everyday Wonders,” etc. Over a span of years, from 1983 to 1995, apparently this person never missed a day. Amazing, I thought. There was a name in some of them, but the handwriting and the faithfulness of the notes made me certain that even the unsigned ones must have belonged to the same person. I don’t have every year, but I have found at least nine.
The last name was common in Johnson City so I didn’t expect I’d be able to track down this persistent person of prayer. I thought perhaps her family had put the books in the shop when she died – the handwriting looked like that of an older person for years in the 1980s and 1990s.
I read some of the notes, feeling a little like an eavesdropper. They were inspiring. Eventually, I was moved to try to find her. I came across her note of gratitude for the hospitality of the … family, an unusual name. On a hunch, I looked up that name and located someone. The person I called remembered the writer with affection and thought she might know someone who would know where she is.
After a few days, she called back. Edna Haynes is in a senior living center in Johnson City. She is no longer able to write her prayers or to understand what she wrote long ago, but her influence will live in the books. Her sitter is warm and loving and in our conversation, we discovered another serendipity. Janie Buchanan’s son lives in Nacogdoches, TX, my hometown. Her warmth is a good recommendation for A Helping Hand.
Yesterday as I walked into that nursinghome, a friendly man smiled and held the door open for me. I almost said something to him about what a beautiful day it was. A few minutes later, I walked into the room of Edna Haynes and was surprised to see the same man, who turned out to be her son-in-law. What a delightful serendipity. I felt like I already knew Eddie and Kittie Stanley because their names had appeared so frequently in the books I treasure. They'd known she was a woman of prayer and that she read a lot, but they didn't know about the faithfulness in recording prayers and good thoughts in these books.
When I find Daily Guideposts with blanks at the end of the months, I buy them to give to people. I show them one of Edna Haynes’ books and tell them about this special person.