Should I Stay or Should I Go?

A true story.

February 4, 2018, Terry and I loaded up and moved from the mountains of Hendersonville, NC to the Foothills of Landrum, SC. We moved primarily based on cost.

I fought the move. You’d have thought it would be the other way around, considering Terry was moving from his hometown and I was moving back within 8 miles of where I grew up.

There were determining factors of the fight:

  • I was afraid. (That is a story for another time.)
  • I don’t like to change. We had already been through so much with Ned’s death. I didn’t want more.
  • I really didn’t like that God was asking me to go. I knew it was the right move for us to make but I just couldn’t believe He was actually asking us to trust and go.

So, I came reluctantly and with a foul attitude.

Within the first ten days of our move, Popaw fell extremely ill and due to the move, I ended up in Hendersonville 9/10 of the time.

I kept asking God, ”Why?”

He kept saying, ”Wait.”

I cried out to Him. I cried to Terry. I bemoaned to a few of my friends. I just couldn’t shake the desire to go back home to Hendersonville.

Last fall, my Bible Study girls did ”The Armor of God” by Priscilla Shirer. In the very first week, she had us do a little exercise that truly resonated in my heart. She had us write down in a circle the most difficult person, most pressing problem and/or overwhelming circumstance. Then on the line beside the circle, we were instructed to write the words, not the real problem. This fight that was going on inside of me was not a fight against flesh and blood but a fight against the world forces of darkness, and spiritual forces in the heavenly realm. (Ephesians 6:12)

While I was beginning to understand that the real enemy was the devil himself, my heart still ached and longed to go back home. But instead of talking about it as much and crying to others, I began to spend more time crying out to God. In that time, I also wrote on a prayer card a very specific prayer.

• God, either help us sell our house and return to Hendersonville or overwhelm me with your peace here.

I prayed this prayer every day. As began to pray, I noticed my stress of being here in Landrum lessened. My heart still longed for Hendersonville, but I began to enjoy what I had here.

Then in late March, Terry got the itch. He always gets the itch. It’s rare that he stays in one place too long. ” Let’s put that house on the market and see what happens” I was haphazardly reluctant and cautiously excited, all at the same time. We’ve been there. Done that.

So, we placed a ”For Sale” sign in our front yard. We had calls and a few showings. Nothings substantially sound, until one lady came. She loved the house and left saying, ”I think this is the one for me.”

Terry was excited. I thought I was too. Then it happened, suddenly I began to feel sad. I love my house. I love our quaint neighborhood and more importantly our neighbors. I began to pray, ”God, if this is what you want, allow. It to happen.”

On Thursday, she called to say she was going to purchase the house across the street and be our neighbor. She wanted a brand new house. I was not sad. I was relieved.

Then, I got my act together and decided to list on Zillow. This proved a huge success. We had a few other showings and then an offer. The offer was ridiculously low. We went back and forth most of the day. When I realized they weren’t willing to pay the price we wanted, Terry and I agreed to take the house off the market, at least for a while.

I need to interject here to say, we could have easily taken their offer. We would have made money. However, the consideration being offered would not have been good for our neighbors and the price valuation of our neighborhood. Sometimes, it’s not about what you can put in your pocket. You have to consider others.

I am so excited we are going to stay. God has done what I began asking of Him, almost a year ago.

Is there something that is troubling your heart? If so, realize that it’s probably the enemy trying to weave and work his craftiness. Cry out to God. Be open and honest with him. Ask specifically. Pray without ceasing. Do what He tells you to do. Walk in obedience to Him. He will make your joy complete.

A Psalm for Saturday

Today’s blog comes in a little differently than others. I found this in one of my many writings. There was a time, and I possibly need to get back to it, when I would just read a scripture passage and journal how it spoke to me.

This particular one was written out on January 31, 2015. Interestingly, as I read through it today, it resonated with me and I found myself thinking, ”Yep, what was true four years ago is still true today and I needed this reminder.”

Here’s the scripture reading:

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God, I cried for help. From his temple, he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭18:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Here’s what God spoke to me through this passage.

As my rock, you are my protection and you are not removed from my presence. If there’s any movement it’s on my part, not yours. You are my constant and unyielding even when things around me are unsteady and shaky; You are NOT. You are my rock in both good times and bad because You are constant and unchanging. My emotions sometimes gets the best in me and I waver and wane. You keep me steady.

I need You in both good times and bad times, maybe I need You and your stability more in the good times. Why? In good times I find my self more self-reliant, more pious and more complacent when things are seemingly well- that’s why!

