Thursday, January 22, 2009

Archive:Everyone Needs a Charlotte

Friday, May 26, 2006

Everyone needs a Charlotte

I have a friend named Charlotte. She is almost old enough to be my mom. She has two daughters, one in college, one just out of college and married. When Paul and I moved to Muncie, I met her and really liked her. And whenever we talked, it would be long, kind of like stream of consciousness talking, where you just jump from one subject to the next as your mind leads.

Charlotte is a very busy lady. For the two of us to match up our schedules, we usually have to plan ahead. Otherwise, it turns into the usual, "Hey, we should get a Coke sometime." And then "sometime" never comes. So, when I had Abigail and started staying at home with her, Charlotte and I decided to start hanging out at her house one afternoon a week, give or take a little for busy schedules. It is a chance for her to have baby-time, and a chance for me to soak up this oh-so-cool lady.

I guess the best way to describe Charlotte is a deep well. Spiritually, she has such an awesome personal walk with God that I draw wisdom from her whenever I talk to her. She has so much insight to things that I never think of. She helps me think about things differently...deeper. She is so...in tune with God, that it feels like she always has just the words of wisdom I need to hear. But it isn't like we sit around and talk about "spiritual" things all the time. Sometimes we do. Sometimes we talk about being a mom, a wife, the trouble with teenagers today (yes, I'm getting old enough to talk about that), Abigail's diaper rash, the rabbits who ate the tomatoes in my garden, what doctor she recommends, how to grow mint, ten ways to kill a horse (well, that was actually her husbands insight), and how we all need a good chat with a psychiatrist now and then.

And somehow she sees so much of God in all of those things.

She taught me lessons, or re-taught me things I already knew but needed to hear again. She taught the college girls in our bcm ministry to really, truly love the qualities of the man you marry because someday you will have children just like him. She taught me that marriage is hard. She taught me that, like it or not, you are marrying his whole family. So getting to know his sisters, brothers, and parents is always worthwhile. She taught me that it is important to talk to God about everything,that He cares about every little detail, from the pants you buy at the mall to the very next bite of food that enters your mouth. She taught me that if you have someone in your life that you have trouble getting along with, you need to learn how to get along with them. Because if you don’t work out your relationship with that person, and you move somewhere else, God will give you a new person exactly like the one you had trouble with before. He will continue placing that same personality type in your life until you learn to love them. She taught me to take notes on everything. From sermons to business meetings to doctor appointments, someday you will need to recall that vital information and wish you had written it down, and that often the cost of not writing it down is greater than the time it takes to write it in the first place. She taught me that you cannot change people, only God can change them. People you love will make bad choices. She taught me that when your kids are in the center of God’s will, it is the absolute safest place they can be. So when her daughter spent a summer semester in the Holy Lands, and Charlotte was asked if she was scared for her safety, she responded with true bewilderment that she should worry about her daughter when she is in the center of God’s will. She taught me that sometimes God puts us in fearful situations so we will cling to Him. And whenever I would share some story of drama to her, she would ask me the simple question over and over again, “Why do you think that is?” And it would make me pause and think about what I was supposed to be learning at that moment.
And she continues to see God in all these things.

And then she invites Paul over for dinner with us and changes the menu from enchiladas to spaghetti because Paulie doesn't like enchiladas. And we end the night with a good movie. And before you know it, I've been there nine hours. Now, that isn't a typical week, but sometimes you just need a little more Charlotte.

Then, she sent me home with a big vase of perfect peonies from her flower bed. And offers to babysit Abigail (for FREE) so Paul and I can see a movie. And she gives me a hug.

And somehow, I see the kindness of God in all these things.
And when we moved from Muncie to Marshall, Charlotte tried to think of every reason to get us to stay there. She continued to affirm the calling of God in our lives, but told us that they really needed us there. I knew us moving away was hard for our students, but I really knew it was hardest for Charlotte. But I knew that as much as she wanted us to stay, she would never stand in the way of where God was calling us to go. So she uprooted one of her peony plants and some mint to send with me, and waved goodbye.
And I still see the kindness of God in all these things.

Everyone needs a Charlotte.

1 comment:

Kylene said...

i agree, everyone does need a Charlotte... i wish i had one of my own! :)