History and Culture are both richly influenced by the retelling of moments that are etched in our minds. Those moments that are most memorable are the ones we share in creative ways. I love retelling in songs, poems, and drawings. I choose to cultivate my brilliance of the narrative art with you, right here. Why? I am a disciple of history’s best storyteller, Jesus. He managed to attract large audiences and hold their attention just by being a great narrator. As we raise leaders today in the age of high definition and anime, we should not lose sight of the need to hold their attention and teach them lessons that they will never forget. It is my prayer that these short stories will encourage educators and parents alike to create an illustrative tale. Teach Our Children Well.
MS. ABIGAIL’S TREASURES
Every neighborhood has that one iconic figure known for wisdom and mystery. Such a person captivates the attention of their co-inhabitants. Longtime residents of civic life are those whom legends are made. Without the presence of their remarkable tales of days gone by, our living would be less interesting. Our history would be less retrievable. Our landscapes would be less colorful. A community without a sage icon of virtue is a dead community.
After the death of her husband, Ms. Abigail Arnold became an activist in the local community of St. Kitts. A lover of the scriptures and prayer, she was known to locals as “Earnest Ms. Abby”. She loved young people and often advocated on their behalf to obtain resources needed for furthering their livelihood and education. It was said that she could squeeze coins out of a fish’s mouth. She encouraged the children to learn the skill of pole fishing and fed many from impromptu “fish fry fundraisers”. She had a special place in her heart for orphans. Many children on the island lost their parents to grave diseases because they couldn’t afford treatment. Ms. Abby never met a need she wouldn’t try to help. A barren widow of thirty-two years, she never met a child she didn’t call her own. Her extended family stretched across the island.
When the neighborhood school opened for the fall session, they noticed their beloved advocate was not there. Now five years retired from teaching, she had visited the children every first day of school. The school children asked the headmaster, “where is our Abby?” The Head of School informed the students that Ms. Abby had fallen ill and she would not be able to attend school again until she regained her strength. However, it had been months since her sickness overwhelmed her and Ms. Abby did not regain her strength. The diagnosis of cancer wreaked havoc on the otherwise stoic frame of the 55-year-old woman. She had lost much weight and she was too weak to walk. The culture of the island people insisted that children care for their elderly predecessors. With no children to care for her, she had to depend on visitors to bring food and help her with her daily hygiene. The children of the parish lamented harshly when they heard the news of Ms. Abby. The oldest child in the school, Doris, cried out in a strong voice. She lifted a prayer to the Lord, “God Save Our Abby!” Doris fell to her knees before the Head of School with great tears in her eyes, “Peace to the champion of our youth. We must go to her at once. She has defended our cause many times, we must now go to defend hers. This woman of great understanding must not leave us in this manner. To abandon her now would be a considerably great dishonor. Bid us our leave of school today, Madame Headmaster. Please.”
Ms. Abby lived about six miles from the school campus and the children ranged in ages from 4-16. It would take them no less than two hours walking to arrive at the weak ambassador’s homestead. Yet, they persisted. The older ones carried younger children on their backs. Others carried water for drinking. And so they went with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts.
As they approached the outside of Ms. Abby’s dwelling, the children waved red flags of shimmery material in the air and sang, “Hosanna, praise to God for our Earnest Friend.” Ms. Abby was resting inside when a neighbor came to the door to help her to the window. When she looked to see the many children dancing and singing near her front step, she wept with joy. The front of her dress was so drenched with tears, it was as if her heart was bathing. One after the other, the children brought cards, flowers and wrapped vegetables to place in the lap of their beloved agent of compassion. There were so many gifts, they poured down the front of her skirt creating a mosaic of a cornucopia. The neighbor supported Ms. Abby’s arms as she lifted her weak hands to heaven to praise. Ms. Abby shouted, “I am not forgotten, you know me and you heard me. Lord I, gave a few fish and you returned to me treasures and offspring.”
After that day, Ms. Abby wrote letters to the Head of School daily asking her to read them to the children to report the status of her wellbeing. The parish postal carrier brought more cards to Ms. Abby during her recovery. Exactly, thirty days after the children visited Ms. Abby’s home, she regained strength to walk again. Soon after, she was able to return to the school to visit.
On the afternoon of her 57th birthday, the parish families met near the river and held a fish fry, not to raise money, but to celebrate the restoration of their beloved Ms. Abby. She was greatly restored to health and was once again pole fishing at the pier. Young Doris, age 15, approached her and gave her a high five. She placed her hands on both sides of the elder woman’s face and said, “You have taught me that we are all rich as long as we have a wealth of compassion.”