In times of struggle, whether brought on by my own foolish choices or circumstances beyond my control or tragedy, I run to You. I cling to You. I depend on You to pull me through. I want and need Your help.

The paradox- in both good and bad, I need to run, cling, depend on and want your help.

You are my shield. You protect me. You stand between me and my enemies, most of which are in the battlefield of my mind. You are my stronghold and so worthy of my praise and adoration.

A Glorious Day

As I sit waiting for the dryer to stop, my mind has drifted into another time and place. Well, technically the place is practically the same and maybe that’s why my mind has escaped the reality of the present and drifted into the past.

I remember vividly as if it happened yesterday, and yet it was at least 15 years ago, possibly more. I know for certain I journaled it. I’m just not certain where that journal is right now, but when I find it, I’ll post it

It began like all mornings. Terry and I up before the crack of dawn or the rooster’s crow. In order to get him off to work by 6:30 am and get the 4 kids up and ready and out to door by 7:15 Besides being a necessity to rise early, some days those few stolen moments were the quietest of my day. I treasured them. I longed for them. I needed them.

For weeks leading up to this day, I had been struggling with the kids ns their attitudes. One thing to note, I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again. I do not have compliant, non-opinionated, willfully obedient children. They all have strong personalities. I remember journaling about the difficulty I was having with discipline. I felt as though one or all four head-butted everything I asked them to do. Most times, they would concede because I was far more stubborn and bull headed but not without a fight.

Anyway, this one particular morning. I was journaling and pouring my heart out to God. I was sitting in my room with tear-stained eyes because I just didn’t think I could handle it anymore.

As I’m wiping away the tears, I hear the creaks in the wooden staircase, indicating that someone was coming upstairs. As I pull myself together, Matthew peers into the doorway, ran into the room and bounces on my lap, in a single bound. Yep, like Super Matt. He wrapped his arms around me and looked out the bedroom window. He looks at me and glances back to the window exclaiming, ”My what a glorious day!” Turning my head, I peer through the window and saw it too. A magnificent sunrise beginning to spread across the dark sky.

Yes, indeed a glorious day unfolding before me, I just needed the eyes of my child to remind me.

As I continue to ponder that day, I am reminded of how many times I cried out to God and He brought me peace and joy and reminders of his goodness through the lives of my children.

Do you know when we cry out to God in earnest plea, He turns his ear, and hears and answers the deepest cry of our heart?

In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me, turn your ear to me and save me. Psalm 71:2

The key to this verse is recognizing the righteousness of God and believing that He alone has the power to rescue, deliver and save. Oh friend, don’t keep drowning in your sorrow. Cry out to Him. He will gladly come to your rescue, maybe in the form of a child.

You Are Special and loved by God

During our move I ran across this book, You Are Special by Max Lucado. I knew I’d saved the book for two reasons. First, Alex’s second grade teacher Mrs Warner had given it to him as a gift. Second, Max Lucado happens to be on of my favorite authors.

In this particular Children’s book, he tells the story of a Wemmick named Punchinello. The Wemmick’s are wooden people made by a woodcarver named, Eli. The Wemmick’s spend their time giving each other gold stars or gray dots. Gold stars are for those who are excelling, beautiful, strong and the grey dots are for those who are weak, ugly, not measuring up to the Wemmick’s standards of living. Punchinello is one who feels unworthy, unloved, forgotten. His body is covered with gray dots. In fact, he never seems to measure up and it cause him great anguish. “After a while he had so many dots that he didn’t want to go outside. He was afraid he would do something dumb such as forget his hat or step in the water, and then people would give him another dot. In fact, he had so many gray dots that some people would come up and give him one for no reason at all.”

The only time he felt ok about himself was when he hung around Wemmick’s who had lots of dots.

One day he meets a Wemmick unlike any other. She was dotless. In fact, every time the people would try to give her stickers, they just fell right off. They had no stick.

Immediately, Punchinello wants to be like her and so he asks her how she did it.

“It’s easy,” Lucia replied, “Every day I go see Eli.”

Curious he asks why and her response is classic, “Why don’t you find out for yourself.”

When Punchinello finally decides to go see Eli, he is overcome with delight. Eli calls him by name, tells him how special he is and that when he get to the point where he decides to care more about what Eli, his maker, thinks about him, than others, his dots will begin to loose their stick.

Eli says, “The stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about the stickers.”

While this a Children’s book there are so many rich truths for us.

