Monday, December 7, 2009

Breaking back in with a great story!

I've been gone from the blogging world way too long to try to update what all has happened so I am starting from today. And, the story I am about to tell you something that has recently happened to me that has changed mine and many others lives, I pray it might have the same impact on yours.

Background: About ten years ago, I went to Mom and Dad's house for the weekend, in Lineville, where they had just moved and Dad had just started preaching full time. This congregation is small (about 75 members at the time) and Dad did the bulletin by himself on this OLD rinky dink copy machine with articles he had written and little poems, says, stories, ect. in it. Well, there was an anonymous poem in the bulletin on this particular Sunday that REALLY moved me. I cut it out and put it in my Bible. Well, a year or so later, I was writing a sympathy card. Those of you who know me well know that I AM NOT a wordsmith AT ALL. I ALWAYS manage to say the wrong thing and ESPECIALLY when I am uncomfortable (and who isn't when talking to someone who has recently lost a loved one). So, I thought of this poem I had that (and still read quite often) and thought about how it made me feel and I just made a copy and stuck it in the card. WOW! The response I received! She wrote me a letter back telling me how much it had meant to her. I had stumbled on to something here! So, I made a bunch of copies and started sending it with every sympathy card I sent out.

Fast forward about 7 years: Now, I am working at Montgomery 911 and this lady that I work with, her mother died suddenly. So, I gave her a card and put the poem in there. She came to me, days later, and told me that the poem meant SO much to her. She read it at the funeral, made copies and gave it to her family, and said she was having to read it everyday along wither her Bible, just to get through. Well, a few weeks later, her sister died suddenly and within a month of that, her aunt died. After she came back from her Aunt's funeral, she came to me and said that she had read it at all three funerals and had passed out over 1,000 copies and just wanted to reiterate how much it had meant to her and her family.

About 3 weeks ago: Obviously, being in the line of work we are, we are part of true tragedies almost daily. However, we are taught (to survive) we have to leave the situation when we hang up the phone. As cold as it sounds, this is the only way to do this line of work very long. If you get invested in every emotional call, you couldn't last a year. The best thing (I have found) that I can do for a caller is get them the help that they need as quickly and as professionally as I can. Then I always say a prayer for them and the people responding to each call. Then I HAVE to forget it and move on to do the same for the next caller. It is hard to do at first but, it does get easier. That's not to say, however, that some aren't easier to forget than others. Children calls are ALWAYS hard and hard to forget. Well about three weeks ago, we had a 13 year old from one of the private schools here in town, and a pretty prominent, well to do family here in town, hang himself. I can't tell you how glad I am that I didn't take the call from his mother that morning (she found him after my shift got off). Well, he used to have ties to Faulkner through our athletic trainers (he used to be their boss) and Ashley, our football trainer and a family friend of theirs, came in one morning and told me that she just had to tell me about something that had happened at their congregation the night before.

Here is (paraphrased) what she told me: Cole Ellis's (the little boy who committed suicide) mom and dad had come to speak and give their "testimony". His mom told her account of something that had taken place at the viewing. She said that a lady had come up and was hugging her and she figured she was a friend of Mike's (her husband) because she had never seen her before. She pulled back and said, "You don't know me, but I am the 911 operator who took your call." She then told her a little about some of the tragedies that had happened in her own life, and then handed her something. She said, "This is something a co-worker gave me during my difficult times and it was the only thing that truly helped. I read it every day for over a year and still look at it regularly. It helped me so much and I think it will help you too. Don't read it now, wait until you have a quiet moment alone and then read it." She said that later she did have some alone time and pulled it out to read it. Ashley then began to tell me what she could remember of the poem and I couldn't believe it! It was the poem I had given Liz years ago! It just happened that Liz was the one who took the call and went to the viewing and gave her the poem! Then, it had moved Ashley (and evidently most everyone who was there that night) so much that she couldn't wait to share it with me! Talk about going full circle!

Last Wednesday: Well, of course, I have LOVED this story and have shared it many times! Well, I was in a meeting with a supplier (for Faulkner football merchandise) and I started to tell her the story. Well, she started crying (happens a lot though when I tell the story) and she informed me, that the Ellis's were their families best friends and Cole and her son had been best friends! She said (and I will never forget), "Laurie, that poem changed their lives." WOW!

OK, now rewind to the Sunday after Thanksgiving: A friend of mine that was in my Delta pledge class in 1998 and her husband and 2 year old daughter were traveling home from the Montgomery area back to their home (in between Athens and Atlanta). They were near LaGrange when some one, driving WAY TOO FAST, ran up behind them, hit them, and smashed them into the vehicle in front of them. Brian (her husband) was knocked unconscious, Kristy was also but also had a punctured lung, broken clavicle, a broken shoulder, and 4 broken vertebrae, Helen (their daughter) was killed on impact. Brian, who became conscious at the scene, was rushed to the hospital in LaGrange while Kristy, still unconscious, was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center. Iwill blog more about this later, but I wanted you to know why I was writing another sympathy card.

This past Friday: I was trying to find the impossible words to say to my friend who was laying, paralyzed, in a icu unit and had just found out that her only baby, who was to turn 3 on the 23rd of this month, had died. I was sitting in Louise's office and she was helping me come up with what to write. There was one of Faulkner's dorm mother's also sitting in there and she said, I know the perfect thing you should put in there! Me and Louise looked at each other and Louise said, "We know exactly what you are going to say!" (she is a member at the same congregation Ashley is) She later told us she thought "No she doesn't!" And, of course, we did! She told us that she had been so moved by it that she had tried to find it on the Internet and had found out that it was on the memorial stone at the Oklahoma City bombing site! So, now I have sent it on to Brian and Kristy and I can only pray that it brings them just a little comfort to their unimaginable pain.

I really, really wanted to share this with you all because we most all have experienced the loss of a loved on and it is very easy to recall the terrible pain that inflicts.

Before you ask, I pasted it below :)

I said, "God, I hurt." And God said, "I know."

I said, "God, I'm so depressed." And God said, "That's why I gave you sunshine."
I said, "God, life is so hard." And God said, "That's why I gave you loved ones."

I said, "God my loved one died." And God said, "So did mine."
I said, "God, it's such a loss." And God said, "I saw mine nailed to a cross."

I said, "God, your Son still lives." And God said, "So does your loved one."

I said, "God, it still hurts." And God said, "I know."

(on the original copy I had Psalm 121 is quoted right beneath it.)