Sunday, March 29, 2015

Used of God

God has a way of using the most innocuous people, if we let Him.  When I began teaching English in August of 1988, there was a (I think) fifteen year-old sitting front and center, grinning from ear to ear.   When I look back at that first year, I don't remember much except the students, and he was a card, as the idiom goes.  He was constantly cracking jokes and was the life of the class.  I loved that group that encompassed Nichole, Chris, Shedrick, Scott....  They were smart, smart kids, and as a first-year teacher, they fueled my passion for teaching high school English at a poor, rural school in Colleton County, Ruffin High School.  I would stay at that first stop on the teaching circuit for eight years.  Through the subsequent years I would make my way to schools in Walterboro and Beaufort.

Flash forward to 2011 (again, I think) and a funeral held in the gym of that first school.  Whom did I spy across the floor but that student.  What memories flooded back as I hurried down to hug and speak to him.  He was the same, yet he was a grown man with a family of his own.  His face had not changed a bit.  We subsequently became friends on facebook, and what a blessing he has become to me!  God has sent him as an encourager in dark times.  Just when I am feeling spiritually low, I get a phone call or text message from Him.  He is allowing God to use him to minister to his little ol'  high school English teacher of so very many years ago.  It is awesome how God uses people from our past to minister to us.  He makes and flourishes those connections. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Love Story Spanning the Decades, Part I

June 15, 1949 was the date of my parents' marriage; Mother was three weeks shy of 18, and Dad was 21.  Their love started in an era where times were simpler and vows seemed to mean more than they do today.  Let me start at the beginning.

My parents met when my mother was probably about six years old.  They lived in Bamberg County, South Carolina in a "hole-in-the-road" known as Little Swamp Community, not too far from Lodge and Smoaks.  My father's daddy worked for the railroad and was often away from home.  Dad was one of four boys that his mother basically reared by herself for much of his childhood.  His daddy was killed in a car accident in 1946.

Mother lived "across the branch," as they  called the woods, with her parents and four siblings.  Her daddy was a poor farmer who grew cotton, among other things.  She and my father attended the same one room school house and church.  In those days, country folk in that area had socials that centered around cane grinding and peanut boiling.  It was at one of those peanut boilings when she was probably about 15 that she announced to some of her cousins that she was going to "marry that boy one day."  And that is what she did.

Fast forward to June of 1949.  My grandfather drove Mother to Bamberg to buy her a new dress in which to get married.  One day shortly after, she came in from the field, kicked off those shoes, and said, "I'm done with you, old shoes!"  On the 15th, her eldest brother drove them to the parsonage in Smoaks and waited in the truck while they went in and got married.  The next day they took a bus to Columbia and the following day continued on to Clemson where they were to live while Dad attended the University and tried to support them.

This thing called "faith"

So, I have this little nondescript blog that no one reads.  I have it to basically process my thoughts...when I feel "moved" to do so.  At times it functions to whet my spirit when it is dry.

This morning I am numb, depressed even, over what the next few weeks, months, or years will bring.  I am not in a comfortable spot.  I don't like change, yet change is a primary component of life.  Only God knows how much time my mother has left in her earthly body, one that I have classified as "bionic" because of shoulder and hip replacements.  I worry about my father--my rock, my hero--and I worry about how I will handle it when they are both gone.  See, they have put me in charge of their estate.  I have only halfway listened when Dad went over directions/procedures with me....contacting the Air Force base in Charleston, social security, on and on and on.  The smart man wrote everything down, too, because he knows .....he just knows......

Yesterday when the enormity of it all was pressing down on my shoulders, a friend reminded me to take it  This blog is old; birthed from my cancer experience, if I remember correctly.  On sun shiny days I have no problem remembering this.  Well, I am entering the not-so-sun-shiny days of my life.  This is what brings us back to our faith. "I can do *all* things through Christ, who strengthens me."

It does no good to wallow in worrying about tomorrow;"Today brings enough trouble of its own."
Yet, we are, after all, only "human."  This is something I have to make a concerted effort to do.  One day, one step, one breath at a time....