It takes a village to raise a child. Usually when we hear this saying there’s a lot of head nodding and “uh hums”, but beyond that, there’s not always much action that follows. However, that isn’t always the case.
As a divorced mother of three, years ago I made the wise choice to move back to my childhood hometown. I needed to be around people who loved and cared about me. Period.
One of the benefits of moving back home is that I was back in the company of people who knew me, loved me, and looked out for me. As an added benefit, all of that care and attention extended to my children. As a result, I had, and still have, a village.
However, we recently lost a vital member of our village, an elder, if you will, and the effects of that loss are deeply felt. You see, this elder (we’ll call him “Mr. L”), wasn’t some old person who was out of touch, judgmental, mean, or a recluse. He was beloved in the community, respected in the church, and trusted by me and my children. The trust part was very important.
When my daughter was in the seventh grade, she would often catch her school bus in front of Mr. L’s house (that’s where she met up with her friends). One particular morning, she “remembered” she needed something signed for school. She saw Mr. L outside and she asked him to sign her form. And he did! No questions asked!
Now, I’m pretty sure my daughter was trying to pull a fast one and Mr. L eventually came to the same conclusion. When he told me about, he felt bad because he had no idea what he’d signed but he trusted that my daughter wouldn’t lead him down the wrong path (he clearly had forgotten how the mind of a thirteen-year-old works). But, no harm, no foul and yes, we all laughed about it later.
On another occasion, my son who was about twelve at the time, had lost his key and couldn’t get in the house after school. I was still at work, and he didn’t have a cell phone at the time. My son went to Mr. L’s house and asked if he could hang out there until I got home from work. Mr. L and his wife were delighted and flattered that my son came to them. They gave him a snack (full blown meal), let him watch whatever he wanted on TV, and I’m pretty sure no one mentioned homework. Of course, my son loved it because he didn’t have to share anything with his siblings.
When I found out what happened, I realized how blessed me and my children really were. There was always someone to step in when I couldn’t be there for my kids or when I needed help or encouragement. And it wasn’t just signing school forms or a place to hang out after school. It was way more than that, more than I can express in this post. I’ll just say this, there are people who come into our lives and leave a lasting impression. They are bigger than life and their light is so bright that even after they're gone, there's still a faint glow.
Mr. L, you were that person. Rest well.