And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
We lived in very close proximity so my observations of her are very personal. Angie was cold to the extreme. There was no real option of getting to know her beyond surface information. She was unhappy, dissatisfied with her life and it showed. Watching her I determined to be nothing like her. Where she was unapproachable, chilly and dark, I wanted to be a warm, caring and affectionate person. As a child I was none of those things. I was reluctant, shy and fearful. As I grew life experiences took me more in Angie’s direction. Don’t offer your heart, don’t show affection and by all means, never, ever let them see you cry. That seemed safe to me, smart but God had a different plan.
Throughout my life I have been surrounded by small children. Before my children came to me it was younger cousins, then nephews and nieces, after which came babysitting clients and eventually a career in education, primary school education. That is what God used to keep the soft, open, loving parts of my heart alive. Those children were the tools he used to give me the desire to be like them, open, warm, hopeful.
Over the years of knowing her I would catch glimpses or get a little information that would lead me to believe that Angie was no more content living that way than I was watching her, but there was no room for conversation. No questions or suggestions would have been tolerated. Her life, in many ways, was a no trespassing zone.
Angie has passed from this life and I still wonder why she was the way she was. Even though her actions, words and demeanor hurt me deeply I am grateful for the example she gave me, an example not to follow but one from which to learn.
In her last years we did not have contact so I have no idea what the end of her life looked like or if there was any change of heart. I hope that somewhere in her life there were moments of communion with Jesus that brought her joy. I hope that she was able to forgive those who caused her pain as I have been able to forgive her. I hope at some point she came face to face with the Truth of Jesus Christ and that that truth set her free.
I hope that someone will read this and decide that risking some hurt and humiliation but having a heart that allows Jesus free reign, is far preferable to staying safely closed and cold. That safe zone is a lie. The hurts still happen but instead of becoming learning experiences they become blocks in a wall that no one can scale.
Deuteronomy 30:19b says, “ Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Choose life, life with Jesus Christ at the center and live well.