If you follow the blog, you know I was in Colorado Springs last weekend for a conference. It was held at the Glen Eyrie Conference Center on the property which also contains the home offices for The Navigators. The setting is absolutely breathtaking, as it borders up against The Garden of the Gods. …. Irony.
Eight miles of trails that wind up through the rocks and cliffs that continue onto a ridge where you can see for miles are located on the property around the headquarters and conference center.
My friend and I opted to use three hours of free time on Saturday to explore the trail closest to our lodge.
As we began our trek along the narrow, clay-red paths that ascended ever upward I had to stop and tell my hiking companion that I needed her to be forewarned.
Since the vegetation and dry dirt were evidently quite desert like, I sensed there was a strong possibility we might encounter a snake. I had to warn her that in the event this happened, there would be a blood curdling scream and an insane overreaction unlike anything she had ever witnessed in her entire life.
She raised three daughters, but I knew without a doubt the trio could never conjure up the heights of hysteria she would have to face if something slithered across the path in front of my feet.
She assured me that we would have no such event. The weather was too cold and all the serpents were burrowed deep in the ground. I trusted her because she is from Texas, and she speaks from experience.
Thus we continued on with a lovely hike and no extreme meltdown ensued.
Fast forward to Tuesday morning.
I had returned to the Midwest and was occupying Miss Caroline with a walk/bike ride while her mom held a science class on astronomy for the band of brothers.
She was riding her bike and I was walking their dog and since she was in the lead, Lucy and I just trudged along trying desperately to keep up.
We headed down to a park like area of prairie grasses and a creek. As we rounded the corner just before the bridge, I could see that Caroline already had her helmet off and bike parked and was headed toward me when she shrieked and came running to hide behind me.
With real tears pouring, she was shaking as she pointed toward the path up ahead. She got out that she thought it was a stick, but Wowley…it MOVED!!!!! And sure enough, up ahead I could see a small snake like thing lying in the sun on the concrete between us and her bike.
I have a photo because I sent it to her mom, but I will not share for those that are like me and would have nightmares for weeks.
At best it was about 8 inches long and quite thin, but I wanted to scream and dance up and down with my sweet little granddaughter.
I considered the bike on the other side of this satan being as good as abandoned and I was fighting every impulse to grab her little pink cardiganed self up in my arms and run like Florence Griffith Joyner in the Olympics of the year this little child’s aunt was born.
But God’s wisdom grabbed hold of me.
He shook me and reminded me that this little child needed a brave woman, not a screaming maniac, to lead her.
I knew He was right, turned around and I got down low so we were face to face and I asked calmly if she would like Lola to get that critter to move off the path and back into the grass.
She nodded big and looked deep in my eyes, the way she does, and I suggested we pray.
We bowed our heads over Lucy and I told God that I knew He knew, but we were scared. And we knew that snake wasn’t very big and meant us no harm, probably, but we were shaking and we needed Him to make us brave. Then we thanked Him for making all things for His glory and said Amen and I told her to look away if slithering bothered her.
Lucy and I approached the loathsome thing and I stomped my foot a bit and then a little more and looked away as it did that thing that grosses me out so badly and exited from the path to the grass.
When I checked my phone, I saw that Rachel had offered to load up the boys and come get us.
I texted back that I had been a brave one and told her what we had done.
I believe she said something to the effect of “Who are you, even????”
But I told her what I told Caroline. That little girl made me brave.
We have a whole lot out there that is scarier than a snake, or whatever it is you fear the greatest.
But we have a generation of little ones coming along behind us who need us to be brave.
Do it….do the things you fear….live the life that shows those coming behind you that you gave it all for love of people and the glory of God.
Pray to be brave when you have to and then do the thing you fear.
