It was Easter Sunday 1984. I stood beside Mother as the pastor prepared to dismiss the congregation but first asked us to sing a song. Mother grabbed my hand as we began to sing, and our hands swept against the full skirt of my dress. I remember the dress.
I had made it several weeks before – a spring project to occupy my mind and my time. The base of the fabric was yellow with a soft plaid of other pastels woven into the fabric. The fitted bodice had an inset yoke of a crisp white oxford material – a nice contrast to the delicate print. This same crisp white cuffed the short sleeves. The gathered full skirt fell from the white belted waist – a very slight waist – as I was at one of my lowest weights ever – 105 pounds. The low weight reflected my emotional health as well – depressed and anxious. Would I ever feel good again? How did I get to this point, and what could I possibly do to pull myself out? I was 28 years old, had an established career with a good salary, had been married for eight years, and hoped to start a family. But there I stood not knowing if I could make it through the day, let alone the next week, month, or year.
Why do I remember what I was wearing that day and so many details? Because it was a defining moment, a crossroad – a moment to which I would cling and consistently remember over the years. It was difficult, but I joined in the singing … I can face tomorrow … all fear is gone. The words stuck with me as I stepped out of church that day. One step at a time turned into one day at a time, month at a time, year at a time.
Life, indeed, continued on and so did I with a little help from others – a praying mother, a non-judging pastor, and a few friends who pointed me in the direction I already knew – one of faith and hope. A busy life of raising three sons followed the next twenty-five years. Busy is good, life went by fast, and I have many wonderful memories.
Has life been perfect? Absolutely not! Little did I know on that Easter Sunday twenty-nine years ago that I would face the challenges of raising teenagers, that two well-established corporations would leave me after devoting a decade of my life to each, that I would experience divorce after thirty years of marriage, that I would walk through a cancer shock with my athletic nineteen-year-old son, and that I would battle financial disaster in the twilight of my career – just to mention the highlights of my low-lights.
Somehow I kept walking twenty-nine years ago and am still walking today. I look back to that defining day not knowing what I would face but somehow believing I could. And what is the key? The key is in the song that I sang … because He lives.
My story probably falls somewhere middle of the road when comparing lives – fortunes and misfortunes. You, too, have a story. No matter where you fall along this road of life, if you’ve hit a bump, I can offer you the same hope I found all those years ago and again today because I know … life is worth the living one day at a time. Just keep walking. Here’s that song.
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