Christian Friendship Inspirational

Linda Lou By Karen Lankford-Carnes

“Good morning, Ladies, it’s my turn to talk about a Godly woman that you have known. I wrote the whole story so I wouldn’t start crying. I think I might anyway. Grab some coffee and carbs and let’s settle in.I hope you enjoy this.” ~ If you’ve ever known someone who was so optimistic about everything. Optimistic ad nauseum, then I’ll see you and raise you my cousin Linda Lou. That was her honest to God, legal, given name. Her brother? Donnie Lee. I guess it’s a southern thing. Sure I like to see people happy, but Linda’s pollyannaish demeanor wasn’t just annoying, it made me feel guilty for feeling annoyed, and that was intolerable. Who did she think she was anyway? Linda hadn’t had an easy life. Her husband was either an undiagnosed schizophrenic or textbook narcissist. He certainly had delusions of grandeur. She never said a bad word about him. They had three children and I can’t believe that she would think his behavior would have a positive influence on them. When I was talking to her about her husband, she simply said “There are two Davids. I married them both when I married the one.” The family was concerned about David’s behavior and Linda’s safety. Once, her brother remarked “If anything happens to Linda, they’ll find David’s body buried out in the desert.” He was serious. Twice, David picked up and took off like a common hobo; staying away for months at a time. Both times I went over to console her, only to find that she was sitting on her front porch swing, enjoying a glass of iced tea. She saw me as I drove up and stood up, met me with a hug, and asked “I just made a peach pie this morning! Sit down on the swing there. It’s such a 2 beautiful day! I’ll be right out with our pie. Ice cream?” I felt deflated. I was there to make her feel better! “Linda! I’m livid about this! The way he treats you! The effect that he’s had on you and the kids!” “Well, honey,'' she drawled, '' if you notice any ‘effect’ that David has had on me or the children with his behavior, do point it out.” she winked. “Let’s talk while we eat, shall we?” Linda grinned. “We love you, and the kids, of course. It’s not right that he shrugs off his family whenever he feels like it. Then he comes running back home because he knows you’ll let him get away with it.” “We are both Christian women,” Linda began, “I don’t ‘let him’ get away with anything. He is my husband and the father of my children. Further, David knows the consequences of his actions, though maybe not as well as he thinks. Honey, it seems that his behavior is affecting you more than it is me. “I don’t get it. Isn’t it hurting you?” Linda chose her words carefully, “Hurting? No. Disappointment? Confounded? Disbelief? Absolutely.” Linda leaned in closely to whisper something to me, although there was no one else home, “Just between you and me?” “Of course”, I said. “David has just begun taking medication that may help.” Linda sounded hopeful, “The doctor thinks he may have a chemical imbalance.” Finished with our pie and heart-to-heart, I left, hoping that whatever was wrong with David would be helped by this ‘medication’ Here I thought I was doing the “Christian-thing” by visiting Linda in her hour of need, but she was ministering to me without knowing! With all of the nonsense that “Christianity” has come to represent, here was a true believer. Not long after, David drove his car into an abutment at 75 miles an hour. The coroner ruled that he had a heart attack while driving. He had no history of heart disease. Linda Lou looked beautiful at David's homegoing. At peace, as always, she whispered, “My David is finally at peace.” 3 When the children were grown and gone, starting their own families, Linda met a man whom she came to love and eventually marry and bless her with grandchildren. Since she and her new husband had moved out west, I hadn’t seen her since David’s service. Linda was the most patient, loving woman of God I have ever known. She was the very definition of grace. I was the very definition of making the same mistake over and over again. I was thinking about her one day and the phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but that happens a lot now that everybody has cell phones. “Hello? I’m sorry, whois this? Oh, hello! I really should meet you one of these days to tell the tales of your wanton wife.” It was Linda’s husband, but he called her “Lyn”. He said he wanted to talk to me, my stomach dropped. When you feel your stomach drop, it doesn’t actually feel like it drops, it feels more like it turns upside down, then inside-out until it races to your mind to tell you that something very bad, or very good, has happened. “John! John!” I was yelling into the phone, trying to get him to pick it up again. He finally did. “I’m sorry that I haven’t called you before now.” he said, “There was some confusion with the tests and…” “John, what's wrong?” “Well, uh…” “John, just tell me!” “Lyn, is very ill. Cancer. The hospital thought it was somewhere else at first, and we had hope.We didn’t tell anyone.” “Are you going to tell me?! Or am I going to hang up and call the kids to get a straight answer?” John chuckled slightly. “Lyn told me you were not to be messed with.” I felt myself smile as tears leaked from my eyes. I said “You had hope.” “It’s pancreatic, stage four.” said John. “I’ll be on the next flight out.” I said, more as a command to myself than to John. 4 Sitting next to Linda’s bed at the hospice, I didn’t know what to say, without stating the obvious. “What are you feeling about all of this?” She blew a raspberry and laughed hysterically.Her laugh was infectious and got us both into trouble in Sunday School more than once. I started laughing, too, and laughed until the truth of the matter washed over me and I

August 12, 2021 09:02

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