I can tell you I do not know how to start this post. I can tell you I have put off posting this post. I can tell you this post is categorized under It’s What We Do but it really is missing a word. It’s what we “should” do…and to borrow a phrase from Linda she told me and those standing around her when we stopped by for a visit before she passed was simply this…water my plants. I think we all take a phrase away from someone after we have lost them to heaven and for some reason it stays with us and has a greater meaning to us than even to someone else who may have heard the exact same thing. Yet, they are carrying one. And mine for this precious lady is “water my plants.” It makes me laugh; it makes me cry; it brings me to my knees; it makes me want to serve; it makes me want to be like Linda. All that and more when I think of the example she was to us all. One of the verses on my heart in her memory is “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! (Isaiah 52:7 KJV)”
Linda beautiful Linda…She lived to serve. She was so crafty for Him. She had a constant stream of ideas! Serving in our ladies WMS and our kids program called AWANA. Her home had not just an open door but a revolving one! I love hearing the stories of how they opened their home in Japan at this time of year for like an open house and made treats and just visited with anyone who came. That stops me in my tracks. Like I said it’s what we should do! Nothing seemed to overwhelm this missionary, mother, grandmother, friend.
A different friend went with me on two different times to visit Linda while she was in the hospital, and I can still just smile about each encounter. Who does that!? Linda. Only Linda could laugh along with us or think something we did or said was so funny that it brings a smile to my face still today. I do remember how very excited she was on one visit to show us her hands, and she even had her sister pop off her socks to let us see her beautiful toes! Her friend had taken her for mani pedis recently!!! And her granddaughter must have thought the sparkle needed even more because buddy she added more sparkle:) So really how beautiful I am remembering were her feet!!! She was so happy to have pretty feet! How I know when my toes are sad ain’t no one seeing them. We need to keep beautiful feet. Feet that are quick to point others to Christ:) Feet that are quick to help others for Christ. Ask for fast beautiful feet:) Again, it’s what we “should” do.
Linda’s hospital room was filled with visitors and prayers so much so that she was moved to a private room! Nurses and workers would hop in and pray with her. Even slipping into their native tongue. So much like the Japanese missionary they were praying over. Her very bed ridden presence proclaimed: my God reigns! She could not help but illuminate it! It could not help but disseminate from her! Either way. Either word. She radiated His light!
It never surprised me how much things could go wrong in just a normal day much less one in a possible dying woman’s day. I remember that we called to see what we could bring to her on one of the visits. Smoothies! Then smoothies it was to be! You cannot imagine how difficult this simple task became. But it seemed so numbing that any other day being in a Sonic or McDonald’s drive thru would not have the same urgency even though it was fast food. And isn’t there a holier place to get something for someone so close to crossing over! I was taken back and getting a very good image of how precious really is the ordinary! And yet how ordinary everyone is ordinarily except when you just want them to know that really things aren’t ordinary!!! And yet…we just moved on. Until we found that strawberry milkshake. She loved it. She appreciated it. She was thirsty. Ask God who is in your path that is so thirsty they are ready to take what He offers but maybe we are just walking along with the intention of offering but it just keeps slipping further and further down that to do list. Did I mention by the way that this is what we “should” do:)
I have been dealing this decade with this thought: It’s not ever going to be done so do the best with each day! The mental list just keeps running! Yep! Even if I had every photo scrapped there would still be another one taken. Life doesn’t stop when you’re to do list is done. To do lists stop when your life is. I was reminded of this and remember especially listening to her recite what she wanted to see done. Little simple things…like reshining the door…planting plants…replanting plants! I know her wish list for the T&T room was to have a Christmas tree! She could just see those kids’ hand made ornaments adorning it. Well, several of us wanted to do something in her honor. In memory of her impact on our life and our church family’s life. We donated a Christmas tree with the tree skirt monogrammed with her name and life verse on it. The AWANA T&T kids all December with the help of great servants made ornaments and tagged them with notes to her and hung them on the tree. Some took theirs home with them. It was a precious thing. I know she is smiling. I feel her presence in so many places. People tell me doesn’t it just feel like she should be here? Yes, she has watered so many of us that we cannot help but drip with her ways. Her ways were not just assuming someone was taking care of whatever was needed taken care of. Her ways were to take care of it! Now I find myself imagining when there is a need that surely someone within “the system” will get it. Like the way a sprinkler system throws out the water. Surely someone is taking care of that! Then I am reminded that it could very well be that my hearing and noticing is the very response He wants out of me. Beginning to see needs. Then acting on that. So Linda:)
My Pastor caught my attention recently with this verse “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:9 KJV)” So much of what makes me want to burst at the seams really is my own failure to accept that I cannot accept things for what they are. Stop trying to change it. Homework will happen. Tests and quizzes will be failed. Stuff won’t get done. Clutter doesn’t just happen its inevitable. People will drive crazier around me! Putting others first sometimes means really removing ourselves from the front of that line. That “should” is really getting next to me on that part! Yikes!
Earlier this summer a group of us were decorating and readying the AWANA room and we knew Linda had just been released from the hospital but I will never forget that she showed up to help even though she was on morphine! A sinus headache keeps me home with OTC RX:) How I can learn from her strength. I said all through her illness about her and her family that they are the towers. She is an absolute pillar. A stalwart :
1. strongly and stoutly built; sturdy and robust.
2. strong and brave; valiant: a stalwart knight.
3. firm, steadfast, or uncompromising: a stalwart supporter of the U.N.
4.a physically stalwart person.
5.a steadfast or uncompromising partisan:
We had a beautiful visit. I loved hearing the mom in her still…just telling how many times she would ask for others to water her plants. How beautiful to have that in common. We’ve got kids who don’t mean to not do what we say but because it’s on our priority list doesn’t mean it will make theirs! Maybe just their “should” do one! But knowing she almost thrived telling it made her always a mama:) She was watering her plants. And she was teaching me in those words I hear over and over in my mind in reflection…as if she is whispering them even still: to water my plants. Love my Lord, my family and my friends and live to serve Him.