A Hand Given

26 08 2013

It was evening, February of 1985 when I received the call from a relatImageive down in my birth-state of West Virginia telling me of the accident.  There had been a serious car crash and the greatest influence of my childhood, next to my mother, lay in a hospital clinging to life.  My Great-Aunt Pearl had been in the passenger seat when the car she was riding in collided with another causing her side to take the full impact.  

There was little time to prepare, call work and tell them I’m heading out of town, throw some things in a suitcase, head over to Ohio to pick up my mother and then it was down the highway toward Southern West Virginia at a average speed of 100 mph.  The Lord must have known I needed to be slowed up or I was going to end up in the same shape as Pearl. Somewhere south of Akron, OH my serpentine belt broke. We ended up getting a few hours rest until I could get another one the next day.  

Back on the road, we found ourselves some 5 hours later pulling into the parking lot of the hospital in Bluefield, W.Va., where one hour after that one of the greatest heroes of this man’s life stepped out of this life and into eternity.  Now I skipped many details to get to this point because it would have been way too wordy for where I’m going.  The main thing I wish to emphasize is that a great tragedy struck my personal life suddenly which left me in the saddest depression I had ever experienced.  When the word came that my Pearly Mae was gone everything went into slow motion like something out of a movie.  Relatives all around me crying uncontrollably at this tragic news; and as I looked around I became lost in the moment, as if this can’t really be happening; but the cold hard truth–it was real and it was happening. Other than a couple of crying spells for the rest of that day, I pretty much stayed in my numbed state of mind.  The next day the pain came like a storm, and as the reality of what happened sank in, the depression engulfed every fiber of my existence.  I would go through the next several days operating in auto pilot so to speak where obligations dictated that I must be in control.  Otherwise, I found myself falling apart at any given moment often without warning.  As the situation worsened with each day, friends and relatives would do all they could to encourage and lift my spirits.  It was obvious that everyone meant well and only wanted to be a help to my sadness, but sometimes the last thing a person needs is someone else trying to brighten their day when truth is you just prefer they didn’t!  There comes a time when words, no matter how heart felt they are, ring empty in the ears of someone who is hurting, maybe sometime later they’ll be appreciated, but for the tragic moment in question I think a person would just be happier with solitude.  That where I was, these people that I had known my entire life meant well, no doubt.  But in the state of mind I held right then, they were actually getting on my very last nerve.

The day of the funeral came and I confess I was at my lowest point.  I could hardly function.  I’m sure the service was very nice; my Pearl was loved by many.  But I couldn’t tell you a thing that went on, I spent the entire time crying my eyes out like a little child but not caring.  I was at the saddest point of my life and I wasn’t going to try to hide it.

When the service ended, once again people gathered to me trying to lift my spirits, and once again I really didn’t want to hear it.  There wasn’t anything anyone was going to say to make the hurt go away so the best thing they could do for me was for them to go away.  Finally I asked to left alone in the chapel there at the cemetery for just some alone time.  As people filed out, I continued my crying fit with my head buried in one hand and with the other resting at the arm of the chair I was sitting in.  And then, it happened.  It wasn’t anything earth moving, I didn’t hear angels singing, and no bright light flooded my heart to search out and ease the pain; it was a touch.  As I sat there with head down, I felt a hand go on top of mine.  I first looked at the hand, petite and soft; then my eyes followed up her arm to the beautiful soft smiling face of a young distant cousin of mine.  This was a gal I had spoken to few times over the years since she was much younger than me.  But how close she and I were didn’t matter at that moment.  She saw that I was hurting; grieving the loss of this woman I loved so much and she came and did the only thing she could, sit there with me and hold my hand quietly and just allow me to grieve.  Without a word she told me, “I care and I’m here.” That little cutie, 30 years ago, did more to lift me than everyone combined!

As I’ve grown older I’ve become more convinced that we have better opportunity hearing the voice of God than many sermons combined.  In Silence He knows He has your attention and that you can hear what He’s saying to you.  In silence the heart can be heard beating, letting you know you’re alive, and important.  And in silence you don’t have to hear someone say they care, you can see it in their face, their eyes, that’s where it really says, ‘I care, I love you.’  I often think of the Bible verse “Be still and know I am God.”

In other words, “Be still and know I’m here for you.”  “Be still and know I will always be here.”  “Be still and know that I feel your hurt.”  “Be still, and know my love for you is never ending.”

My little cousin gave me a gift when I was hurting the most, the gift and a hand and a warm smile that told me she was there for me.  Thank you, Little Donna.

My God tells me the same thing in His Word and in His Way, “I’m here, and I will never forsake you.”  Now isn’t it awesome to have that ringing in your ears?!!!


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