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The Open Window

Posted by Lorraine Serra on June 19, 2013 at 11:45 AM

My younger sister, Teresa, and I, spent the summer of 1966 with our Aunt Bea and Uncle Don.  Actually, they were my mother’s first cousins, and were already senior citizens when we arrived.


Mom had been hospitalized in a mental facility and my three other younger sisters went to stay with different relatives while dad sorted out what was to become of all of us.


So, at 12 years old, I became keenly aware of the uncertainty of life.  How in the world did the rug get pulled out from under us?  We were such a normal family, and we did normal family stuff!    How could something so unexpected come out of left field and overtake us?


Here we were, about a 40 minute drive away from home, with some relatives who were pretty nice, but, heck, we weren’t at home!   I was always wondering how mom and dad were doing.  I worried about my other sisters.  I feared we would never all get back together again.

Whether you are 12 or 30 or 76, not one of us is immune to the uncertainties of life.  Have you encountered illness in your family?  Job loss?  Sudden breakdown in relationships?  Betrayal?  Death of a loved one? What do you do when everything seems to be out of your hands?  Cry?  Pray?  Bear up? Put up?


My Aunt Bea was a very religious person.  She had statues in her house of Jesus and the Virgin Mary.  They were pretty.  She prayed a rosary every day.  I had been told that she and Don had never been able to have children.  My 12 year old mind didn’t understand all about that, but, I thought it was sad. 


No wonder they had always been so happy to see us when our family visited…..our entire family.  No wonder they were happy to help in our time of need.  Aunt Bea was sweet to us, and Uncle Don was fun to be with when he got home from work.  


Aunt Bea suffered with rheumatoid arthritis.  Her hands were showing the signs of the crippling disease, and she walked slowly.  I cringed whenever she went up and down the stairs in their two-story home.

 
Still, she was light hearted, smiled all the time, and thanked the Lord for everything. She would often murmur, "Jesus, help me, have mercy.  You are my strength."


That was new to me.  Of course, I knew about Jesus.  But, Aunt Bea seemed to really talk to Jesus. And He seemed to really hear her!   She was a living example to me…..God seemed to be giving her strength to bear up in her suffering.


One day, when the chains of boredom were about to strangle me for good, Aunt Bea offered to introduce me to a teenage girl across the street.  She was willing to hang out with me a bit.  Hooray!  I loved Aunt Bea and Uncle Don, but, really, it was time for younger companionship, someone besides my little sister.


The day I met Cathy changed my life.  She was 16 years old and very sweet.  She showed me her guitar.


When God closes a door, He opens a window, right?  Or perhaps, as scripture says in Genesis 50 verse 20: "Though you meant this for evil, God has meant it for good."  Hope was renewed in my soul.  There might be something good in the middle of this pain after all.  That summer, I learned my first few guitar chords, and a new force overwhelmed my soul.  


Suddenly, I was learning to play Dylan and the Beatles.  Yeah, Mozart and Beethoven were all great on piano.  But, this was so contemporary, so rock and roll!  And, so portable!!


The guitar was my open window.  It represented freedom, release, new horizons…  God’s surprising gift assured me that His eye was still on me and my family. 


But, this was only the first window the Lord opened for me.  What was to take place next would shape my entire future.   For today, I hope you will be further encouraged by this meditation I wrote about God's promise to uphold those who fall, and lift up all who are bowed down.


Your comments are welcome!  God bless you.




Categories: Real Answers For Life

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