I’m not sure about you but I know there have been many tines in life where I’ve allowed what others thought of me to influence decisions I’ve made. There are times when I’ve felt unloved, unworthy, and forgotten. So, I am preaching to the choir.

God wants us to come to Him when we feel this way. When we’ve allowed ourselves to care more about what others think of us than what He says and thinks about us. When we’ve allowed our circumstances to mar our thinking. He wants us to know, we are His. He made us. He knows us more intricately than we know ourselves and He loves us with a measure that is so deep and wide, nothing can penetrate it. We are the ones who separate from His love. He never removes His love. It’s always there for the taking.

If you don’t believe me, find out for yourselves. Here are few scriptures to get you started.

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings” Psalm 17:8

“Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. “. Psalm 119:73

The truth is, when we begin to understand the depth of His love for us, it changes everything for us.

The power of music: using your giftedness for His glory

When I was little, I always loved to hear my Mom sing. Many folks have said, “she has the voice of an angel” or “she sounds like Julie Andrews”. From as far back as I can remember, she sang. She sang in the choir, sang solos and then sang with an ensemble group while we lived in Columbus, NC and then sang with DayStar, the group that Ned was instrumental in starting.

There are a few specific songs, over the years, that really standout when I think about her singing. The first is a medley of “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” and “It took a miracle”. Now, the first song is probably the more familiar song. The chorus line is “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full is his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace”. This song in particularly deals with the depravity of the weary soul and the recognition that Gods word will not fail and as we learn to gaze upon Him, the things we hold onto will becomes less important as He becomes more important.

The other song may not be as familiar. The first verse of the song and chorus are as follows, “My Father is omnipotent and that you can’t deny. A God of might and miracles ”tis written in the sky. It took a miracle to put the the stars in place. It took a miracle to hang the world in space: But when He saved my soul, cleansed and made me whole, it took a miracle of love and grace”. This song references the almighty power of God. Recognizing He is the creative genius behind everything in this world but also that the His greatest miracle is birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus because that is how our souls are cleansed and set free.

By putting these two songs into a medley, it shows our deepest human needs are met when we rely and trust fix our gaze upon Him. When we do this, we see His might, His power and we know that it truly took a miracle of love and completely underserved grace to set our souls free.

You see, my Mom would need to know and understand these things while she was walking the journey of Melanoma with my dad. She would need these truths to carry her through. She would need these truths to rear three children, two of them rebels. She would need these truths to help administer care to her parents and she desperately needed the truth of these two great Hymns to get her through the past two years.

There is another song, that sticks in my head every time I think of Mom singing. It is “He’s Been Faithful”.Lyrics here. This was a song DayStar had in their program. Mom would open the song by talking about how she had learned God’s faithfulness through the loss of my dad. Again, if you look at the song as whole, it relates specifically to realizing that while we will go through difficulties in our lives His faithfulness to us is always there. He is always there. She has needed the truth of these words over the past three months, like never before. She has needed to see Jesus’ love and faithfulness. Guess what? She has. So have I. I have seen it through the deep love of cherished friends. Friends who go the extra mile for her. I have seen it on full display from Pastor Steve, Wally and precious Jimmy Cobb, who visits my Popaw every week. Yes indeed, she has experienced this firsthand and I have had the privilege of watching it unfold.

Music is powerful. It is effective and it touches and reaches places of the heart that mere words cannot. I am so thankful that God gifted Mom with such an extravagant gift and I’m grateful she used it for His glory. Through the songs she has sung over the years, I see the faithfulness of God in her life. Thank you, Mom, you’re a priceless treasure and a true gift. Happy birthday.

A little about my Hero

I know a man who has given his whole being for the good of others. He is one of the most selfless people I have ever been around. His joy comes to see other happy. That’s always been his chief aim. I’ve never met an individual like him and I’m quite certain I never will again.

His countenance displays joy and peace. His life reflects the joy of the Lord. His smile illuminates the room and just sitting his presence blessings abound. My husband says frequently, “If you don’t like Troy, you’ve got serious problems”

Who is Troy? Troy is my grandfather, commonly referred to as “my Popaw”. What makes him so special and unique? The choices he’s made in life.

On any given day of sporting events when asked who he’s rooting for, his answer, no matter who’s playing, “The underdog. The team that’s losing”. He has a heart for the downtrodden, for the weak, for the homeless, for anyone who needs a little extra help. He wants to see them have an opportunity to succeed. It’s just how he rolls.

