Friday, August 30, 2013

Unsung Heroes

I have two photos of women of faith in silver frames. One is my husband's grandmother and the other is mine. Both are standing in their tomato gardens.  Both are elderly. My husband’s grandmother is smiling in a sea of tomato plants, her hair tied in a scarf, the hem of her dress brushing her knees and her belt cinched high beneath an ample bosom. My grandmother stands in her jaunty hat, patterned shirtwaist dress and cradling heirloom tomatoes in the crook of her arm. I like to think of her family, present and future, cradled close to her heart. Her faith - their faith - in a loving God whom they served their entire lives was the soil for the seeds that produced vibrant spiritual fruit in the future. Our faith ripened on the sunny window sills of their love.

Neither of these women had easy lives, but they did not become outwardly bitter or jaded by what may have seemed to others as a God who tarried in his promises. I don't think it ever occurred to them to step away from their faith. Perhaps they were more concerned with doing their part than in whether or not God was doing His.

Both were more ‘Marthas’ than ‘Marys.’  Neither were writers, but their lives told stories in doing for others, bestowing kindness and grace and being steadfast.  If they were characters in a book, there would be no need to use the right words or actions to show their love for God.  But it would feel completely natural if they did.

They weren’t perfect – family will admit candidly – but we forgave them anyway.   Making their ways sure-footedly along shifting paths down generations of change, we admired them all the more.  They said, ‘See, it can be done.’ While life isn’t safe, it can be safely navigated.

They held us close to their hearts and sunned us in the Father’s love and were the unsung heroes who beg to be written down.  We all know people who make the difference but will never be the central focus.  Nor would they want to be.  It’s enough that the main character stands on their shoulders.

Do you know an unsung hero who deserves to be written? Who has made such an impact in your life that they could only enrich a story?  We’d love to hear.


Sharon K. Souza said...

Ah, Debbie, what a great post. My grandmother is definitely an unsung hero in my life -- though I've sung her praises forever. She pastored small churches for more than 50 years, and together with my grandfather, they walked with the Lord in a way that made me want to follow. I miss them so much, but thank the Lord often for the impact they had on my life and the legacy they left. I want to be like them to my own grandchildren.

Debbie Fuller Thomas said...

Thanks, Sharon. We have big shoes to fill.