8 Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” John 5:8 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
First of all, I’d like to extend a special “thank you” to everyone who sent kind words about the story of my grandmother’s experience with “her version” of coronavirus-like crisis. (If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read it by clicking HERE. Your thoughtfulness warmed this preacher’s heart! As promised, I want to continue with a bit more of her story today.
As a schoolteacher, it’s been sad for me to think about my students who are scheduled to be the graduates of 2020. After all, we all spend 12 years of school longing to be seniors. You’re supposed to be able to get your friends to sign your yearbook, go to the prom, and “walk” at graduation to celebrate all the years of hard work. Truth be told, it’s something parents and grandparents dream about watching, too. Because of COVID-19, these things (and so many others) are canceled for the time being.
When I was a young preacher and feeling discouraged, an elderly pastor told me that sometimes it helps to know that others have gone through the same troubles that you’re having. If your graduation is “on hold” this year, Granny Davis would be a good person to talk to. And if she heard about your graduation woes, I bet she’d say, “It certainly is a very disappointing thing. But these things do happen in life.”
You see, when she was beginning her senior year in high school, it was about the time of the beginning of the Great Depression. The school in her town abruptly closed for a number of years. Because of this, she missed her senior year entirely.
But when she was nearly 20, an educational opportunity came her way. She could leave home and move to another town and live with a family as she finished her high school diploma. She would be required to help with the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and the dishes (and also help care for the children.) In exchange, she would receive a bed to sleep in and her meals. And that is what Granny Davis did.
I don’t know too many details of the story. But my favorite part of the story that I do know is this: Every morning the family she was boarding with had homemade biscuits for breakfast. Before she left for school, my grandmother picked up some of the leftovers from the table. Then on her way to school, she stopped at the general store that was run by her host family. The man would cut her a slice of bologna or a slice of cheese to go with her biscuits. And that, my friends, was her version of school-lunch.
Now, here’s the most remarkable thing about her 2-year-graduation-deferral. I grew up with my grandmother living in the house with me. We talked about everything. But, in all the 45 years I knew her, she never mentioned her delayed high school graduation. Not even once.
For some reason, it just wasn’t a pivotal part of her life. For her, having to wait 2 years to graduate wasn’t even on the radar-screen of her long, busy life. In her generation, major bumps on road of life were just “business as usual.” That’s why I think she’d say, “It certainly is a disappointing thing. But these things do happen.”
The longer I live, the more I realize the elderly preacher’s advice was right. It is good to realize we’re not the first people to go through some hardship. And it’s good to know the Lord is with us in all our troubles. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
“No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
So, this week, it’s absolutely okay to feel the sadness of losses (large and small) caused by this dreadful virus. But afterward, let’s go to our Heavenly Father for help.
And then, “Rise, take up your biscuits, and walk.” 😊
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 34 ½ years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s currently on a sabbatical from the preaching ministry, and is an English teacher at the Choctaw Tribal School. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where the Preacher and his wife have been instructed to “shelter in place.”) You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.