But let's not jump ahead too soon. Last week, I touched on two areas of my life that I had made an intentional refocus or renewal ~ my overall physical health (by attending Boot Camp) and my state of mind (becoming an Automatic Negative Thought killer). This week, I'll cover my Third Focus for 2012, which includes reconnecting with those who have held and continue to hold a special place in my heart.
Her name is Ginger. Well, her birth name, but about eight years ago, I considered Ginger nothing short of my Heavenly Angel. My husband and I were expecting our second child. Okay! I say, "we were expecting," but I'm going to pull my female card out here! I was the one that was pregnant and I was miserable! Sick when I woke up. Sick all day. Sick when I tried to go to sleep. Sick to the point that if I did get some sleep, I could barely sit upright until about Noon or take care of our very active 2 1/2 year-old son at the time. I had no idea how I could possibly get through the next nine months, let alone the next day.
I sat nearly lifeless, in church one Sunday praying silently for God to provide some relief to my 20 weeks of morning/all day sickness; and yet, at the outcome, produce the healthy baby we dreamed of adding to our family. I recall gazing up at my husband while still seated in the pew and whispering, "Honey, I don't know how I'm ever going to get through this." As the service concluded, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
She wasn't more than 5'ft. tall, but at 80 years, Ms. Ginger carried a smile and pleasantness about her that filled a room. I recognized her as one of our lifelong congregation members, who always seemed to have her seat securely reserved in the back row, even if no one else was there at the time. She lived near us and I remembered hearing that her husband had passed away several months earlier. And now she was approaching me in what must have been a difficult time in her life too.
The words Ginger spoke to me that day, I still believe were divine providence, "Jody, I was just thinking. If you ever need any help taking care of Mark, I would be happy to come over and play with him so you can get some work done and get some rest."
In an instant, God answered my prayers and lifted a burden from me through a woman who was nearly 45 years older than myself. For the next few months, Ginger and Mark became the best of playmates. She would come over as early as 7 a.m. some days and stay for as long as I needed her. As much as Ginger was helping me, little did I know until years later how much she was grieving the loss of her husband. If she was sad, she didn't show it. If she was lonely, she never let on.
On a drive together to see her own grandchildren one day, I shared with Ginger that we didn't know the sex of our second child, (we hadn't found out the first time either) nor would be finding out ahead this time until the baby was finally here.
"If it's another boy, " I told her, "we'll name him James Price. And if it's a girl, we'll name her Jessie Lynne."
Ginger said, "Why Jessie for a girl? Why Price for a middle name for a boy?"
I explained, "Well, my grandmother's name was Jessie and my maiden name is Price."
I'll never forget Ginger's astonishment in hearing those names together again. Then she said, "My mother's name was Jessie Price!"
Just another sign we knew had been God's way of letting Ginger and I know He had brought us together to help one another at a time in our lives when we needed each other the most.
In 2003, on the 10th day of the 10th month, at exactly 10 p.m., Ms. Jessie Lynne arrived (12 days past her due date) just a few ounces shy of 10 lbs.
About a month ago, Ms. Jessie and I called Ginger at the nursing home she now resides and took her out for a "girls day", since her now 11-year-old former playmate, Mark, had a baseball day camp to attend. Her hands and joints so riddled with arthritis she had trouble moving, we took our time at lunch and shopping. I handed her a note that Mark had written to her to explain why he couldn't be there. She read it quietly. Attempted to fold it, and asked if I could help her put it in her purse.
She looked up at me and said, "You know....if it wouldn't have been for that little Mark and being able to spend that time with him back then, I think I would have died."
With tears in my eyes, I said, "Ginger, I know had it not been for you, I might have ended up the same way."
Lesson Learned: We're never too old or too young to make a significant impact in someone's life. The time that we spend building relationships, caring for one another and being aware of one's needs, has generational significance. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.