Smile, God Loves You: Two lessons

Tiffany Chartier, Special to Texoma Marketing and Media Group

I have one sibling, five years older. We are just far enough apart in age that we attended school together for only two elementary years, nothing more. But during one of those two years, a small event happened that ended up not being so small after all.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It is a time to share time. Yet, when I was in first grade, I was not old enough to share much and just big enough to get in the way.

Mom had already shooed my brother out of the kitchen, telling him to get his church clothes on for lunch. The table was set with a fall-patterned tablecloth, including the folding card table where I would sit next to my brother and my two cousins who were expected to arrive at any moment.

Unlike my brother, I had gotten dressed hours ago. I wanted to wear my outfit to bed, but Mom refused to let me sleep in my yellow dress. But today I had an occasion: Thanksgiving. I transformed from tomboy to princess with a slide of a zipper. The lemon-yellow satin felt cool upon my skin, and I remember getting goosebumps as I rubbed my palms over the white, floral lace overlay. I could not tie the waist bow in the back, so the loose ribbons tickled my calves until my grandmother pulled me aside, hugged me, and made a perfect bow. I know the bow was perfect because I ran from her arms into my parent’s bathroom and twirled in front of the large mirror until I became dizzy.

I sashayed into the kitchen, feeling as tall as the adults. Mom looked beautiful in her dress, too, even though I could tell she was stressed managing the pots and people. “Go tell your brother we’re about ready to eat,” she said. I gave her a quick nod, thankful for something to do.

I found my brother in the garage, fishing. He wore dark dress slacks and shoes; his white dress shirt draped over Dad’s workbench stool. I watched him cast his line onto the driveway, hooking fall leaves. Wanting to sift through the small pile of caught leaves amassed by his feet, I began to walk towards him.

My brother had no idea I was there.

He swept the rod back and snapped his wrist forward. The hook landed in my scalp. Feeling resistance, my brother tugged and yanked – his eyes upon the dancing leaves before him. With each pull of the line, the hook buried deeper. I was in shock, and soon lost my balance and was dragged forward.

Goosebumps of excitement turned into fright with the sight of blood upon my pretty yellow dress. My brother turned, finding me on the floor, bloody and crying. He sprinted past me and into the house, screaming for help. Our parents cut the line and took me to the emergency room. Mom instructed my brother as she was leaving, “Stay here,” putting him in the care of relatives.

Not until my brother and I were both adults did I hear the story from his perspective. As traumatic as the day was for me, my brother was also traumatized. I could see flecks of fear in his eyes - the eyes of a sixth grader - as he retold the story.

“I thought I had killed you. When it took a long time for you to come back home from the hospital, I thought the worst. You guys left me. I honestly thought I had killed you.”

I had no idea. Even as an adult, I had never considered his view. That was the first of two life lessons I have since taken to heart and practice from this experience.

First lesson: Life is more than me. I may be involved, but there is usually so much more than my microscopic view.

Second lesson: Push through. Listening to Mom recount that afternoon at the emergency room, she told me, “The doctor looked at the hook and said the best thing would be for him to push it through. I couldn’t imagine inflicting more pain on you, but we had to trust the doctor.”

I have thought about Mom’s words many times in relation to God. The best thing we can do is to push through – the diagnosis, the pain, the mess, the fear. Whatever God allows – no matter the occasion - God remains with us. We are to trust Him. We must trust Him.

As the holiday season nears, and bows are tied upon dresses and presents, may we take stock of more than just what is in the pots and pans. Take a good look at the people around us, bearing in mind that grace is needed in abundance, and there is more to a story and person than the lines we create. May we encourage one another and fortify our faith as we ask God to help push us through, knowing He is already on the other side.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.