Completely Compatible

They sat alone. The table cleared. Lights dimmed. Ambiance waning.

It had become quiet, and they considered the evening. Conversation had been reminiscent of earlier years when life was less demanding, hurried. They remembered when an enjoyable dinner once was a normal and habitual activity.

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How was it possible that they were still so completely compatible? And it was a good thing, for they had been together so long that no one expected to see one without the other. And rightly so.

For more decades than they could remember, they have traveled the world together. Their co-existence had become a natural enjoyment for others, too. The invitations they had received had made them privy to private conversations, summer picnics, family reunions, vacations, ballgames, and the list goes on. They were favored guests at many weddings, too. They had appeared in so many restaurants, eateries, delicatessens -you name it- they giggled that they should really be dubbed legitimate food critics. They had been blessed to sit side by side at many a beautiful table.  Their history of dashing here and there was largely to blame for life in the fast lane. Regardless of sometimes feeling so scattered here and there, they had to admit that they have been fortunate to enjoy visiting so many places — together. The years had, indirectly, caused them to now be inseparable.

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It has been said that many couples begin to look alike as they age together. Although they are considered the perfect pair, they knew they looked nothing alike. Actually, they looked like opposites of each other. While they shared some similarities, they sometimes contradicted each other. Both having strong personalities, it was a known fact that each had the potential to become overbearing.

She was as white as the driven snow and seemed to have an inherent quality of enhancing only the best in others. If truth be told, most people preferred her company and only accepted him as part of a package deal. Mostly, she was that perfect sprinkle of everything good that was needed. He has become accustomed to the favoritism she receives and often tries to disguise himself more to her likeness.

He, however, when given the opportunity, was capable of bringing Out a certain energy in those he encountered. His more colorful appearance was usually easily noticed, so much so, that some automatically pushed him aside. Some found he could be a little too much, despite his best intentions. He was okay with being second best. He often rested while she seemed to be savored. Then, of course, she always needed a refilling of sorts. And,  he would always be there waiting. Right where she left him.

As the evening faded, they watched as the waiter totaled the cash register. Again, they became reminiscent of the life they were meant to live. High profile. Their presence always seeming necessary. Requested. Others only seemed to enjoy themselves when they were there. It was a satisfying feeling. They spoke with sincerity about fulfilling their own purpose, together and separately.

But then, they are a most compatible pair. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Salt. And. Pepper.

an old salty dog

He threw his head back on the chair. With his left hand he  made a gentle swipe across his forehead and into his hairline. His right hand remained still-like the rest of his relaxed body. His eyes had closed mid collapse and didn’t open again for quite some time.

After several minutes he raised his right leg and gingerly crossed it over the left. This new position was maintained for quite a spell.

I studied him. This time of rest was clearly needed. His hair was a bit too long, and I suspected it was an indication of the anticipated time he knew he would have in his chair. There wasn’t a five o’clock shadow but instead , a good two days stubble. They were both the color of the sand his chair had naturally nestled into.

I watched him casually from my window seat. He would occasionally turn his head a little more to one side and savor the warmth of the sun that was directly touching it. He courageously regarded it more than it would him.

He maintained compusure for quite some time.  He seemed to be sleeping, and then he would slightly shift in his chair. I didn’t know his story, but I do know that his beach day was completely intentional.  Right down the the knee length floral trunks.

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And he kept walking

“No thanks, man. I’m all right. I ‘preciate it though.”

 

We had picked up our food and drove to a place downtown. We pulled into a shaded parking lot where the setting sun wouldn’t be blinding us. It was after business hours, so there was no one else in the parking lot except another car that was simply cutting through on a short-cut. We rolled down the windows and began enjoying our meal.

The stillness of the parking lot made his first appearance obvious. A relatively young man. Dark shades. Baseball cap. Baggy clothes. Backpack. He bent over the trash dumpster and eventually pulled out a can. He finished the contents.

