Life is a beautiful and wonderful gift we get to unwrap every single day. From our sunrise to the setting of our sun, we get to choose how we learn, grow, love, laugh, and enjoy the time in between.
Last week I learned of the passing of two women I knew to COVID-19. One was the mother of childhood acquaintances, and the other was someone I met nine years ago.
2012 was one of those unforgettable years, and not in a good way. I was tried, tested, stretched, and shaken. Somewhere in the midst of it all, I visited a church with a friend and filled out a connect card. A few days later, one of the volunteers called to do a first-time visitor follow-up.
Her name was Janet Sisson (affectionately known as Jan), and we just clicked. Looking back now, I can’t remember how the conversation progressed from the scripted opening, but somehow it did.
This woman would become a fierce sister-warrior to me. I do not think I would have made it to the breakthrough that came in the latter part of 2012 if it had not been for her. The breakthrough had nothing to do with her. It was waiting for me on the other side of the adversity I experienced at the time. She simply came alongside me and helped me across the bridge. She stuck with me and roared with me, listened, and while I don’t remember her praying with me over the phone, I would like to believe in her private time she did.
Over time, we developed a relationship of mutual exchange, bore each other burdens, and propped the other up when the challenges of our individual lives had given us a beating.
Last Wednesday, I made two attempts to send Jan the link to my latest post; both attempts to different accounts failed. In my spirit, I knew something was wrong. In November, she reached out to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving and, at the end of the text, said, “Stay safe from this nasty virus.” A few clicks here and there confirmed what I suspected; she was no longer around to respond to messages or address me as “sweetheart” in her soothing voice.
Earlier this week, I enjoyed a much deserved day off and got to spend it at our local botanical gardens. I thoroughly enjoyed being in that space; it renewed my spirit. However, what made the experience so much more valuable was sharing it with another sister-warrior.
This warrior is just as fierce as Jan was but in a different way. Where Jan would be like Xena: Warrior Princess, this other warrior is like the Bionic Woman—quiet, unassuming, but with the inner strength to bend steel and ears tuned to the frequencies of the heart.
As I got ready to write this post, I realized how blessed my life has been by the presence and contribution of sister warriors.
From my mother and sister to my two daughters and grand-daughter and all the friends I have amassed in between, God has used them to be blankets or sandpaper, teachers, friends, prayer partners, and mentors.
And who are these warriors in my circle of life? They range in age from ninety-three to four. There are two who beat cancer, a widow who lost the fairy-tale husband, and who today is coming into her own and is conquering daunting mountains, a future prime minister, those who have endured divorce, infidelity, and losses of all kinds. Some of my warriors, like me, have suffered abuse—physical, emotional, or psychological. Some have chosen the Frank Sinatra route and hold out to do “it” their way. They stand in the face of adversity and say, “No, you won’t shake me, change me, or break me.”
Warriors on the Go!
These warriors have made my life so much more vibrant, making its fabric a patchwork of memories—joyful, gleeful, and painful—forever etched in its fibers.
While some of my warriors go as far back as childhood, others became fellow sojourners later on in life. I love and cherish them just as much.
I am proud to admit that I, too, am a fierce warrior, like a ride or die kind of warrior. I will get down in the trenches and fight alongside anyone who needs that extra support. I will stand in prayer, be the one to draft the letter or note to the bully corporation or the boyfriend who is messing around. I am that sister who will lend an ear for however long it takes to have the other person feel better and the one who will drop everything and show up when needed. I am also the one who will remain when everyone else has left. I guess you can say I am the type of friend I would like to have.
Today, women are lauded for accomplishing great things and breaking glass ceilings; kudos to them. But let us not forget that out of the spotlight, every day, women are saving each other’s life by being there, by being fully present, and supportive. And while this does not sound heroic, these invisible cape-bearers are the ones who are organically holding up the pillars of our communities.
This post is dedicated to the fierce warriors in my life—women who, through their deeds, demonstrated that love is an action word.
I want to say thank you to my sisters who, through good times and not so good times, stuck with me and by me—you who cried with me when the going got tough and celebrated with me when it produced good outcomes. You, who, through your words (harsh and gentle), made me take a look at the ugly in me and strive to perfect the beauty in me.
While I am grateful for the sister-warriors who are still around (in whatever country they call home), I would especially like to salute those who have passed on.
Jan, thank you for blessing me with a slice of your heart. While our relationship was mostly long-distance, our connection was bridged by the shared love of God in our hearts.
To the fiercest warrior I knew, my mother, Thomasine David, who I miss so very, very much. Thank you for being a living example of faith in action, love as a default, strength, grace, and the courage to stare in the face of giants and maintain your stance.
Through the greatest love of all, that of a good good Father, I have learned what real love is and what it isn’t, and I am grateful to be loved. I am always in a state of giving thanks for the significant and seemingly insignificant things in my life. I am ever so thankful to God for enriching my life with a diverse group of strong, wise, brilliant, and funny women. Women who are a little bit of this, and a little bit of that! Women who have made my life so much better by giving to me and allowing me to give back in a complete circle of love.
I love you, sisters, and I appreciate the worth in the individual and collective experiences that have shaped my beautiful life.
Thank you, sister warriors!
Cheryl David shares inspirational articles through her Brown Bread for the Soul blogs on WordPress. Have something to share? Leave a comment on the blog site, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy of Elias de Carvalho.