life influencers

February 20, 2008 at 1:49 pm Leave a comment

Have you ever heard that you become like those with whom you spend time? It’s true, really. When I think back over my life and think of people that I’ve wanted to emulate, several people come to mind. Some of the people from whom I have really drawn many of my traits weren’t even folks I’d have considered close friends. That just goes to show, you never know who’s watching, taking notes on your behavior, huh?But this morning I am thinking of a young woman I worked alongside at The Limited in the early nineties. Her name was Nancy. And I have NO IDEA what her last name was. She was engaged; she had the most incredible engagement ring I may have ever seen to date. It was an enormous emerald cut diamond flanked by two enormous deep blue sapphires. That ring was breath-taking! Nancy was so thin. Thin as in stick-straight and probably not even a hundred pounds. Turn sideways and you REALLY couldn’t see her.  And she walked very fast. She was like a little sprite, zipping from one place to another.  But the thing that really stuck with me about Nancy is her CHEERFUL-NO-MATTER-WHAT demeanor.  I was a manager in training when I worked at The Limited. Nancy was one of three co-managers. From the time she came in the front gate before the store opened, she was always chipper and upbeat. I can still hear her sing-song, “Well hellllllllllllllllo!” that she’d call out sorta tongue in cheek style. I’m not sure who she was imitating, but you could tell it was meant to be a funny greeting. Over the top happy was what she exuded. And very seldom did we see any other side of Nancy at work.  I want to be like her.

Ms. Mable Vaden was the picturesque church-lady. She was an original honey-lamb. Dripping with real southern charm. She was The Lollipop Lady when I was in grade school. She passed out lollipops at the end of each Sunday morning church service. Precious, precious lady.  Ms. Mable had asked Terry and me to sing Cum Ba Ya at her funeral. But, her sweet daughter didn’t remember that, and had already coordinated someone to sing. So, we didn’t barge in. I kinda think we should have just all joined hands graveside and carried out that request. Cum Ba Ya was her favorite. She specifically wanted us to sing, “someone’s grieving Lord”,  “someone’s singing Lord”, “someone’s laughing, Lord”.  I think of her often, still. Everyone loved her. I want to be like her.  

Mama taught me to square my shoulders and look like I was taking everything in stride even when I wasn’t really. “Throw back those shoulders and hold in your tummy; put a smile on your face, and never let ‘em see you sweat! Kill ‘em with kindness.”  I needed that advice a lot. And, thank God, she was there to install that wisdom into me.  She taught me to hug people I love. She did not teach me to stifle my feelings. And, I know she was trained that way. I’ve seen much evidence that she was definitely discouraged from showing my emotions.  Crying was not something I was trained to be ashamed of. If tears came, they just did.  And, she was there to hear me and to help me move through times of trial and pain.  I wanna be like her. Daddy taught me about mercy. He has been the rescuer for so many who needed assistance as long as I can remember. I think dogs and cats everywhere knew that our house was a good place to rest your weary bones…and have their litter of baby critters when the time was right. And, we’d always find homes for ‘em all.  But, he was a friend to two-legged folk, too. He has helped so many people in their time of need: given people a place to stay, food, money…or just a ride to their next stop.  I’m too big of a chicken to be as merciful as Daddy. Mercy takes guts! And, in this day and age, it takes courage that borders on recklessness. But I’m sure that by watching his example, I’m at least a little higher on the mercy meter than I would have otherwise been. (Maybe?)

He’s been a wonderful listener.  Daddy is compassionate, understanding, and respectful of my thoughts and my take on things. I wanna be like him.

Brenda Rose was definitely used by God as a mentor to me in my Christian faith. I will never forget her husband Clark explaining (in their living room) what the Bible tells about end times. I wish I had that all in writing to read and re-read and re-read. I also remember exactly where I stood in my log home kitchen as Brenda told me over the phone how I might best facilitate a closer relationship with God when I was first hungering and thirsting for MORE of GOD.  Surround yourself with good teaching, good praise and worship music all the time. Read about Him, listen to your favorite teachers in your car to and from work. Pray and sing praises to Him. I’ll never forget that conversation.

Ms. Dot was such a blessing to our family. She’s with the Lord now. But, her influence on me and on Jessye, and on my whole family forever and ever amen has been mighty. She truly stirred me up for Christ!  She showed me what real love for the Lord is all about. Her face was clearly illumined with the love of God. I can remember her saying to me one time, “Sometimes I look up into the clouds and think, ‘Maybe today.’

…to be continued.  Hmmmm.  I think this one may have to become a recurring topic for me…


Entry filed under: life influencers.

minus 12 lbs. in 24 days! another painting

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