As we spoke to each other about what we just saw , my usually favorite meal suddenly lost its flavor.  We exchanged remarks of curiosity and denial of what we knew we just saw. We looked up again and he was gone. Our conversation then consisted of “where did he go” and “he must be here somewhere”. A few minutes later , he reappeared, as he crawled OUT of the dumpster. He started in our direction. There were two more dumpsters closer to where we were parked. He was headed for them when I think he realized we were sitting in the car. He veered away from the direction of the dumpsters and more toward us. Our silent wavelength suspected he was coming to ask us for something.

He didn’t.  He walked past us without looking at us. Naturally suspicious, I watched him in my rear view mirrors. He continued steadily to the street behind us. We ‘ finished’ our meal. I put what was left of mne on top of the dumpster. I felt funny about it, but I couldn’t bring myself to just toss it out of sight either.

As I cranked the car to leave, my husband asked, “Which way did he go?” It didn’t take long to spot him down the street. He was making good time. We drove in a different direction and purchased a nice, large meal. We  had to wait for it to cook. By the time we were back in the general area where we suspected he might be, we couldn’t find him. We circled here and there. Behind restaurants where we knew there were dumpsters. The alley behind the grocery store. A convenience store and a few other restaurants. We turned back thinking he, too, must have doubled back. It took us about ten minutes before my husband spotted him.

We turned into the strip mall and I drove just past him so my husband could get out of the car and into his path. He made a turn closer to the sidewalk . He appeared to be nonchalantly avoiding us. My husband called out to him saying, “Hey man. Can I buy your supper? I have it right here, and it’s hot.”

The young man continued walking away, but he looked back at us over his shoulder and said, “No tthanks, man. I’m all right. I ‘preciate it though.” And  he kept walking.

We were dumbfounded. We shared another mutual but nonverbal yank on our heart strings. We agreed that he must still have a sense of pride, for we knew he was hungry. We saw him scouring remnants from the dumpster earlier.

A unique sense of sadness filled the vehicle. My husband finally told me to turn the car around. I did so in what seemed like slow motion. He soon instructed me  to stop. He put the large drink and meal in plain sight. We could only hope that the young man would look back.  That’s all we knew to do. We felt so helpless. An abandoned meal for an abandoned lifestyle.

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My heavy heart reminded me that we can pray for him.  That’s better than a hot meal and a warm shower.

I wondered  ‘ what’s his story’. After all, WE ALL have one.

I’m not so naive to understand that some people chose to rely on and take advantage of the goodness of others. This didn’t seem to be his situation. He carried himself too well, and was obviously too embarrassed to accept our gift.

It’s been several days since this occurred, but he is still a visitor in our daily discussions. We have both admitted to glancing around town for him since then. Neither of us have seen him again and agreed that he is probably in another town by now.

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I hope you will feel compelled to pray with me -FOR HIM -and others like him. They are as precious to our Heavenly Father as the late great Billy Graham.

Unconditional L O V E.   For him.   For you.   For me.

Let’s do this

TODAY

follows yesterday, precedes tomorrow

Today is another opportunity.

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LIFE

follows birth,  precedes death

—–right side up OR upside down

choose a smile OR wear a frown.

Each day is ours to do as we choose-

we might win, we could lose.

LIFE is about the good, bad, and ugly

some days are sweeter while others are toughies.

Lets just forever be thankful

for all of HIS mercy.

*******     *********   ******

I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME.

Even Manic Mondays . Tiring Tuesdays. Weary Wednesdays. Thunderous Thursdays. Funny Fridays. Sensational Saturdays. And, most certainly, Serene Sundays.

Fly high

May you tackle your week with confidence.

May you fly high above the big wheels and noise beneath you.

Matthew 6:26

Consider the foul of the air. They do not sow ,nor reap , nor gather into barns, yet our Father  provides for them. How much greater does HE care for us?

