Understand?

8 11 2015

        She didn’t walk through those double doors of the sanctuary; she glided.  Yes, she did. All six-foot, two inches of her atop Jimmy Choo’s that made ripping them off her slim feet and running as fast as possible cross my mind.  Immediately realizing that those triple-A-narrow, size 9 Jimmy’s, wouldn’t come close to my 8½ wide’s (curses, foiled again); I simply smiled and she smiled back.  Her blonde tresses cascaded thick and shiny just below her slim shoulders.  She had a whole, “Nicole Kidman” look, adorned with deep green eyes.

Nicole KidmanJimmy Choo pumpsThe gentleman, who I would soon find out was her husband, Richard, was also stunning.  He was a pre-meltdown ringer for Mel Gibson.  Good grief; who “are” these people?  However, there was no time to keep staring.  I’d been Steel Magnolia’d into  substituting for one of the Sunday School teachers and made a hasty exit downstairs to Children’s Church.  As it turned out, the Youth Pastor was showing the kids a film about, “Being a Good Friend.”  The other teacher’s hustled me with them to the Church kitchen for coffee and cookies.”Did you see her?”  One of the teachers, a heavy-set brunette with tiny eyes like a ferret, announced to the four of us in general.  Several nodded and rolled their eyes heavenward.

“First time this month!” A pale woman said, pinching her nonexistent brows together.

“Been spending time in Nashville,” an older woman nodded conspiratorially.  Her tone when she said “Nashville” sounded like the same tone pious folks use when saying, “Vegas” with undertones of Sodom and Gomorrah-like condemnation

I knew instantly they were talking about Ms. Jimmy Choo-shoes, since other than myself, being the only African American staff member at this all-Anglo Church; Ms. Jimmy Choo was the most noticeable person to have graced the pews in my short tenure.

“Miz “A” doesn’t know about her,” Pam, the brunette announced while tossing an inquisitive look my way.  With my permission, everyone called me “Ms. A” since I hated to hear the Southern hatchet-ing of my name.

“Oh… You haven’t met Leslie and Richard Dowd?” The older woman, Anne, asked me, leaning forward as a hush fell on the group.  “You couldn’t miss her in that red dress and high heels.”  She laughed without joy as I stuffed a chocolate chip cookie in my mouth as quickly as possible.

“Um… Uh uh…” I shook my head and lip-smiled.

“Well… “He” runs his Daddy’s big concrete company in town.  “She” doesn’t work a lick!  They have servants!  They have one son.  They have some kind of trouble with him; he’s a teenager…  and “he” never comes to Church.  Leslie drags herself in here from time to time.  She barely speaks; real snooty.” Pam filled in all the blanks as the other’s nodded.

“Oh… I think the film is finished.  I’m going to see about the children.” I replied, making a beeline for the classroom.  I could feel the hard stares on my back as I left, but knew not to turn around.

Services came to a close and everyone filed into the “Fellowship” room for the official serving of coffee and cookies.  My perch was on the opposite side of the room, far away from the devils own invention; chocolate chips.

Then it happened.  Miss Jimmy Choo’s was standing idly, right next to me.  She looked uncomfortable and pressured.  It was obvious she held her styrofoam cup of tea more or less as a prop than to quench thirst.

“Good morning, my name is…” I introduced myself to her stunned downward look.

“Oh… Good morning, I’m Leslie Dowd; nice to meet you.  Is this your first visit?” She asked, perplexed.

“No… but it’s only been about a month since I joined the staff,” I replied.

“Oh; you’re the one… you’re on staff.  Richard… that’s my husband… over there.  He’s one of the Board members and he said they’d just voted in a new staff member… a woman… Nice meeting you and… Welcome!” Leslie said with more energy and dawning recognition.

“Thank you…”  I replied.  Close-up, it was easy to see the worry lines around her eyes and mouth.  I decided to lighten up the heaviness I perceived emitting from her whole being. “Since your husband is one of the Board members that got me this gig; I guess I should cancel any plans for running off with your pretty shoes, huh?” I winked at her.  She gave up the most charming bubbles of laughter.  It was as if they had to travel a long, long way in order to surface.  However, her whole face glowed with delight and… relief?  Immediately, Richard was standing in front of us, taking in his smiling wife and looking at me as if I’d performed a magic trick or perhaps a miracle.

“And what’s going on over here?” He semi-sang, taking his wife’s be-diamond’ hand while giving me deeply, quizzical looks.  Leslie introduced us as he nodded.  It was obvious that he knew exactly who I was.   I also knew that “he” was the Board member who voted me in, but immediately had to leave town for a few weeks.  All very hush-hush stuff.  This was our first time seeing one another in person.

“….  Nice to finally meet you; your gifts are needed!” Richard said, shaking my hand firmly.  His eyes seemed to hold a question; more like an inquiry of some kind.

“Thank you… Nice to be needed,” I smiled back, trying to stay casual. In my spirit, I was “on hold.”  Something was about to happen.  This feeling was very familiar.  I knew to be still.  Let it rise.

