In general terms, I still believe the generations before mine led better lives than many do today, beginning with yours truly. Saying that I am often reminded that there are still a few that proclaim to be Christians that actually live the life.
My life as a Christian is not what one might consider the definition of living a good life. In fact, there have been far more failures than there have been victories. There may be some that say they wouldn’t admit that. But it’s the truth and it has come with consequences.
I guess everyone makes mistakes during their life at one time or another. It’s just that most of mine seem to be of the epic proportion variety. I’m sure that kills my family but somehow they seem to forgive me. But not all do.
When I was a student at Cherokee High School I met a girl named Earlene Armour. Earlene went on to marry Mark Shadburn and they have a beautiful baby girl named Savannah. Actually, Savannah isn’t a baby anymore. She’s a bright and beautiful young lady.
During our school days Earlene would have been what the guys would have referred to as a good girl. She wasn’t the only one, but there was no doubt that she was in that pack.
That simply meant that she was the kind of girl you treated respectfully regardless of how sorry your own life was. It wasn’t because she demanded it. It wasn’t because she judged others that didn’t walk the same path she did. It wasn’t because she walked around with a Bible in her hand quoting scripture. No, it was because of the tremendous amount of love she showed to one and all.
Years ago I attended church with Mark and Earlene. Even before they became parents, Earlene had a nurturing, motherly way about her. Her motherly way extends far beyond that of her own daughter. She has that tendency toward anyone that will let her.
Just like any mother, including my own, she has this forgiving heart toward others regardless of their failures. For that I am thankful for God knows I’ve had enough failures for many.
All of those failures have led me to a life that no longer includes attending church. I guess some would say that could be contributed to the judgment of church-going people. After one of my many failures, a church-going person said to me, “I’m glad your Granny ain’t alive to see how you turned out.”
Although harsh, it was just an opinion to which I had no response. So I hold no ill will and blame only myself. However, I did think it best to do my worshipping at home.
Not long ago, I was having a conversation with Earlene. She told me a story of something a man told her a long time ago that had resonated with her for years. And although I can’t remember the specifics of the story, she said it had a positive effect in her life. I listened intently to Earlene just like you would a parent even though we’re the same age. I told her how much I appreciated her sharing her story with me.
Earlene looked at me and said, “That man was you.” I think I actually looked around to see who else was standing around. But there was no one else. I was shocked, humbled, and didn’t know what to say.
You see, Earlene had filtered out all the bad stuff that I have done in my life and remembered a rare positive moment I didn’t even remember. I guess we never know who is really listening when we speak.
It was only a few days ago that I felt like I needed prayer beyond what I felt I could muster up on my own.
So I reached out to Earlene in a text message. It wasn’t long before I received a text back from her that included her prayer on my behalf.
A day or two later I saw her at work. She came up to me a hugged me. She didn’t speak a word.
She didn’t need to.
Her feelings for me were made clear the day she told me her story. Earlene will always be a good girl.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.