Monday, April 23, 2012
Chapter 7 Better Days
"Samuel, Time for School! I had no idea what time it was- the bus will be here in a few minutes! Put on your socks and shoes and I will grab your hat and coat for you." Elizabeth told her 6 year old son Samuel. "It will be here really soon? Okay Mama, I will be fast!" Samuel responded. In a matter of moments Samuel was back with his socks and sneakers on. Elizabeth helped him into his coat and handed him his bookbag. "Give me a kiss." She told him. "You wearing lipstick??" He asked. "No Buddy, no lipstick-Promise!" Elizabeth assured her son as she kissed his hair. "Let me go check" he muttered as he went to inspect the top of his head to verify no lipstick marks were left anywhere to be seen. When he was sure that he was mark free Samuel said "bye…love you Mama." "Love you too Buck. Have a good day at school!" She heard a faint "I will" as the door creaked behind him. She couldn't help but smile at her quirky son who daily had to make sure he had no mama residue. Heaven forbid she leave a mark, she thought with a smirk playing on her lips. She understood though, and would never do anything for her son to be taunted and teased at school; she had withstood her fair share at school herself and would do everything in her power to protect him from the same fate- if only he would take her word for it! Her Samuel… That boy had stolen her heart and been a healing balm to it over and over again. She opened the door and yelled from inside one more time "Bye! Love You!" She watched him turn around, smile, wave and yell back "Love You Too." She would take as many "Love You Too's" as she could get for Elizabeth knew that soon enough it wouldn't be cool for a boy to say that to his mom and she would be lucky just to hear those words inside of her home. Home…She missed that word…
She was so thankful for this large beautiful brick house her family was staying in, but it wasn't her home. It was the parsonage of the church she and her family attended weekly. Elizabeth and Bob were still amazed and in awe of the huge gift God had given their family though their church. Her family was rendered homeless from the recent floodwaters that had ripped the back foundation from her house, destroyed many of their possessions, and even robbed them of many of the things upstairs that weren't affected by floodwaters. The house was in a dangerous condition and was held up only by the back porch steps so she was forbidden by her husband to take things out of the house or else it might fall down with her in it. Her husband was brusque. That was his way. Whenever Elizabeth would plead with Bob to allow her to get more things out he would say "You are done- they are just THINGS Elizabeth. Our family being safe is what's important, do NOT go in there." She understood but she had this desperate need to save what she could. She had such a hard time leaving things there that were in fine condition. The bedrooms were full of clothes, shoes, coats, toys, dressers, mattresses, furniture and so much more that could be salvaged and used. It choked her up to think about it, but then she remembered what Samuel had said recently. She was going to the house to save as much as she possibly could in one day, for that was all Bob was allowing her due to the condition of the home and safety issues. She had asked Samuel if there was anything particular he wanted her to get out of the house for him. Without blinking Samuel responded "No Mama, there's nothing I need. The only thing that matters is we are okay and we are together. I don't want anything else." The tears freely slid from Elizabeth's eyes down her cheeks. He was her soothing balm once again. Her 6 yr old had a better grasp on what was truly important than she did. God was teaching her a lesson through the words of her child…
Elizabeth pondered how not long ago she and her husband had left the safety of her sister's home where they had been staying after living in a shelter for 3 days when a flood had put 95 percent of their town under water, to survey damages and get started cleaning/ getting out what they could fit in the back of their mini-van. Their pastor happened to be driving past and stopped when he saw Bob outside. The church family had been worried and wondering if they were okay but had no means to contact them since their landline was gone and that was the only phone number they had to reach the Browns. Bob greeted Pastor and briefed him on the condition of their home. Elizabeth came out of the house with her hands full of things to put in her van. Sweat dripped off her brow from the heat and the hard work she had been doing. As soon as she saw Pastor and her husband together talking quietly, her eyes filled with tears. She was broken and emotional from all that had happened as of late. Bob went to Elizabeth and with a crackling voice told her that Pastor offered for their family to stay at the parsonage house while they sorted things out and found another place to live. He had also offered help the next day and a trailer to get whatever they could out of the house. Bob was taken aback at the kindness. He couldn't even believe that they would do so much for a family they only had known a few months. Within moments the tumult of their world had turned itself around. God had provided a place for her children to live, people to help them work and move, when all seemed lost... Her life felt washed away but by the Grace of God the tide would change for her once again..
So here she stood, in the doorway of the house she and her family were staying in and as she looked around she reminded herself how blessed she was. There were so many people, so many families still displaced and even though her family was still technically displaced, they had a private place to live, beds for each person to sleep in each night, couches to sit on, games to play, and a kitchen to cook in. She shuddered at what may have been if God hadn't led her family's footsteps to the door of South Apalachin Baptist Church. She didn't have a clue what was going to happen about the whole house situation but she knew it would be okay. God had protected her family and provided a place for them to stay while they had no home to speak of, so even though they had gone through some serious valleys as of late, Elizabeth knew in her heart this too shall pass and things would get better, for they were better already!