Were it not for the fabric mask over most of my face, my response would’ve worsened the incident.
I was browsing the big sale at the Target entrance. I heard a loud crash and a moan. I looked over to see the feet of an elderly woman in shoes like mine, except her shoes slippery with mud, had caused her to fall.
She laid there as the red shirt employees called for a certain code on their radio walkie talkie looking phone.
I turned the corner and looked away as the thin older woman insisted, “I am okay.”
Yet, she still sat on the floor near the entrance. I didn’t look her way. A crowd had gathered. Enough people were gawking sympathetically already.
I felt my knees weaken. I wanted so badly to cry. I felt the welling up and the ache in my chest. I suddenly needed to cry. I wasn’t sure I could change my heart’s mind. My eyes moistened at the thought of the lady on the floor.
I saw her walking then, carefully and with evidence of an ache, proof of fragility.
Earlier in the week, I’d thought of endurance, felt better about the current call to endure in that endurance is to be expected if one hopes to see more clearly, live more by faith.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
I accepted endurance as transformative. I felt optimistic about my enduring.
I pulled a book from the shelf from a long time ago.
“What God Can Do” by Deborah Mathis is a compilation of stories of people who gave up on God and themselves and then, faith and prayers …God came through.
The author begins with her personal story. I remembered it wrong. Her father, a cancer diagnosis, he lived longer twenty or so years longer than doctors thought possible.
The author as a child had prayed it to be so.
I put the book back on my shelf. The book I retrieved from my mama’s house after her death.
Shame, I felt shame for giving her the book when she was very ill. There’s a handwritten note on the first page. I can hardly think of it, a note to my living mama telling her my daughter has written down a Bible verse and put it on the fridge.
“Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.”
Luke 8:50 ESV
Then more. My friend is close by in a hospital with her husband. He has test results of a degenerative brain disease that means not hopeful.
One thought led to others. My daddy almost 20 years ago beat cancer but died because of a rare pneumonia type bacterial infection. My mama, trying to get well but unable to process all of the medicines, her pancreas failed, medication toxicity.
Yes, parents pass away. I know this. But, both way too soon and both of crazy rare turns of events.
No wonder I walked the aisles of Target thinking, “Soon, I will need to cry. I will need to allow the breaking of me because of my friend’s husband and for my parents.”
The heavy burden lingered, the longing to believe in the goodness of endurance, the hope that all things are eventually for good.
It lingered all day. I painted.
I completed a commission with the only insight, photos from the person’s home.
I looked towards the painting from yesterday. I’d been sitting at my desk. I made a new list, I read words from my Bible, I looked at the redemptive figure I’d painted on canvas. It reminded me of an abandoned woman in a wilderness of her very own making and of being seen and known.
The painting was named, “The God Who Sees”.
This evening, I accepted my own heaviness. I thought of how waiting brings clarity, brings redemption and peace.
I told myself waiting is necessary although it is not pleasant.
Waiting to feel less fragile.
Waiting to see God move.
It happened in an unexpected way, the way life circles back and weakens your knees again.
The buyer of the commission with a background of grey and blue asked if “God Who Sees” was still available. She has a sister who lost a son to suicide and she needs to know that God knows, God sees.
The feeling came. The evidence of God in everything. A stranger sees the “God Who Sees” just as I had seen.
She shares the loss of a nephew to suicide. I read her message. I stand still at the kitchen sink and I know I must give this painting away.
Me, now an artist, sort of writer although not so great blogger, a woman who counseled people who lost others to suicide, I have painted a painting which will now go to a mother who no longer has her son.
And so, I knew for sure, the painting will be gifted. The encounter via messaging that gave me cause to truly see endurance and gave me opportunity to think less of myself and give something, art to someone else.
And that was the tying the knot in this week’s regretfully melancholy and honest week, that was the evidence of good still to be done, the unveiling of the truth, even fragility is glorious.
Able to endure because of all we’ve endured with fragility already. Endurance is a peaceful settling for what happened unlike we had wished.
So, I walked this evening and came home to see my “Savannah girl” standing strong in the changing air, the feel of Fall, the season we have not yet seen.
And the decision to put others stories of faith away and to just believe in the faith stories of my own.
Endurance is what we do because we know God is good. Fragility is the reminder unexpected of the humanity of us, the stories we thought might end differently and didn’t, the people God puts right in front of us to remind us we are okay.
We fall, we falter.
But, we’re not defeated.
Like the woman who fell on her way to pick up prescriptions, not in reply to anyone’s question as they circled around her to respond in the proper way.
“I am okay.” she said to herself first and then to them and she then rose up from the floor, adjusted her purse, steadied her walk and continued toward the purpose she was there for.
Continue and believe.
Endure, even if you feel fragile.
Addendum: My Georgia friend, the one who loves so well, the one I’ve assigned the color red, mercy, let me know this morning. She held her husband closely as died in her arms. Their’s was a great love, a crazy legacy leaving love.
“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
4 thoughts on “Enduring Fragility”
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Achingly honest? My friend just messaged me. Her husband died last night.
We are not defeated and even though I feel fragile right now, in reality, I am ok.
This is beautiful, heartfelt, and real. I am weeping. Thank you for making me feel what I’m feeling. It is important to process and there are many things I haven’t yet. I’m sorry for your friend’s loss.
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Thank you for this comment. Prayers for you as this time helps us see our tender places more clearly.