I found myself reeling from so much sorrow in our community on top of our frightening accident last week. By yesterday morning I was feeling almost like I had gone back in time, to an emotional place long since left behind. It had taken a very long time to learn to live differently; not in fear, sorrow, and regret. Day by day, thought by thought, and breath by breath I healed over the course of time, but the return trip to that emotional place was sudden and I found myself battling old hurts along with the new while trying to get my bearings.
I often laugh when I’m trying to find words to express my experiences and find my mind going back to those words I grew up on, many of them “old sayings” that take a little explanation to adequately convey the meaning to someone who wasn’t raised on them. But I just have to use one right now because after praying my heart out and taking full account of myself yesterday morning I thought “now Andrea you are just going to have to get a hold of yourself!” Those are my Nanny’s words, then Mama’s words, and now…my words. It means “stop yourself!” A more modern way to say it is “get a grip!”
I recognized that I was allowing old sorrows to join with more recent sorrows just like the small trickling creek water joins the rushing river where together they swell and expand into one really muddy and swift moving current. It’s easy for emotions to do like that. Something I refer to as accumulated grief is very real in the lives of many people and can catch you off guard and spin you around leaving you overwhelmed, lonesome, confused and sad.
Leaving home yesterday, I rushed to get my Bible to take with me. I wanted to look up that sweet scripture that tells us The Lord did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (Timothy 1:7). I knew the words but there is something so comforting to me when I get to lay my eyes back on the words where I first found them. They are always there; written down for all time, never to be taken away; precious, a precious gift indeed.
So as I went about my day I kept going back to those words in my mind. It didn’t mean that there was no struggle inside me, no discomfort, no sorrow, concern, or sadness, but there was a truth I carried alongside my feelings that offered a steadfast anchor. The Lord HImself has given me a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. That sounds so good to my ears and comforts me like no other.
Erick was gone fishing for the day so Noah and I went to Pic-o-Deli for dinner. While in line there, the sweetest little lady leaned up to get my attention and had kind words to say about my handsome little dinner partner. She was such a lady. Do you know what I mean by that?
I find that there are some ladies who have a presence about them that just makes the world seem like a kinder and sweeter place, and she was one of them. I never asked her name but I was noticing that special something about her that is so soothing to me. She had the sweetest face. Her hair was gray and her stature was small. There was nothing in her dress that waved to anyone to look her way but in the event that your eyes found her’s, I believe you couldn’t help but notice the rare and unfading beauty there.
I thought a good bit about it while Noah and I shared our meal, how some people are making such a profound difference in this world and getting no worldly recognition for it at all. I would guess, though, that they wouldn’t want recognition if it were offered because they have found out what really matters in life and it has nothing to do with flattering words or being in the spotlight. It is about being a source of love and strength and encouragement to others.
Those genuine souls who honor the command to love truly are the salt and light in this old world, and they encourage others everywhere they go; it is how they live their lives. When that sweet lady spoke to us she wasn’t making small talk, she really was interested in my little boy, in me, and in the little ones she was blessed to raise. She shared with me that she has a grandson who is now 22 and commented on how quickly the time has flown. I loved her…just loved her! She had time for me and my little boy as she remembered the sweet days of her younger years.
I want to be like that sweet lady who encouraged me with her very presence. I’ve had such a good day today and I’ve thought so much about how important it is to be intentional about what we think and say and do. I realize, too, another semester has almost passed for me at Shorter. These students will soon be finished with my class and on to others. I think about their lives and want only the best for each one of them. They are so young, so much they will face. I pray they are better prepared for the journey because of some of the things they’ve learned in these few short months I’ve been blessed to spend with them and that I have demonstrated the genuine care I hold for them in my heart.