Friday, April 29, 2016

A Reunion To Remember

My husband Murray has been talking about going to his 40th high school reunion for over a year now. It never really sounded like that much fun to me.

He doesn’t have friends he remembers from his class. He only went to Fox High School for a year and a half, and he hasn’t kept in touch with anyone from there. But he thought it would be fun to go, so last Saturday, to St. Louis we went.

It was hard to remember when was the last trip we’d gone on with just the two of us, so that was fun. We talked about other things we’d done together. Eating pecan waffles at Waffle House when we lived in Arkansas. Our trip to New York City where we went to two off, off-Broadway shows, and we spent most of two days climbing the stairs in and out of the subway.

The reunion was fun. Murray met many people whose names he said he remembered, and a couple people he actually recognized.

“He used to sit behind me in class.”

“I heard he’d become a real estate agent.”

We enjoyed visiting with people, talking about jobs, where people had lived, kids, and grandkids. Whenever people told us about their grandkids Murray would say, “We’re far too young to have grandchildren yet.”

They had a fun way to get people to start mingling. Instead of giving the graduates a nametag, each one was given the nametag of another student, with their high school picture on it. Everyone moved around, talking to people, trying to find their person, asking if anyone knew them or had seen them.

Before Murray found his person and the lady who had his tag found him, we visited with a good number of people.

Probably some of the greatest memories of the trip for me came from the book we listened to in the car for the eleven hundred miles we drove.

My favorite book ever is TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD. Murray knows the story well. He’s watched the play and movie quite a few times. But when I learned recently that he’d never read the book, I begged him to listen to it with me on this trip.

I was reminded once again why this is my favorite book. It’s one of the few things that make me cry.

The book doesn’t just make you cry, though. The most fun I had this weekend was every time Murray, while listening, would laugh and clap his hands. Yes, he was driving at the time.

Friday, April 22, 2016

You Of Great Faith

Matthew 14:25-31: Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

This is one of my favorite stories about Peter. It makes me a little sad, though, because Jesus seems disappointed with Peter when he becomes afraid. But when I thought about it more, I realized that isn’t the main point. The most exciting issue is that Jesus expected Peter to have great faith.

The first thing Jesus said to Peter when he said he wanted to walk to Jesus on the lake was, “Come.” Jesus believes we can have that kind of faith.

When the Roman Centurion in Matthew 8 shows his trust that Jesus can heal his servant without coming to his house, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Verse 10

When the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 showed her bravery and belief that Jesus would accept her he said, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” Verse 28

He doesn’t expect more of us than we are able.

Matthew 17: 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Sometimes in dark moments, I’ve felt I was only holding on to God with my thumbnails. But that was enough. Truly, it was not my strength that kept me holding on. God held me securely in his hands. John 10:28-30

God will help our faith increase, and he will do great things. Mark 9:23-34

Friday, April 15, 2016

Mom and Me, a Story

Writing stories is my joy.

But I’ve been having a hard time making myself sit down and start one lately, and I feared I’d lost the skill, the thread, the mph. The other day I forced myself to sit down for an hour and grind this out. Rough though it is, I was glad I could still pound out the skeleton.

“Mom, we have to talk.”


Mom stood at the kitchen sink, elbows pumping as she scrubbed pans.

“Can you stop for a minute and look at me?”

“I can hear you fine.”

I swallowed, then took a deep breath. “Mom, I’m sorry you’re upset.”

Water splashed out of the sink as she banged the pan up and down. Her arms moved faster.

I chewed my lip. “I’ve been talking for a long time about wanting something new. Moving to California, getting a better job. This isn’t new.”

Mom turned on the water and rinsed the pot.

I shifted on my feet. “When Sue mentioned this opening at her company—”

“Don’t blame your sister for this.” Mom grabbed a cookie sheet and slammed it into the water.

“Blaming … I’m not blaming her for anything.” I walked to the table and pulled out a chair. “I’m glad she thought about me when this job came up.”

Mom grabbed a pot scratcher and attacked the mess stuck to the pan. “Hmph.” She added warm water to the sink.

I moved away from the chair and circled the table. “Mom, this job is a real step up for me. It’s something I’m good at finally, something I really want to do.” I pushed the chair back in and continued to move around the table. “I’ll be making more money than I do now. And at least to start with, Sue and I will live together. I won’t be alone.”

The pan jerked, and more water sloshed onto the floor. “What about me?”

I stopped dead still. How many years had it been since I’d heard my mother scream?

“What about me being alone?”

She turned from the sink to face me. Her eyes were wide and streaming. She squeezed the dish cloth between her hands. “I’ll be alone.”

Mom moved to the table and sat down, laying her head in her arms and giving way to loud, shaking sobs.

My body shook too. I knelt by my mother wrapping my arms around her, pressing myself against her soaked self.

“Mom, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I don’t want to hurt you.”

Mom gasped and managed to speak to me through the rough sobs. “I know you need to move. Just like Sue did. I know you need to do this for your life.” She took a deep ragged breath and made a jerking shake in my arms. “I know it, but it hurts me so.” She sputtered and coughed.

I rested my head against my mother’s trembling shoulder and let my own tears squeeze out. “I know. I’m sorry. I love you.”