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I took this picture over a year ago. I remember the bird sitting there for sooo long. I finally decided to go inside and get the camera. I just knew he would be gone by the time I came back out, but he wasn’t. The message seemed clear to me. I was reminded of BIG things in life I’ve had to experience, yet I was not crushed by them. HE is always faithful to keep the ‘ Big Deals of life ‘ under control. (Big WHEELS, too )

From my church pew, part 2

I’ll admit I’m easily distracted. I can also multi task, somewhat. As long as the distraction is small, I can still maintain the bigger focus. That said, I’ll share some snippets of what we can call attention grabbers. Some are fleeting moments, others lead my mind afar. Here are a few things that garner my attention- from my church pew.

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The older couple is always so polite to each other. While he looks about for a hymnal, she gently hands one over with a gingerly smile that quietly says,  “I still love you so. ” The  look exchanged between them reminds me of the words in a song, ” The smile on your face makes me know that you need me, the truth in your eyes saying you’ll never leave me, the touch of your hand says you’ll catch me if ever I fall-you say it best, when you say nothing at all.”  Unspoken commitment.

An elderly woman who now depends on a walker NEVER misses church. She is ninety -six.  As she makes an uncommon move to leave the sanctuary during service, the number of heads who turn and watch her so carefully is overwhelming. Heartwarming. Each one a secret bodyguard. More than one person scrambles to open the doors for her while others farther away are watching to make sure someone is indeed helping her. Over the years, I’ve also noticed different gentlemen of various ages walk her to her car after EVERY service.

The little lady who sometimes sits near me sings without fear of being heard. I’m unsure of her mature age, for she looks like a child. She behaves in an innocently childish manner. She is pure, as is her form of genuine worship. She represents an unexpected caliber of admiration. Her caregiver sits quietly and allows her to worship freely. I’m blessed by her sincerity.

The pastor is preaching fervently while suffering with throats issues.. His incessant cough provides a struggle, but he is determined to complete his duty. He apologizes for the hacking but delivers the message with unwavering conviction.

An elderly brother whose health is failing requests prayer for another elder who sits across the church. Both men facing surgeries and uncertainty of the outcomes. Both dealing with physical weaknesses of which they are unaccustomed, yet they do so with an outward appearance of patience and grace. The inner conflict could undo even the biggest men, but these two possess a quiet strength that can only be found in God. Regardless of their consistently changing circumstance, they are holding steady to His Unchaging Hand.

Another woman is wheeled in for service. Since her stroke she is challenged by mobility issues. I consider the inconvenience she must endure daily.  As soon as the alter service has begun, and basically it seems movement would be considered more permissible and appropriate, she is practically covered over by people of all ages and genders. The emotional embraces bear witness to her role in our church. She has mentored and ministered in her own quiet and gentle nature for many years. I begin to feel my heart slipping out of the corner of my eyes. The homage being paid to her so freely is overwhelming. What a testament of the impact she’s made on so many.

A stately gentlemen alway enters the rear doors with his longtime wife on his arm. They, too, have seen better years. They are both tall and have always been a handsome couple. They have always had a dignified presence. While her own memories are becoming more distant and distorted, I know her family is holding dear the ones they have of her. He handles her so carefully. Escorts her slowly as to ensure her every fragile step is secure. She has no cause to ever feel threatened in her frailty.  He continues to treat her as the lady so many of us have known her to be. Well dressed. Poised. Confident. Beautiful.  I’ve watched them leave the sanctuary and ease across the parking lot. He never rushes her. He opens her car door and sweetly assists her into a soft landing. It’s romantic, and I wonder if the young men of today will be so kind to their wives after time has taken its toll.

A sprightly four year old girl always accompanies her obviously favorite aunt to the choir. She is well behaved and conscientious of her surroundings. She mimics the behavior of her aunt. An aunt who has come to church alone, faithfully, for years and eventually lead her own household to the Lord. The same aunt who is now faithfully (and I’m sure prayerfully) focused on her extended family. A woman of God’s own choosing. She reminds me of the admirable qualities of Mary. The kind of woman God chooses to do important work of eternal value.

So maybe, just maybe, being distracted by others in church isn’t always a bad thing. For me, it can be an immense blessing.