As a young boy, Popaw made choice to follow the Lord. He has never wavered. At 16 years of age, he married my grandmother. He loved her through life and never wavered. He became her caregiver for almost ten years. He grew weary towards the end, but he never wavered in his care for his bride. Once moved to assisted living, he visited her everyday, except a few times when he was sick. He never complained and always thankful for the care she received there.

He loves and adores his two daughters more than anything. He’s always been there for them. Always ready, willing and able to do anything he could for them. The past two years, through Ned’s illness, he expressed to me several times how difficult it was for him not being able to help and really be there for Mom. Honestly, his existence has been a blessing and help to us all.

His grandchildren he doted on since day one. There’s never been three children anymore loved and adored than me, my sister and brother. Both he and my grandmother always made us feel like the sun rose and set in us. He still makes me feel that way When I see his sweet face light up as I enter his room and he says. “Honey, it’s so good to see you. It’s always good just to be with you”.

And then there are his great grandchildren and there are just no words to describe the vast love he has for them. He is always concerned over their well-being. He is constantly asking about their safety and he is consistently telling me how much he misses those little rascals.

Clearly he is a family man.

When I think of the fruit of the spirt

I can’t help but think of Popaw. His life is the embodiment of these things. Every characteristic I have seen on display I his life. And I find myself thankful and humbled. Thankful that I have been given such a powerful witness of a man in my life and humbled because I realize, I have a very long way to see all these attributes displayed in my life. Truth is, I may never get there because I am not always prone to making wise choices, like Popaw. I have a “prone to wandering” heart.

Popaw has staid his course and run his race with great vigor and endurance! He is a living example of a life well-lived.

Popaw is my hero!

Alex’s friend Derek: A life that made a difference!

Proverbs 27:17 NIV

As iron sharpens iron,

    so one person sharpens another.

Last year on December 22, I was coming home after taking dinner to Terry. Instead of my usual route to come home, I took a detour. I needed to run by Walgreens and pick up a few items.

While in Walgreens, I heard screaming sirens. Multiples! I could tell from the direction of the sound they were headed in the direction I would be traveling.

Immediately, as always, I began to pray that my children were safe and for protection for whoever was involved.

As I was leaving Walgreens, Alex called!

“Mom, where are you? There’s been a terrible wreck on Kanuga Road. You can’t get through, you’ll have to go around the other way. ”

“Ok. Glad to know you’re safe” I replied.

He said, “I think the accident just happened and if I had not stopped by the house to change clothes, I might have been part of it.”

He was headed out to dinner with friends and had been at work. Not wanting to wear his work clothes, had stopped by the house for a quick change.

I called Amy to make sure she wasn’t involved. Fortunately, she was no where near Kanuga Road. I breathed a sigh of relief and headed home.

I called Terry to tell him a bad accident had happened and traffic was diverted. As soon as I got out of the car, at our house, I heard MAMA whirling above. At that moment, I said to Terry, “Dude, this is not good. I hear MAMA! We need to pray for the people involved!

Everyone arrived home safely and the next morning, I woke up with the accident on my mind. There was a feeling of uneasiness about it and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

I drank my coffee and finished my Bible Study. Then I began to research about the accident. Here’s what I found Wreck on Kanuga. As I read and listened to the accident report. I began to well-up with tears. The teenager, Derek, wasn’t doing anything wrong. He had left work and was heading to get gas before going home.

I didn’t know this family or the young man, or so I thought. I just knew my heart was in shambles for this family.

I remember telling Terry when he got up how heavy my heat was for the Miller family. I told him I couldn’t imagine what his parents were going through.

I went to get ready and suddenly, while blow drying my hair, like a ton of bricks, it hit me. Derek is Alex’s friend from work. Derek is the one Alex eats out with all the time. Derek is the young man I met one night while I was out having dinner with a friend and Alex and his friends were eating there too.

By the time I was finished getting ready, Alex was up and knew that his friend had been killed the night before.

Talk about a somber moment. He said, “Mom, I was most likely the last person to talk to Derek! He finished his shift, a little before me and asked if I wanted to go out and eat. I told him I already had plans for that evening but we could go out after all the next day because we were both scheduled to work.”

Alex was heartbroken. Devastated. He knew that God had spared him because of his couple of delays. He was shocked and dismayed. Shaken badly.

There was nothing that I could do or say to take away the deep pain my child’s heart was feeling. Now, not only was my heart breaking for the family, my heart hurt deeply for my son.

Over the next few days, I observed as Alex processed his grief. He didn’t sit around and wallow in his grief. He went to the Millers. He spent hours with Derrick’s Proverbs 27:17 NIV

As iron sharpens iron,

    so one person sharpens another.

