Monday, March 16, 2015

There’s nothing like hanging out with a band of angels to chase the blues away…

God paved a path for me when He knew the course I needed to follow. This was evident as I traveled from Mason to Abilene, Texas.

Since my last blog entry, I continued to feel a bit down in the dumps since returning from Argentina. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the why, but knew the discontent continued to hover over me. 

Friday, as I set out on my trek to West Texas, I felt a bit lighter. I had spent the previous two nights in the hill country with the merry widows, plus a few. We drew our newest member, my precious Midland friend, Debbie into our inner circle. If you remember from a previous blog entry, Debbie’s sweet Sam passed away in January. Spring Break had arrived and we all felt the need to have some Debbie time.  We laughed, cried, and shared precious memories. We ate, drank wine, sang, danced and left feeling a little lighter, more joyful after this time together. Angels dressed as dear friends-a sure bet for shaking the blues.

I found myself Abilene bound after learning the sad news that my dear college roommate, Joni’s, beloved brother, Lane Frizzell had passed away. Lane, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s seven years ago. Hearing of Joni’s loss I was on my way,  I wanted to be no where else, but by her side.

In Abilene, I found myself in the midst of a bevy, a herd…what do I call it? A host? No, rather a band of Heaven’s finest angels. Joni’s precious family was such a gift to me. Oh, sure they were grieving, sad beyond words, but underlying their sorrow was the amazing love of one of God’s finest families. 

Joni and I were as close as two friends could be all through college. I knew her family well. Lane and his, then girlfriend Holly (who became his wife of 40 something years) were at Tech with Joni and me. Lane was this super cool big brother. He was knock your socks off good looking. He had these huge water, blue eyes, he played the guitar and sang, he was laid back and always happy. Lane was an earthy kind of guy…a true 1970’s hippie. Lane was exotic, he traveled all over South America, before that was considered acceptable. He and Holly were everything our little circle of friends wasn’t. We were the little sisters, the sorority girls…and Lane was simply…cool.

Joni’s parents would visit. They were the fun parents. Seeing Joni’s mother again, I reminded her of the silly things we all did together. Pat, Joni’s mom, nodded, smiled and threw back her head laughed at my memory, but, sadly, it was only my memory. Pat, is also a victim of dementia. While her little mind is failing her, her delight and joy in life continues to flow from every pore of her being.

As I sat back and watched Pat’s joy, and I witnessed Joni’s entire family love and dote on this little 80+ year old matriarch. I realized that I was truly in the midst of angels, Pat, the Gabriel of them all! You see, amidst the grief that Joni’s dad, brother, husband, children and their mates were all experiencing, there was  evidence of  incredible love, support and joy that each of them had for one another. 

Pat might have been a bit confused about whose home she was in, even though it was her own. She might have been told several times that her son had just passed away, but her response wasn’t sadness, only remarks about what a good boy he is, or how she loves to hear him play the guitar and sing. There was no sadness, only joy in the life she shared with her youngest son. 

1. Joni, Lane's grandson Quintin with Jack   2. Pat enjoying "Milkshakin' Mama   3. Dear Holly

Lane was a musician. He had a band that performed regularly, and music was a huge part of who he was. This past Friday evening the family and out of town friends gathered. Joni’s son put together a slide show of family photos with Lane’s music playing in the background. I knew I wittnessed a band of Heaven’s finest angels, as I watched all the females of the family stand to sing Lane’s rendition of “Milkshakin’ Mama.”  I scanned the room, watching all the female family members rockin’ & rollin’, singing their hearts out, my eyes found Pat. She sat at a table beside her husband of 60 some odd years, her eyes closed, her head held skyward, she sang with all her might. She remembered every word of “Milkshakin’ Mama." I knew, by the smile on her angelic face, she sang in perfect harmony with her precious Lane. I left the gathering that night, thankful, full of joy and grateful that I had been witness to part of God’s finest band of angels.

God wasn’t quite through paving my path, I suppose He knew I needed a little more angelic hostly proclamations before I headed back to San Antonio. God does these things when I least expect them- quite amazing!

I made plans to have lunch with a dear friend of mine. Dee Hamilton, had been in our Bible Study for years before moving back hone, to Abilene.  Dee is one Godly woman, an angel if ever there was one. Another 80+ year young woman, Dee’s life has not been easy. She has outlived a husband, two sons and a beloved daughter-in-law. Dee fought breast cancer once and is in the midst of the battle again.

I am not alone when I say that I have learned from this amazing woman,how to endure, how to pray, how to have faith in the darkest of times, and how to have a sense of humor through it all. Dee would spout pearls of wisdom that caused all of us to crack up. After the laugher died, I left feeling a bit more capable having been in her presence. She reminded me of a few of her favorite pearls as we ate lunch in her kitchen Saturday afternoon. 

“You can lead a guitar to water, but you can’t tuna fish.”

“Sometimes we’re the dog and sometimes we’re the hydrant.”

“You can sit on a mountaintop, but you can’t sit on a tack.”

And perhaps the wisest…”You can’t explain to someone who hasn’t ever.”

Dee suffered and fought mightily this go round with cancer; she was really put through the wringer.   I left her home to go straight to Lane’s funeral service and my heart was full. I knew I had spent time with one of God’s favorite angels, and I was a little better because of my time with her. God took great care to pave my path back home.

Darling Dee...her first selfie ever!

I enjoyed the last few days with a herd, a bevy…no, a host, a band of God’s greatest angels. Perhaps they were his favorite. My heart is full, my cup is overflows and I possess gratitude, thankfulness and amazement in a God who takes care of our most infinitesimal needs.

I believe God puts us in places where He knows we can be touched. I believe God uses each of us to be his hands, his feet, his angels, to touch the life of others. I am blessed to have recognized the angels God allowed me to see this past week. My blues have turned into glorified joy as I have been entertained by angels unaware.

For what it’s worth,

Hebrews 13:2 “ Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”