 

My brother GARRY

Mama told me that I was only two years old when he and Beth married. I can’t remember it even though I have seen their wedding photos over the years and felt like I remembered it. She said I was so young I sat on my Aunt Von’s lap. I’ve already told you enough to make you wonder , and yes, there is a seventeen year age difference between us. He came early in my mother’s life, and I came along late!

My earliest remembrance of him is actually something different. He was in the service and we would write letters to him. I still see the scene at the kitchen table. Mama would sit down to write, and so I wanted to write a letter, too. I would make big loopy-loops on every line of the paper. I wanted to fill the page- probably because that is what I saw Mama do. She would fold them and put them in an envelope. I’ve often wondered if she actually sent them.

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L to R-  me, Garry , and our sister Kay

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(L to R-  our cousin, Lamar, me and Garry, Beth, Mama, Kay.  If you look in the mirror above us, you can see my daddy. )

My preteen years consisted of following in his and my daddy’s footsteps. On the weekends, if they went anywhere on the farm, I would be with them. I’m sure it was probably somewhat of an inconvenience having a little girl tagging around all the time, but if it was, they never let me know it.

Garry and Beth would come out every Sunday. I would go to the front room of the house and watch for them to come around the corner into view. I don’t think they ever knew this-unless Mama told them. If I sat there watching very long, I would visualize where I thought they might be. It was a mental game of cars. I would inch them along the first corner, then down by the Peterson pond, past Ward Road, down the hill, around the corner….and into my view. I did this as long as it took until they really did appear before my eyes.

These Sundays were family time. Fun for me, work for Mama and Beth. They spent most of it cooking and then cleaning it up. While they did that, we were fixing this or that at the barn, riding and looking for deer tracks, or setting up cans for me to shoot off the fence. He taught me marksmanship at an early age. I eventually graduated to birds and squirrels. He would put the gun against me and talk me through my line of vision in the scope. Getting completely ready with finger on the trigger before turning off the safety. BAM.  I LIVED for Sundays. The week long confines of country life would come to newfound life on Sundays. We enjoyed it to the fullest until Mama would tap on the window or stick her head out the screen door to tell us to stop shooting because people were gathering for church. (less than a quarter mile down the road)

Once in the backyard, he and Daddy were working on the well. I was playing on the swingset when a wasp stung me just above my eyelid. I let out a squeal and he came running. Tobacco juice went straight from his mouth to my stung spot. It didn’t sting long.

Another Sunday, he talked me into trying his tobacco. It made him laugh. It made my Mama mad. And it made me not want anything in my mouth for days.

I was only seven when he and Beth had Drew. I had a new playmate.

One Christmas, Mama suddenly needed something from the store. SO, he and Daddy loaded up the two of us- which was a common and popular thing to do- and off to the store we went. We would always get a snack of some kind and sometimes get to ride in the back of the truck. We loved it! Thing is, the store was closed! Imagine that! Well, when we returned, can you guess who had come and gone while we were on our wild goose chase? Yes, we had MISSED Santa. Although we were not gone long, he couldn’t stay and wait for us. He had left our gifts and we heard all about his brief visit. It was a few years later that I learned my brother, Garry, was also an accomplished accomplice.

 

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( Garry and Mama , Christmas mid 1980s)

He had skills. Avid hunter. Marksman. Military veteran. I would learn more about him.

My junior high years were awkward. Like many others, I began to realize my own insecurities. On Sundays, I was free of them. The same kitchen table where we would write letters and eat big Sunday night meals became a work space for the two of us. I was completely overwhelmed with a school project that required mapping the entire town. Every street. Every Church. Every business. Some of you might remember the same project and class. Although I was a young teenager, I went to town on the bus every day. We didn’t take guided tours around town. Occasionally, on a few and far between Saturday, and out of necessity, we might go into town for something. Again, not on a tour bus. Anyway, I saw the project as another unwanted obstacle that would only result in proving I wasn’t up to snuff. Pun intended. It was MY BROTHER GARRY who stepped in and helped me with the daunting task. Over many hours, we drew and measured, tagged and labeled. I carried my completed assignment into that teacher like a boss. We made an A on it, too. I still have a mental picture of that huge posterboard, on that table, tight little lines, key codes, etc.

