All I wanted to do was drive to Mexico, MO, for a very special birthday party, to try to comfort, cheer up and rejuvenate an old college sorority sister battling brain cancer. But I was the one who wound up comforted, cheered up and rejuvenated.
Two other old friends were there, Beth and Steph. We all agreed how inspiring and uplifting it was to see Vickie and be able to pray with her, sing with her, joke with her, and love on her. It was neat to see how Vickie’s friends and neighbors were rallying around her. Our hearts were filled with pride and admiration in how Vickie was handling this tough hand of cards: with grace, courage, a sense of humor, but also honesty and clear-eyed realism.
We all reverted right back to what our college-age personalities were like. We each remembered parts of hilarious old stories and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle. We sang the sweet old songs and saw the tears in each other’s eyes.
The bear hugs were reassuring: though since college you’ve dealt with 2 o’clock feedings and mortgages and teenage angst and increasingly prevalent gray hair and wrinkles, you’re still the same you they remember. And they still love you. Where you’re going after this, they hope to be there.
As usual, what I thought had been a mission of mercy and friendship on my part was actually a shot in the arm for my own outlook and attitude.
On the drive home, I realized how much I have missed little road trips, because of covid. I’ve been shut up in my own house and yard, pretty isolated, all this time. Tired of the same scenery out my windows. Bored. Blah. Not very productive.
Those who grew up at the seashore yearn to see the sea; those who grew up in the mountains feel best when they’re up there again.
But we Midwesterners get a jolt of reassurance by driving along a rural highway in early autumn as the mesmerizing gold and green whiz by.
Drying corn, as far as the eye can see. Beans. Sorghum. Lime green and forest green at the cricks, and then endless golden fields. A riot of yellow goldenrod and perky sunflowers. Tawny beige grasses. Burgundy milo. A pop of purple wildflowers. Then dark green woods.
I’d forgotten how much I love Missouri town names: after leaving Mexico, I saw the sign for Paris. There was Ethel and Excello. A street sign: Possum Walk. It was so good to smile.
Then more gold and green. Gold, then green. Burnt orange, then rust, then more gold, more green. I felt like my brain was being recharged by paint by number, turning from gray to multicolor.
Susan, Susan, a little voice silently said. You’ve been living your life in black and white these past six months, because of covid.
But my world is in living color. My world is about hugs and laughter and meaning and friendship, like you just experienced. The world needs you out there, being a blessing and a comfort, and being My representative. There are many, many people ripe for My harvest, just like these fields. They don’t know Me. You can change that.
Just then I saw a sign in front of a church:
Turn off the TV
and love your neighbor.
It was, as they say, an epiphany. Time to get back to telling people about Him. Green means go . . . and gold is the priceless reason why. †
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.
By Susan Darst Williams • 9/10/2020 • www.RadiantBeams.org • © 2020