“Darling, why don’t you two go to the office and finish your tea?” Richard prodded his wife as she seemed to immediately become aware of what he wanted.  Off we went to one of the ministry offices.  Settling down on opposite ends of the couch, we smiled at each other.  In my heart I asked her, “What do you want?” although I said, “So… Leslie, how’s it going?”

“Not very well I guess….” Leslie said.  Immediately tears sprang to her eyes as I fetched the box of tissues.  In the space of a few minutes, Leslie related that she and Richard fell in love in college.  She was born in Minnesota. Yes, she’d been Miss Minnesota and he was Captain of the college football team.  They had one son; Terry, born with severe  disabilities.  They both firmly refused to have him institutionalized.  Terry had just celebrated his twenty-first birthday.  He was wheelchair bound, incontinent and due to choking seizures that had almost taken his life many times; he was under a nurse’s care in their home round-the-clock.

Leslie herself suffered from paralyzing migraines and low-grade depression.  Richard inherited his business and wealth from his deceased parents.  Neither of them had other family.  They were passionately in love with each other and their son.  Their son’s team of Specialists were in Nashville, but they maintained residence in this small suburban town to be close to the business.  Their son would be the last Dowd to be raised on the  seventy-acre family estate.

Richard refused to allow his son to be misunderstood and ridiculed in public.  An incident of children teasing Terry when he was ten years old, fueled Richard to be adamant that Terry was not to be exposed to the cruelty of people who didn’t understand. The only outside people his son was familiar with were his medical team, the house staff and the hired body-nurse who could lift the young man whenever needed.  Few other’s knew of Terry’s existence, outside of a casual mention of them having a son. Devotion to Terry made the handsome couple secretive and reclusive.

Half a box of tissues later, Richard joined us to say that everyone had left Church and the maintenance staff seemed anxious to leave also.  “How about I treat you two ladies to lunch?” Richard asked.

After lunch at their home, I asked to meet Terry.  They looked hesitantly between one another, but I kept smiling at them.  Dismissing the nurse after brief introductions, I found myself looking at the most beautiful young man.  He reclined twisted in his wheelchair; his face making a hard left while his body contorted right.  He was neat, clean and glowing when his eyes caught sight of his parents.

With an eye-flick, I asked their permission to sit where the nurse usually sat, facing Terry’s “good side.”  Intelligent eyes scanned me before searching his parents face for an explanation.   “This is a friend of ours… Miz “A” and she wanted to visit you, son.” Richard said clearly.  I then noticed two, large hearing aids.  However, my attention was on the much-used chess board with oversized chess pieces.  I knew just enough chess moves to make a fool of myself.  I pointed to the board as Terry’s eyes followed my gesture.

“Arrg… ooo!”  Terry managed as drool was quickly mopped from his mouth by his adoring, beautiful Mother.

“Your move…” Richard interpreted for me.  I let Terry see me stare intensely at the board as I stroked my chin as if deciding which piece.  It was apparent that he and someone had been mid-game.  I chose a knight and moved it the way I’d remembered from sixth grade (… in a galaxy far, far away).  A choking, braying sound emitted from Terry immediately.  Before they could interpret his sound, I already knew that Terry was definitely laughing at me.  He made two short sounds and his Father moved Terry’s side of the board to the sounds of Terry’s approval.  Then Richard said, “Check… and mate!”

“Aw… No… no fair, Terry!  Okay – You win!  Hooray!” I said, laughing and pretend-clapping my hands along with Leslie.  Terry’s whole body moved up and down rigidly within the wheel chair while he made his laughter noises toward me.  Later, looking through his stacks of music tapes, I sang “The Farmer in the Dell” and Terry joined me.   We had a wonderful time.  Soon I asked his parents to hold hands with me as I laid hands on Terry who sat amazingly still and expectant.  I prayed and told Terry “Bye, bye” as he told me the same in his own way. His was a beautiful, bright spirit.

“Two of my loving children are the perfect pair to raise up my special creation… (Terry). His work is helping my other children understand loves many faces.  (Terry) is filled with My love.  You can trust My love…” I heard myself speak to his parents before departing their home.

This announcement, I knew, was not my own.  It was how the Lord used me in Words of Knowledge and Wisdom.  This was a Spirit message for the couple.  They soon confirmed this “knowing” – saying that this answered questions they’d had for a long time: “Why did this happen?”  As well as, “Are we being punished?”

My assignment in this Church concluded when Richard, Leslie and Terry Dowd entered the sanctuary together as a family a few weeks later.  It was now Terry, the perfect person, to minister “understanding” to this flock.

Dear Reader: Someone needed to know this message.  Always understand that ridicule of any sort (self-ridicule; ridicule of others) is a lie that attempts to hinder and mask the love, blessings and intent of God. There is no failure in God and His love for each of us will never stop.     Be Blessed!

All names changed, incident is true.

Nicole Kidman image and Jimmy Choo pump, courtesy Google Images

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