Once a big ordeal, put in it’s place, by my big brother.

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( I think this was my 14th or 15th birthday. I can’t make out the candles on the cake, but it was before I met Jimmy-so I am guesstimating. Me, Garry, the late Ms. Eva Moore, Mama holding my nephew Brent, and Beth. Brent’s size also helps with the guesstimation. )

As I began dating, our relationship changed. He would sometimes embarrass me to death! He would pick and make jokes, as many big brothers must do. When my then boyfriend (now husband) wrecked his truck and had to use his daddy’s older truck, It was my brother, Garry, who would walk us out to it on Sundays, stand at the front end and bend down making large circular motions as if trying to turn a crank handle. He even gave my then boyfriend and now husband a nickname.  He would grin ear to ear when using it to refer to my sweetheart. I would just fume in classic teenager style. That gave him motivation while it gave me what is now sweet memories.

At this point in our lives, I like to think that maybe he was a little jealous of the new guy that had taken me away on Sundays.

He soon began to fall for my boyfriend, too. I was glad until he invited him away for a weekend hunting trip with some of his older friends. First of all, I didn’t like him taking my beau away from me for the weekend, but more than that, I didn’t know what on earth my sweetie would be submitted to while gone! And they went to Sapelo Island. There would be no means of escape! Over the years, I’ve heard the stories of that weekend. The conversations that were had. I can’t repeat them. My husband still mentions it from time to time. Fondly, actually. It was a time to be remembered. From the preparatory trip to the grocery store -to the ride home- and EVERYTHING in between. There are details to be remembered. To be honest, I probably have never heard them all. I can’t help but think it was a cross between an initiation of sorts and an attempt at separation. A “Let’s see what you’re made of” trip. I didn’t get to go, but I was the clear winner, for I got to keep them both. My brother Garry was even in our wedding. For our first Christmas after being married , Garry bought us matching shirts. They have a big deer head on them, and it says this: We interrupt this marriage to bring you the hunting season.

Typical Garry.

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Before I was married, I lived with my sister not far from Garry (those details are in a previous post about My sister Kay). She worked at night and I was there alone with her small children. It was late when I thought I heard someone outside the mobile home. I had become anxious. It was my brother, Garry, that I called. He came right over, gun in hand, looked around, reassured me…and left the gun with reminders of how to use it if necessary. He put it on top of the refrigerator and told me to touch it only if I had to. And, I didn’t. Another problem solved.

A couple of weeks before my wedding, Mama and Daddy had to go somewhere overnight. I didn’t want to go, but I didn’t want to stay out in the country alone either. You guessed it, this grownup (or so I thought) girl of eighteen spent the night at her brother’s house.

A few years later when I was expecting Brandon, we would sit in that same old front yard. He would tease me about my condition. Still making me blush even though I was now a married woman. One Sunday afternoon, we were in the yard. He was telling jokes that at one awkward part of my life I had found insufferable, now were the funniest things ever. I laughed so hard that day. He was also making me homemade ice cream. It was an especially good day. I felt good. It was my due date. We were all speculating about my baby to be. Garry had nicknamed him as well, and referred to him as such appointed name throughout my pregnancy.   We didn’t know if I was having a boy or girl, but Garry said it didn’t matter. The baby’s name as far as he was concerned was going to be ‘Bucky.’    Sigh.

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A few years later, when our mother passed, who stepped up to take care of most things? The Go To Guy, Garry. He helped my Daddy with so many details and guided us all through our unexpected grief.  Doing as much as he could, so we wouldn’t have to.

