Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (02/23/12)
TITLE: The Voice We Leave Behind
By Marlene Bonney
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A no-nonsense person, my Daisy Mae was. She wasn’t going to let me wallow in my grief after her demise, any more than she put up with me feeling sorry for myself when she was alive. Seems like she always had a positive answer for everything, that girl of mine. To me, the glass was always half-empty; to her it was half-full. A lot of folks predicted that our temperments would mix like oil and water. They were dead wrong, though. We complimented each other so well over the years because we were opposites.
You could say a lot of negative things about my Daisy, but I never heard anyone call her a quitter. I got clued in on that early on, when, after twelve hours of grueling labor for one first little one, she refused to give in and take anything for the pain. Guess you could say she was stubborn, but usually in a good way.
Twenty years later in a hospital delivery room with that same little one in labor for our first grandchild, Daisy was right by her side,
“Come on, Carmella, you can do it! Take a deep breath, and PUSH . . .yes, you can, sweetie; you’re doing a fantastic job. Just a little while longer, honey . . .”
I seem to gravitate to those old days now, a kaleidoscope of memories cascading through the cobwebs of my mind and becoming more real to me than the present. Daisy’s voice reaches me even there,
“Don’t you go living in the past, Sammie. You got too much needin’ your attention here!”
“Give our Billy a call, Sam. He’s needin’ you. God’s given you time to reach out to him with all that wisdom inside you to share.”
I obey her nudging now more than I did before. Why is it we truly value people only after they’re gone, I wonder? I yearn for the old days, so her voice in my head is water to my parched heart.
I sit out on the porch swing, her side of it empty, but her words waft through the slats like yodels echoing through the distant mountains.
“Watch the sun rise, Sammie, and see God performing His miracles. It’s like He gives us a new dawn every day, a promised clean slate to get it right this time,” her words warming my old aching bones.
I had an epiphany that day, watching the sun rise in all of its glory. I HAVE MORE YESTERDAYS THAN I DO TOMORROWS. It seemed a depressing thought, regrets and unfulfilled dreams tugging my heartstrings. Why, I’d probably used up two-thirds of my life!
“But just think, Samuel! What you learned from your yesterdays makes you live those tomorrows to their fullest—fill them up, old man! Help those around you. There’s so many as needs your compassion.”
My joints creak louder that the swing I’m resting on and I think, “yeah, right”; but change it to “she’s right, I need to get out of this slump of self-pity,” after pondering a while.
So I think and pray and read my weathered Bible, clinging to its promises, a drowning old man grasping for a life preserver. And, like the flower petals pressed between its pages, I safeguard my memories of God and His Word, carrying them with me throughout the day.
As a result, I am now paying visits to my children and grandchildren and friends, offering whatever help I can give in this needy world. I found that my sorrow and my bodily aches and pains are so minor in the face of others’ woes. People need hope, and just being there for them gives them that. As I try to light up their lives, I talk less and listen more. I do less for myself and more for others. So, I thank God more, and ask for less. And I find that I am a stronger and better person.
“It just goes to show a body, don’t it, Sammie. No matter what happens, there’s always someone worse off than you.”
My wife, Daisy Mae, the eternal optimist--and the voice that will always be in my head.
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