I remember meeting Krista when she came to our high school. She was this really cool kid, from Texas, who just had a zest for life, played trombone and sang in the chorus and played softball and tennis. We got ‘tapped’ into Anchor Club together, did really silly things and some things I will likely never tell my kids I did!
Although our lives took different directions and we can go years without really connecting, we’ve stayed friends. That’s just the kind of person Krista is….
She’s a mom, a wife, a friend, and a staff writer with The Greer Citizen. And, she’s a daughter who ran a triathlon with her 70 year old mom! Read the story…and you’ll see…Love + Compassion + Wisdom….
Dear Mom and Dad:
I want to thank you for teaching me how to love by the way you picked up strays. Not motherless kittens or mutts, but people, castoffs from mainstream society.
Growing up in the home of a Baptist minister the concept is not a reach, but I want you to know I learned powerful lessons from your lead.
At 10 years old, I was on a need to know basis with the people we would house, clothe and feed. Though it disrupted the normal flow of our family life, I learned to adapt and share. That year I was in the sixth grade and we took in two separate people that showed me there is more than one way to love and it is a gift I remember with clarity 40 years later.
A young lady came to live with us that year. We shared my bedroom and I found out quickly that she didn’t like to follow house rules. She worked at a bar at night and though she was only 18, she was old enough in the early 70s to not only serve patrons, but also join them. She would ease into my full-sized bed late at night after work reeking of stale cigarettes and a smell I couldn’t name. Later, I came to realize it was the stench of a hard life.
She would eat all of our snacks. House rules: one snack per day and clean up after yourself. She ate all of our ice cream bars and left the empty boxes in place. You two didn’t like it either, but you didn’t allow us to complain. Unconditional love is what she needs right now, you said. So we loved.
The other guest taught me a different kind of love. He was a preacher on hard times and he slept on the sofa bed downstairs. Whenever I was left alone with the man, he would tell me I was pretty. It felt nice. I was still a scabby-kneed tomboy who was always picked first for kickball games and puberty was years away.
He also asked if I could keep a secret. I would tell him yes, but that my parents didn’t like secrets. Suffice it to say I didn’t keep the secret and knowing his intent, you promptly threw him out of our house.
Apologetic for reasons I couldn’t fully comprehend, you showed me a deeper side of love in that instance. You can love strays and the unlovely unconditionally, but God’s love is based in truth and light. I learned from you that love has many forms. I learned that love is strong enough to say no to evil. I learned that with love, compassion and wisdom walk hand in hand. Thank you for leading through action and for showing me a deeper love.