Hey blog friend….in case you don’t know…this little slice of the internet grew out of a weekly letter to the Sunday school class I taught. I wrote it for many years before I ever tried posting on this wider reach. One of our class mates was Miss Sadie Fox and so I am sharing with you today the letter for today’s “Friday Email”…hope it blesses you. Sadie attended our class for years and even when she couldn’t hear very well and her sweet face was drawn into a concerning frown to try and hear what my over-loud voice was saying, she would thank me graciously every week for teaching. Sigh…loved her and the generation of women she represents. So here is the letter I sent them today…..
Hello and happy Friday
I didn’t get an email out last week because we were in an area in Northern Wisconsin that struggled with wifi access. Between that little curve ball in my phone/computer access and this past week’s interruption of all things Facebook, I have realized how much I rely on the internet for communication.
Cue a new level of panic in this continuing saga of post 2020 life where we are beginning to realize how quickly all that we call “normal” can be lost.
Since news of all manner, but especially local information, seems to be spread now by means of electronic communication, I am aware that some of you will be reading this as fresh news and I want to share my deepest prayers for the way it may hit you.
We lost another of the generation that still dressed up for church and got their hair done weekly and carried themselves with a sweet grace gleaned from years in the trenches that made them better, not bitter.
Our dear Miss Sadie Fox left us to be with Jesus a few week’s ago and her absence from planet earth is still palpable to those who were hoping for one more encounter with her here on this side.
Russ and I attended her funeral and there were times I feared an ugly sob was going to come bursting out of me.
We had not planned to go through the visitation line with Covid and all, but we got there early enough and just felt compelled to go down and give our respects to the family.
As they introduced themselves to me and shared relationship details, I cried because although I didn’t know the faces….I knew every name.
I knew seasons and details of their lives because I had been asked many times over the years to pray for them. Young ones who had traveled for school, older ones who had had career changes, losses, celebrations…all of it.
I could hear their names rolling off of Sadie’s sweet southern tongue like honey on a biscuit as I would look into those beautiful eyes and feel her hand on my arm as she asked me to pray for this one or that one.
Heading back to our pew for the service, I saw others I had been asked to pray for sitting here and there.
Young women, now, who I once prayed for as they were teenagers many years ago.
This one and that one that Sadie had taken under her wing and into her heart.
And if they were in her heart, you can know, she had consistently and urgently invited them into our hearts as well, through asking us to pray.
I sat and listened to various family and our pastor share through choked voices about what she meant to them and to all of us.
Sadie mentored before mentoring was a thing.
She mentored by loving and caring and praying and then acting on the behalf of others.
Her conversations were never overly wordy and never hurried, but all carefully thought out and then she just engaged in drawing people into the fellowship of prayer, community and action.
No one on earth said my name quite like Sadie.
Even as she would be chatting about someone or something going on, she was pouring out encouragement and kind words and hope. Even when her hearing failed and her eyesight dimmed so that she would ask us to tell her who we were when we approached her, those joy-filled eyes would exude the light and love of Jesus as she warmly smiled into what she couldn’t see with her physical sight.
I attended a conference once where the speaker said my generation loves senior saints, we just will never be one.
We all laughed and I think of it often. It is so true.
Even as I and my peers develop all the outward signs of being that “nice older lady at church….” We still hang on to the clothing and activities of our younger years.
My generation has done aging different than the one that preceded us.
I hope, though, that we are walking in the footsteps of the likes of Sadie’s Pendleton Plaid Jacket grace…that we are the bridge of faith to the young women and men coming behind us.
I hope we are showing all the signs of having walked faithfully with God in the times we have been given and that we are inviting others to join us as we pray for those we love.
I hope we remember the value of unhurried conversation and the sharing of our hearts with those in our faith community to build one another up….to say the name of the person we are talking in such a way that they will remember we knew them and loved them.
I hope we graciously extend grace and help to those who are walking through the seasons we weathered, or were spared from…. and we are extending the fruit God has blessed us with to help them to grow and flourish.
Thank you Miss Sadie Fox for living a genteel life with a fierce love for others.