When my daddy passed, ( who In reality was Garry’s step-daddy )who do you think again took the wheel? In fact, he and my daddy loved each other sooooo very much. It is a completely different story that can be told (and I might one day). My daddy made my brother, Garry, executor of his will. And I know why.  Garry is a perfectionist. In. Every. Thing. He. Does. My daddy had no need to worry with Garry in charge. In fact, at Daddy’s funeral I was presented the flag because I am the youngest child. I remember making the deliberate decision to give it to Garry. It seemed the most natural thing to do. Both of them veterans, and they loved each other so uniquely. Completely. Not halfway. Not with step titles either.

He is known for many fine things. One of which is his craftmanship. He has built some of the finest homes in Coffee County. I could throw out some really big names, but I won’t. If you ride through the best neighborhoods in town, I could point along the way and tell you that my brother, Garry, built this one, and that one, and so on. I recently photographed a private reception in the home of one of our town’s most influential citizens. Garry built it. While I was honored to be there myself, I kept thinking,      ” Wow. He built this.” I really wanted to tell the local, state, and national dignitaries there that my brother Garry built this fine home.

When we were ready to build, we had to go on his wait-list. He has always been in high demand. Years out. People would willingly wait because they knew the quality of his workmanship. I’m so glad that we, too, waited. Our house was the last he built from start to finish. He now chooses smaller jobs and works at his leisure. He will never be one to RETIRE completely.

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A couple of years ago, he came and closed in my screen porch. The one he kept telling me while building that I would tire of -and so he built it accordingly, to be closed in later-when I came to my senses….   I would watch him.  Still so careful in his measuring, cutting, etc. No guesswork. Just precise and deliberately thought-out craftsmanship. HE is the epitome of meticulous.  I enjoyed having him here every day. The visits. The talks. The confidences shared. My granddaughter took a liking to him, too. She had to have a hammer like Uncle Garry. She still likes to use her little toolbox like she thinks he does. I took his picture a few times without him knowing.

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When I was much younger, someone asked me how was Garry my brother if he was a Moore and I was a Summerlin. I raced home, a little bit mad, a little bit confused, and a little bit hurt. Mama and Daddy then explained to me that the law would say we were HALF brother and sister. I didn’t like that. Mama quickly told me what to say to people when they asked (and they have many times over the years). “You tell them we don’t call it HALF because we don’t love on HALVES. We love each other ALL THE WAY.” To this day, I despise it when someone says nonchalantly, “Oh, he’s your half brother.” And while I haven’t had to explain in a few years now, I have always given the response of our Mother. ANYONE who knows my brother, Garry, knows he doesn’t do anything halfway.

On the one hand, he is a simple man. He prefers the outdoors and doesn’t need fancy things to be happy. I think my love of nature and now wildlife photography was initiated by him so many years ago. I like it when he tells me where I might see certain critters to photograph. He feeds he birds, turtles, etc on the farm and we have sat together watching for wild ducks to come in…just hoping I can get a good picture. ( one year for Christmas he got me a trophy of a turkey–another private joke.)

On the other hand, he is extremely complex. There is a lot about him that people don’t know. Myself included. He has told me some of his experiences in the military, but I know there are some he might not share. I’ve also wondered about the internal struggle he must have had when our mother and his father both passed within a few months of each other. I’ve never asked him details of their separation so long ago and how it affected him.

Also, he’s the kind of person who does things for others who don’t deserve it. He is generous to a fault.

With all sincerity, I cannot imagine anyone not liking him.

For one of my adult birthdays, he went ALONE in the old Belk store ( where the Atrium is now located) and bought me a nice blouse. On another, he and my sister (unbeknownst to each other) bought me the same identical sweet, sappy birthday card. And , the crystal clear cake plate he bought on yet another still sits on my kitchen counter this very day.

I could go on and on and on and on….

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Beth and Garry at Drew’s wedding , June 2018

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Another picture that he never knew I took . He loves this tractor, and he loves to garden. I love him. He so graciously shares the fruits of his labor with others.

I don’t know anyone else like him.

