Today is only the seventh first-day-of-school that I’ve missed. You may know that six years ago, my husband and I decided our son needed me to “watch herd” over his education a little more closely, like, full time. The first person I told that I wasn’t returning to school in the fall was Dana. I had taught her boys, and I guess I was practicing telling people. Why Dana I can only understand now.
And while I don’t yet tell this story eloquently, it’s important just the same.
In a matter of a few weeks, Dana offered me the chance to write “an article a month,” and thrilled, I remember thinking, too, It’ll pay my cellphone bill. I’d never been without a full-time teaching job (except for two summer months a lifetime ago). I was nervous about “being at home.”
The rest of that chapter, they say, is history. I nagged my way into this editor position by offering to do more, more, more. I love it. But that’s not why I’m telling this now.
I tell this story regularly about how Dana was a true blessing to me, that this job found me, after a selfless—and faithful—decision Lee and I had made. A real leap of faith. I tell it to inspire women who feel trapped or lost in jobs or situations, to offer hope and support.
Fast forward to last December. I attended the funeral of someone very important in my younger life. There, an old friend told me that someone I’d worked with all those years ago had a son with leukemia for the second time. I had lost all contact with this person but went right to Facebook when I got home and found Michelle Griffith, now Michelle Love.
Michelle and I had both worked at Alexander’s Office Systems in Charlotte when I was just out of college (it was Al’s funeral I attended). Michelle was probably the only one of us who should have actually been employed—the Grady family was looking out for me, and I knew it—Michelle was actually good at sales. We cold-called for copy-machine toner sales. Whew! I couldn’t wait to get my first teaching job!
As many of you know, Michelle was headlong with her son, BJ, in a serious battle (Cure for BJ Round 2). This sweet young man passed away in March this year. Shortly after, Michelle’s daughter, Carly was nominated and selected as a 2016 LKNW Amazing Girl.
This May photo shoot was the first time I’d seen Michelle since BJ’s visitation. And while Chelsea was off taking those fantastic photos that she does, I had a chance to talk privately with Michelle. She told me of an exciting writing project she was contemplating and asked me if I’d be interested in looking at it. I had goosebumps. Goosebumps of honor. She confided that she wasn’t sure, understandably, how she was going to get back to work and back to her “new normal,” without her boy—or even if she wanted to. I could offer nothing helpful. My heart broke again right along side her.
It’s funny how this works. For quite a while, I’d been bogged down, thinking I wasn’t doing much good for anyone. I think we all go through this from time to time; but I was constantly in search of how I could really be a blessing to someone else. And I like it when a story has some parallels—that’s when I know it’s right. I was still looking for that feeling of This is it.
A few weeks later, while looking at Carly’s article in the June issue, it hit me. I texted Michelle to ask if she were interested in writing “an article a month,” that perhaps it could grow into something more. I also wrote that if she weren’t ready that it was ok—I’d be here when she was, but that this opportunity may give her a tiny something to look forward to—and the ability to pay a bill or two. Just like Dana did for me. Six years earlier—in June.
You may have noticed that Michelle has been a contributing writer for us for a few months now. She’s on the team; she is part of the LKNW family.
I asked Michelle if I could share this God moment with you. And here I thought the story was powerful before last December. And it was. But until God’s timing, I couldn’t know how He would work through me, to be a blessing for someone else, just that He would. And what a blessing to me!