Our backyard spilled huge from the tiny brick house. Or so it seemed through the eyes of four year old me. These box-like structures in this modest East Texas neighborhood blended one after the other in sameness, humble but neat.
No one had wooden privacy fences to shroud their backyard business from a nosy neighbor. A chain link fence on both sides made the only property designation. With no back side to the fence, the yard flowed like a soccer field from our back door to the neighbors behind us.
Maybe my young parents and the adjoining neighbor couldn’t afford to split the cost of a back fence to separate the yards. Maybe they didn’t care back then. But it was perfect for me because my best friend lived just across the yard.
To my pretty mother who loved all things beautiful and artistic, the fence was an eyesore. First up on her list—plant flowers, tall flowers, vines, anything to cover the offensive metal wall.
So I played joyous with my friend as my mother hummed happily and lived in her own world of digging and planting.
But on that fateful day I managed to shred the peaceful spring afternoon in one fail swoop.
Events would have been less disastrous if I had run to show my Mother who was quite calm about most things. But no, I had to take my prize to my friend’s door.
Running as fast as our chubby legs could churn, we burst through the screen door. As her mother smiled at our excited voices and turned from the stove, I proudly displayed my bounty.
I had captured a squirming squeaking mouse.
Not my best idea. But how was I, a bitty girl to know? When her mother began to scream it scared me senseless, so I did what any terrified child would do,
I dropped the mouse in shock.
I’d never beheld such a sight as I gawked in frozen horror. Berserk barely skims the surface of emotions rolling over that linoleum floor. Sarah who had been so excited by our find, now squalled at the top of her lungs as her mom shrieked and clutched at her heart from atop a dinette chair.
Hearing the din, Mother threw down her gloves and sprinted to investigate. Once inside, she deciphered the problem from my stunned bewilderment and her neighbor’s precarious location. With calm collectedness, she gripped the broom baseball style, cornered the frightened mouse and swept him outside.
Other than a black leather mid-century modern sectional with tufted back and metal legs I’d love to own today, I don’t remember anything else about our two years in Longview. That was enough drama burned forever into my impressionable mind.
But that day, I learned dignity under fire from my mother. Never did she make a disparaging remark about the neighbor or the comical incident. A lovely pattern, she became my model of astuteness, and christian grace.
Proverbs 31:25-“She is clothed with strength and dignity, she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”
-Who has been a role model for you of christian grace?
-Who can you be of influence to? There is always someone watching.