Ms. Abby tapped the young girl’s nose and said, “you bright girl, you are!” Her heart swelled as she watched her community play, eat, and dance to the music. She wouldn’t exchange this moment for anything…except maybe a plate of yellowtail snapper.
It is the holiday season and it is a festive giving season. How do your acts of giving bring treasures to you?
Share it with us in the comments.
THE ROMANCE BETWEEN FOLLOW AND LOVE
In a land far away, a young ruler named Follow was living a good life. He was popular and had great wealth. He was strong and healthy, his family and servants cared for him well. In Follow’s world, it seemed there was nothing more to want. Follow was a good son, obedient to what his parents and advisers told him to do all his life. As a young prince, he had been taught well the ways and traditions of the land. He was intelligent and had reached each milestone expected of him according to his development as a wise man. But Follow lacked one very important lesson in life. Though his family were generous people and gave to many needful projects and causes, Follow was ignorant to social activism. As the only heir to this Father’s throne, he was highly protected and confined. Some of his friends spent days on great missions and returned to the land with trophies of accomplishment and high respect for their humanitarianism. Follow longed for that level of human engagement. He prayed and asked his father to bestow on him just one opportunity to travel beyond their land to distribute unto the poor. His father saw the hunger in the young man’s eyes and could not deny him his petition and so he sent him on his quest.
For months, Follow led a life much different from the kingdom privilege that he had known. It was difficult at first to adjust to the threatening livelihood of the people in the poor country. But the more time Follow spent with them, the more he wanted to save them. And he wasn’t at all anxious to leave.
One day in the country, a young lady was working in the river to catch fish and Follow took notice of her. He laughed to himself as she fell repeatedly in the mud after dropping her slippery prey and diving to retrieve it. Fishing was hard but she seemed not to mind. She was engrossed in her day’s work. She never took notice of Follow standing nearby on the riverbank gathering reeds. Each day after, Follow returned to the same spot along the river in hopes to see her again. He gathered the nerve to ask her if she would allow him to assist her in gathering the fish. Shy and ashamed of her muddy appearance before the disguised prince, she agreed to accept his help and told him her name, Love. Many days passed that Follow met the girl on the riverbed day after day after day. She rarely said a word as he spoke of nature and how beautiful it was and how he so enjoyed the days in her country. Some days it rained and they never seemed to mind the downpour. They continued working.
One afternoon, when they were preparing to depart, Follow turned to the lady to say goodbye. He noticed her gaze as she looked toward the path home. She turned to find him staring and they stood silent hearing only the tweet of the seagulls around them. Favor reached for her face and swept the dangling, muddy strains of hair from her cheeks and tucked them gently behind her ears. He lifted her chin up to his gaze and gently whispered, “what shall a man do to spend life with you?”She looked straight into his eyes and replied, “he needs to give all of himself to LOVE.” She took his hand from her cheek and placed it on her heart and cupped it under her hand. Follow smiled and took her hand and kissed the center of her palm. Knowing his time was ending with the young lady and the people he had come to adore, he said to her, “I am going away and I am coming back to you. If you love Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because my Father is greater than I.” He left her there in the river. He knew what he needed to do.
Follow returned to his land and to his parents. The countrymen were eager to know where the young prince had been and what he had done. But Follow was eager to talk to his father. He asked for a private meeting and told him of his journey. When he finished his story of his time with the young lady, his Father had only one question. “What do you want to do son?” Follow grabbed his father’s hands and cupped them in his own. “Father,” he said, “I left my throne here in this kingdom and I found LOVE. I denied myself for LOVE. I have come to prepare a place for LOVE for where I am there she may be also.”
The young ruler’s time away was expected to mature him socially. But this was astonishing news. His Father was delighted that Follow didn’t return home disappointed and was overjoyed to hear Follow’s plans. The ruler of the land understood that Follow could never be a leader of people without first giving himself to love. Wonderful things happened in life because of Follow and Love. Follow and Love married and had Flow.
Just as the rich young ruler learned in the Biblical parable of Luke 18, Follow discovered that he left the things of the kingdom for his own sake. You leave not the things of the kingdom for kingdom’s sake, you leave your possessions for your own sake that you may possess more and life everlasting. That’s LOVE!
Following is a faith thing. Anything that requires faith, requires love to keep focus on the right things.
Follow.gif by Ben Stafford
What does love have to do with how and who you follow? Share it with us in the comments.