Last year on December 22, I was coming home after taking dinner to Terry. Instead of my usual route to come home, I took a detour. I needed to run by Walgreens and pick up a few items.

While in Walgreens, I heard screaming sirens. Multiples! I could tell from the direction of the sound they were headed in the direction I would be traveling.

Immediately, as always, I began to pray that my children were safe and for protection for whoever was involved.

As I was leaving Walgreens, Alex called!

“Mom, where are you? There’s been a terrible wreck on Kanuga Road. You can’t get through, you’ll have to go around the other way. “family. He grieved with them.

As the time approached for the memorial service, Alex told me that he felt compelled to speak on Derricks behalf. So, he had taken the liberty of calling Derricks brother, Colby, and mentioning it to him. The family was elated because they had been praying that one of Derek’s friends would speak.

We watched as Alex prepared his testimony about Derek We listened as he read us what he was going to say. Although we didn’t know the family, personally, we went to the service to support our boy.

As he concluded his Eulogy, I will never forget what he said about his friend. “The thing that I am going to miss most about Derek is seeing Jesus live in him!”

It doesn’t matter what age or stage of life you’re in, remember the impact you can have on another’s life. This young man was 17 years old and he had an impact on his friends and others. They noted and saw the difference that Jesus made in him.

It’s not about a degree or pedigree. It’s about the difference that Jesus makes when He’s invited to come into our lives. It’s not about impacting the world. It’s about impacting those that God puts in your path. He can use you, just like he used Derek in Alex’s life.

Whole and Beautiful

At times over the past few weeks, I’ve felt a certain disconnect. So much so, after being around my family the other evening, I called my friend to talk it over with her.

She said, “It’s very normal. You’ve been through a lot of emotional upheaval the past few weeks. It’s your way of coping Its ok. Just know that it won’t last!”

Sometimes, I would prefer if my friends were wrong. But then again, that’s why I call the trusted and true because they know.

The above conversation took place on Wednesday evening. By Thursday morning, I was a mess.

Terry said, “What’s wrong! Why are you crying?”

Between sobs I said, “I miss him.”

“I know. I miss him too. I miss my Mom and Dad too. It’s ok to cry. ”

After I dried up, I recalled the conversation from a few nights before with my cousin, Greg.

It was Monday. The evening before my Uncle Howard passed.

Standing by my car with my door ajar. Greg said, “There’s something you need to know. I need to tell you”

My ears were perked and ready.

“On Saturday evening, Dad was standing, in his own strength. Suddenly he fell back into my arms and stopped breathing. I just knew it was the end. I held him for a few minutes. He began breathing again. I got him back into bed. Then he sat straight up and said, ‘I don’t know why God brought me back.’ Greg was confused at his comment and questioned him further. Uncle Howard responded, ‘I went to heaven. I saw Mack (my Daddy) and Linda (their sister) and they were beautiful. I just don’t know why God sent me back'”

Fighting to keep composure to drive home, I looked at Greg and said, “I know because somebody needed to hear this.”

Maybe it was me! Maybe I needed confirmation that all those who’ve gone before me have been made whole and beautiful. Maybe you need the same confirmation. Maybe someone who’s dying needs to hear, if they’ve given their heart to Christ, they will be made whole and beautiful. I don’t know who needs to hear it but someone surely does and maybe it’s just me!

Learning to feast in yesterday’s joy

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time or know me personally, then you are well aware that my dad is fighting lung cancer.

The past few months have been challenging, both mentally and physically. There have been many ups and downs. Sadly, more downs that ups but as I’ve learned there’s always joy…..even in the hard difficult days.

Last Thursday, Ned was moved from Pardee Hospital to the Elizabeth House and placed under Hospice Care.

Over the past few days, there have been ups and downs but relatively decent days. Decent days are the ones where we see progress.

The Hospice doctors have worked diligently to get his nausea and pain under control. They’ve eliminated a lot of his medications, which in turn, have helped his symptoms.

Tuesday I walked in and was astonished and amazed. Ned was eating, talking, laughing and joking. He was weak but he felt good. It was an amazing sight, to say the least.

However, with this battle that his body is fighting, I’ve learned to keep my plans loose and flexible. A last minute call can change the course of my day in a split second.

At 9:10 Wednesday morning, my Mom called. As she was on her way to the Elizabeth House, she received a call from the doctor. Ned, at some point last night started having trouble breathing. He was having such a hard time, they had to load him up on morphine, to calm him and do breathing treatments. Needless to say, Mom asked if I could come because she wanted me to talk to the doctor. I was happy to go!

