Rattling off a handful of names as if to recite the alphabet or a grocery list, she was clueless as to the weight of her words on my hungry ears. I doubt Mrs. Golightly ever gave it another thought.
As for me—I’ll not forget.
Never did I imagine my name sandwiched among the students our favored English teacher deemed gifted at writing.
Really? My…writing? This mysterious news wandered the halls of my baffled mind. Peculiar. Lovely. Greek to me, as I sat in the middle of English. An otherwise average afternoon turned on its head, spilling this most curious sentiment. Handing back papers that day, Mrs. Golightly responded to the random question of a fellow student—a question I only heard in part. But, the answer—oh, did the answer ring through my ears in full.
She said “Brenda”.
I’d surely cringe to see those ninth-grade papers of mine today, but Mrs. Golightly did what all good teachers do—she built up. And, in the way they always do…without even realizing she’d done it.
Still strangers—yesterday’s high school freshman and today’s lover of words couldn’t have picked each other out had they been walking down Main Street together. Unaware of the budding passion within, the extent of my writing at that time consisted of obligatory class assignments.
But, there it was. In the last classroom to the left of the gym, on a hot Florida day, she said “Brenda.”
Fast forward to another random question with another surprising answer.
Still young, but now married with children, my husband and I are guests at a wedding shower. Of course, it wouldn’t be a couple’s wedding shower without the requisite Newlywed Game. Men and women segregate as each seek to channel the other’s replies, eager to win the much-coveted vegetable peeler. Regrouping, the silly mismatched answers unfold like a room full of children with a substitute teacher. And, because you obviously want to know—we’re well on our way to becoming the proud owners of one mack-daddy vegetable peeler.
Then—all innocent-like—Random Question Meets Surprising Answer, Take II.
My husband was asked: “If she could choose any job, what would your wife like to do?” His response was a sweet one. A true one. Thus beginning and ending the similarities between our answers.
He replied, “What she’s already doing. She’d be a mom.” Bless him. It was true.
The response scribbled across my card: “Writer.”
I enjoyed writing, but this nearly took me by as much surprise as Mrs. Golightly’s remark more than a decade earlier. Yesteryear’s seed hadn’t been unearthed and assigned a name—until targeted and put on the spot with this makeshift, Bob Eubanks-less Newlywed Game.
But, there it was. In a cramped house at the edge of the city, on a clear Florida night, I said “writer.”
While all of this was busy being news to me—it didn’t catch the Seed Planter asleep in a lawn chair wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat.
Now, as then, He remains in-the-know, keeping careful watch of the hope He embedded. His hope, long before it became a hope that we shared.
He showers it with cool spring rains of promise, and prunes it with refining winds of summer storms. He gathers the brittle, broken leaves of autumn, foreseeing their future beauty. Carefully, He tends the roots, nourishing them from His wellspring, privy to the internal progress of winter yet unseen by external means.
It’s been 30 years since the Planter scattered seed from His cupped hand into the soil Mrs. Golightly faithfully tilled. And, nearly 20 years since that wedding shower where the fledgling sprout was given an assignment…a calling.
Still deepening roots with sky-stretched shoots, I’m forever humbled by the calling—the joy. As the seed rises up with growth and discovery, its purest delight is in tenderly wrapping itself with a pretty fresh bow, and re-gifting to God the art of His own hands.
This lovely song of Bebo Norman’s eloquently flows into the spaces of my spirit, capturing the cry of my soul:
“Take my time on this earth,
and let it glorify all that You are worth
For I am nothing without You.”
Beautifully intertwined is the honor of doing what we love, and having God meet us right there in it. Each planted for the other, beside streams of living water, bearing seed-lavished fruit in season—begetting a cyclical rhythm that blessedly outlives us.
Oh, sweet Father, take the new joys of spring, and the shadowy heartaches of autumn; the quiet beauty of winter’s waiting spaces, and the pain of summer’s storms—take all that I am. Use it, I pray. Transform it. Somehow. Anyhow. Glorify—all that You are worth—for indeed, I am nothing outside of You.
This post is my contribution to the Compel Linkup Challenge. The Compel lesson that I used to write this post, was Karen Ehman’s April 2015 lesson, “Finding Writing Ideas”. I used Karen’s brilliant suggestion of picking up a coin, and using the date on the coin to recall what was going on in your life that year. The coin that I picked up was dated 1985. I was the high school student of a dream weaver in 1985. 🙂