And I Know It’s Going to Hurt

Posted by Belinda Howard Smith on May 16, 2016 in Growing Up in Plainview, Musings, Relationships |

IMG_5722A decade or more has passed since some of us had seen one another. Eight of us encircled a single table on the huge covered porch overlooking a field of wildflowers. We spent hours conversing throughout the weekend. “Catch us up on the last forty years” and one would begin the condensed version of her life since high school.

College,  marriage,  grad school, a child born with fragile medical needs and then loss, infertility, adoption, divorce, breast cancer, short-term mission trips, careers, loss of a parent or both, organ transplant, a seriously ill spouse, children’s accomplishments, aging, grandchildren.

“Whatever happened to so and so?”

“Do you remember when?”

“I’ll never forget…”

We graduated from high school with tunnel vision toward a bright future never considering there would be dark days. We unanimously agreed we were blessed by our spiritual upbringing. Ironically we all grew up attending First Baptist Church and now were all together this weekend.

We talked about how grateful we were for the godly influence of our young youth pastor Kenny and credited him for keeping us out of trouble and in church. One even recalled specific lessons and illustrations Kenny had taught. We paused and prayed for him.

We fondly reminisced about church choir trips, choral groups, and Sunday afternoon rehearsals. We learned so much from our choir director, Ed. Ever cheerful, full of grace and encouragement for about one hundred hormonal teens Ed was the best! For old time sake we sang, “Pass it On” in two-part harmony remembering all of the verses.

It was an unanticipated time of healing and hope. Life had dealt some difficult challenges. Our faith sustains us, our roots ground us, and our bond assures us we’re here for one another.

Between the lengthy back porch gatherings we ate and shopped.

“No Facebook posts” we agreed on the group photo.

Imagine eight women over the age of sixty bossing whom should stand where, trying to get the wildflowers in the background. Intermittent rain threatened us to stay on the porch though if we stood on the porch faces were shadowed against a bright background. One finally said, “Let’s just get out in the grass. If we’re fast we won’t get wet.”

I had a flash back of two young school girls as I observed one take the hand of another as they stepped off the porch to uneven ground.

The official photographer among us set up her “real camera” on the handrail and pressed the 10-second timer. We couldn’t discern when the shutter moved.  Let’s just say there were a lot of bloopers with our photographer missing from the image or running to the group, another one turned around talking, and of course the typical eyes closed.

Then we progressed to the more techie selfie stick and like the school children we were vied for who would hold and operate the stick. It took several attempts to get all of us in the selfie as we are not a generation of selfies (and proud of it).

Before we parted we vowed to do this annually and set a date. As I consider the future with less tunnel vision than at high school graduation I know it’s going to hurt.

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  • Lynn Bryant says:

    Enjoyed the reminencsing, highlighting what surfaced to be most important after all those years. Tell me more about your youth minister and chiral director. What great men they must have been to receive such applause today. I too had similar sentiments and profound impressions and lessons imprinted in my foundational years before reaching adulthood.

    Blessings! Lynn Bryant

  • Our youth minister, Kenny Wood was a newlywed, fresh out of college so of course as youth we identified with him more than our parents. His Bible lessons were fresh, relevant, and related to where we were in our lives. Our youth director, Ed Wittner built a large youth choir (about 100) for our size church and small community. He set high expectations for our conduct, attendance, and performance to give our best for God and in service to our church. An example of Ed’s expectations: we learned to pay attention to the director, to all stand and sit in unison, to hold a hymnal high enough that as we looked over the top we could see the director (and were not looking down as we sang), sing about Jesus like you mean it – smile when you sing, performance music was always memorized. The youth choir was the Sunday night service choir which allowed the adult choir an opportunity to sit with family. Consistent rehearsal and Sunday night attendance was a prerequisite for the privilege of going on a summer trip. Every summer we went on a youth trip for 1-2 weeks where we presented a musical drama and helped with VBS in the churches we served. During those trips we also did face-to-face personal evangelism. It’s been 40+ years and I/we still remember. Ed led by example. He was patient and kind. I suppose having that many hormonal youth to lead, you could credit him with long-suffering too!

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