It wasn’t easy to go knowing full well that I wouldn’t be walking into the same room I did Tuesday. It doesn’t matter that I’ve seen him this way before. It hurts. It makes me sad. It hurts because I know deep, deep down he wants to feel better. He wants to have the yesterday back. Honestly, I want the yesterday back. That’s not reality.

Once gone it can never come again. It makes me think of when he and Mom were first married. He would pull out his guitar and sing “Yesterday” by the Beetles. First line of the song, “Yesterday. All my troubles seemed so far away. Now it seems as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday.”

I think if we’re honest, a lot of us yearn and long for yesterday. What I’ve learned through all of the ups and downs, especially with Ned’s illness is most times the “good” yesterdays give enough hope and power to get through the today. It’s truly all about the perspective.

A dear precious friend of my parents sent me an email last week with this great little nugget of truth attached.

“The trials of the Journey will be lost in the joy of the Feast” Max Lucado

You see, if we look for joy even in the horribly terrible hard days, the good days will be your feast. The ones you hold out for, the ones you hope for and the ones that give you joy to continue the journey.

I’m learning to feast…..

Steep and Long

Sometimes you just gotta go back home.

I did just that the other day.  I wound up in my hometown of Columbus, NC (more commonly known by the neighboring Tryon, NC).  I went with a purpose.

I went to cancel a venue and reclaim my deposit check due a location change.  Sure, I could’ve called the place holding my deposit and let them know the space was no longer needed.  That would’ve been the easy thing.  However, I’ve learned in life that face to face contact with folks is important.  Therefore, since they were considerate enough to give me leeway to cancel, I felt it was important to do it face to face.

My second purpose was to intentionally go and personally invite a former classmate to our reunion.  I wanted to make sure he knew.  Again, I had an address for him and  easily sent an invitation.  Why the personal invitation?  Why not?  I knew precisely where he worked and it was not out of my way.  Besides, sometimes seeing a familiar face and receiving a more personal invitation makes you know your presence is welcome and wanted.

After taking care of the two main priorities, I decided to go make another appearance in an attempt to reconnect with an old classmate.  The particular classmate lived in our neighborhood and just so happens that his mom still lives in the same house.

But first, I had to drive by my old house.  I do this each time I go to Columbus.  The drive-by.  So much has changed in the neighborhood.  Quite a few more houses.  Our house looks about the same.  The driveway….ah, yes the driveway still long and steep.  I actually had two accidents on that driveway.  One on my shiny, brand new 10 speed bicycle.  The other, in my little 1982 Honda Accord and I wasn’t even in the car.  I failed to get the car over the lip on car port.  Left the car in neutral because I was running in to grab stuff then run back out.  When I got out the car had left its spot, rolled down the driveway and the bumper hit a tree.  Funny part was, the bumper hit in the dead center, so it looked like a big “V” in the back.

Luckily, Ms. Barbara was home.  She didn’t recognize me at first.  I was afraid to ask and maybe I just didn’t want to know.  At any rate, we visited for a while and I learned that my former classmate and friend is doing well which made my heart happy.  I told her we were doing a 30 year class reunion and told her frankly, “I’m sure he won’t come.  I just want to make sure he knows, just in case.”

Why in the world when I usually take a more positive view would I even be somewhat negative?

I knew my friend didn’t have the best experience in high school.  My friend was taunted by others, some who even pretended to be his friend. .  He was made fun of, mainly because he was different.  He was different. He was highly intelligent He was different because when all the rest of us were out having fun, romping around, hanging out, partying.  He was at home.  Not only because he made a choice not to do those things, but also because he was always working.  His dad made him work.  Doing odd jobs around the house was a constant.  Mowing his yard.  He worked while we played and that made him different.  That made him an outcast.

I really hope I get to see my friend one day.  I doubt it will ever be at a class reunion and honestly, I don’t blame him.  I get it.  I saw his hurt.  Although, he tried to pretend it didn’t bother him it did.  Also, as a parent I’ve watching and seen the same thing to happen to a couple of my children. Sad, but true, they’ll probably never go to their high school reunions either.

You see, driving by my old house and looking at the changes are always exciting but some things don’t change, just like that driveway.  Steep and long.  Words can have a powerful effect on folks.  The hurt can be steep and the pain can be long. It’s why we need to choose our words carefully and wisely.  Once spoken they can never be taken back.  “Words can inspire. And words can destroy.  Choose yours well.”  Robin Sharma