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A little more than a decade ago, God brought Rick across the path of someone who needed to talk. And by “chance,” he was able to share both his bandana and a quick story of inspiration with someone in need.
“The Purple Bandana” story.
It was sometime in 2004 that I was delivering urine drug screen specimens to the lab. I went in the wrong door and walked down the wrong hallway. At some point I passed by an open office; and in that office was a lady who was crying profusely. I noticed, but didn’t stop. Instead, I went to where I was supposed to be going.On my way out, I made the same mistake in reverse. I walked passed that same office. The lady was still crying. I couldn’t stand it any longer. So, I stuck my head nto the office and asked, “Are you alright?” In the midst of her tears she said, “I’m just fine.” I said, “You don’t look just fine to me.” And so, for the next twenty or thirty minutes I listened to her story of pain and disappointment. For the life of me, I was speechless. Hard to believe, but I was totally stunned by her pain. I couldn’t think of a single helpful or inspired word. I remember praying, “God, please! I’m not helping here.” Then, she ran out of tissues.
I have always carried a bandana. I reached for it and gave it to her. This one was purple. She offered to return it. I said not to. And then, the words came to me, or better yet, they were given to me. This is the first time in my life I have felt like and believed that God was giving me the words. And so I said, “No, please keep it and let it remind you of three things. First, purple is the color of royalty. And, in my way of thinking, you are the child of a King. That makes you a very special person. Second, purple is the color of bruises. Right now you are hurting. And third, purple is the color of healing. You are going to heal. You are going to recover.” I didn’t know it at the time, but this lady was four years clean from cocaine. Narcotic’s Anonymous’ official color is purple. So, the tears began to flow again. She hadn’t relapsed. She was suffering from the trials of living life. I have adopted purple as my official color of healing and recovery from everything. The lady seemed to feel better. I left and drove back to my office.
About two months later, I was delivering specimens again. And again I went in the wrong door, and walked down the wrong hallway. As I was passing her office, she called for me to come in so we could talk. She thanked me for the bandana and informed me that I couldn’t have it back, because she had it hung up near the front door of her apartment. And, she said this: “It is the last thing I see when I am leaving for work in the mornings and the first thing I see when I come home. It reminds me every day that I am a special person, that I am going to get hurt, and that I am going to heal.” Wow! Now, I am the one crying.
Something was going on that I wasn’t in charge of. Those words weren’t my idea. I came to believe that the Higher Power wanted me to do something, and I knew what to do. So, I gave the lady a hug and I left. When I got back out to my truck I called my wife and said, “Don’t try to understand this. I’ll try to explain later, but order me some purple bandanas.” She did, about six dozen. So, for the past
five years I have been telling the purple bandana story and giving away bandanas to folks I meet, wherever they may be, who look like they could use a little hope. I have wonderful stories of those who have been blessed by such a simple expression of faith, hope, and expectation. None of been blessed more than me.
P.S. The lady’s name is Lora. We talk about once a month. She’s doing great!
Source: The whole Purple Bandana Story
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