On February 15, my brother Garry will be seventy-one years old. If you see him, tell him HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

 

Oh YES he will

My husband came home telling me about an incident he experienced in an out of town fast food restaurant recently. Before I get started, I will tell you that I was holding my breath through his telling of it. You see, my husband has become more liberated in expressing his opinion lately. Well, actually in the last few years. He has always been one who remains quiet when so much could be said justifiably. And, he still does so most of the time. But, there is always that time when you’re not expecting it that he will just open up and let a few well chosen words flow freely. When he chooses to do so, many times it is lost on the person so well deserving because he can insult you without you knowing it.

Anyway, he had stopped in to pick up a bite of convenience. While waiting on his order to be filled, he noticed a young boy trying to get his own soda. He was struggling, could barely reach the machine, and quickly spilled it. The so-called adult with him began chastising loudly  and causing embarrassment. In her relentless ridicule, she hatefully stated, “You ain’t gettin’ another one.”

Thankfully, before my husband could speak up, someone else in the small dining area did so. It was an employee who was obviously on her lunch break and had been witnessing the scene. She calmly and deliberately said, “Yes, he will.” My husband said he just stood watching the expression of the good Samaritan. Her gaze was steadfast, and he easily realized the child would indeed get another drink. She meant business.

As usual, the irresponsible adult tried to continue shaming the child. She repeated that he would not get another drink. At this point, thankfully, my husband is standing back waiting to see what will unfold.  Again, the seated employee said with a greater intention this time, “Oh yes he will.” The adult said, “No, he shouldn’t have spilled it and made such a mess.” The employee soon hushed her by sternly stating, “Even grownups spill things sometimes. Yes, he will get another drink.”

I can just imagine my husband at this point. He is propped up, watching and waiting, should the good ole girl need back-up. She does not. Their voices have become loud enough now that the manager has come out front to ‘settle’ things. He gets another cup, fills it for the child and cleans the mess.

And I’m thankful. Happy for the child and happy that others are willing to step up when needed. I’m glad my husband was able to sit this one out, for when children are involved, he is more sensitive.

I think it is AGE that brings the confidence we sometimes need to intervene, step up, or settle things. As we’ve gotten older, we find the opinions of others don’t really matter in such situations. It’s more about what is right.

It is a benefit of AGEING. Let us use our power for good.

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Who is watching ?

This morning a commercial reminded me of a seemingly forgotten incident that occurred many years ago.

My son was about seven years old when we took him to Disney World. I’m not sure , but I think it was near Robinson Crusoe’s area of the park. Anyway, as we meandered through the park, we encountered a swinging bridge. Now mind you, it wasn’t very long. It wasn’t even high. It was, however, over a mote-which for safety purposes-couldn’t have been very deep.

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My husband and son scurried across without thought. I had stopped still in my tracks. While I love the water, I have a great respect for it because I cannot swim . The wobbly bridge everyone else found so fun did not interest me. While my family stood waiting for me on the other side, I had my feet firmly planted. Other people passed me by. Crossing with giggles . Family fun at its finest. My family was telling me to “come on over.” Others also began cheering me on. Even my young son became tickled at my hesitation. I eventually faced my fear and wiggled across the bridge. As I reached the other side, a loud cheering section surprised me. ALL the people on a passing boat had been watching me as if I was a large part of the park’s attractions. A very audible “Congratulations” echoed to me from the boat’s tour guide. After catching my breath, I had to laugh at myself. My unintentional yet dramatic episode became a fond memory of our family trip.

As I was noticing the commercial that recalled this long ago memory, it became clear to me.

It’s short and sweet.

We don’t always know when people are watching us. We might be surprised to find that people are secretly cheering us on.

I sometimes feel inclined to pray for someone I hardly know. And so I do. I don’t have to know their story or details because HE knows them intimately. I never tell this person (maybe I should) that they’ve been on my heart and in my prayers. But they have been.

Chin up. Muster your courage. Cross over to the necessary side. The path may seem shaky, but you will make it. You may or may not hear audible cheers. Just believe that someone is, in fact, watching you to see if you make it. While you may or may not be aware of it, your personal courage may bring joy and encouragement to others.