Link to my appearance to announce the date and location of my Book Signing at the Galilean Christian Book Store October 11 at 1603 Boone Street, Leesville, LA from 12:00 – 3:00. Follow my blog atwww.wilmamarler.wordpress.com or purchase Asking What: No More Whys Soaring on Eagles Wings Defeating Labels, Anger and Cancer.
I thought a month ago one could not go home again. Now, after another trip to Houston and in a setting that was not one held in my memories, things were different to me. I realize that I have changed as I move through the processes of closure, some with grief, and find there is newness on the other side of the process. Galena Park High School Class Reunion, Class of 1969 – that’s right 45 years since I completed my high school education. My participation in what I consider to be a watershed event for me was in due, in part, to a renewed sense of connection with the same person who encouraged me to attend the 70th Homecoming of the FBCJC one month ago – Cheryl Ferguson Dupuy. She did not know her role in setting me on this journey, but God uses everyone who is willing, and I find that she is filled with joy, peace and laughter, one who genuinely loves. The reminder that God brings people into our lives for a purpose, for a season … is a truth for me, and this re-entrance into my life has proven to be just that. Previously when I attended two other class reunions, there was one person with whom I would comfortably interact, that person has gone home to be with the Lord. Cheryl has become that bridge for me, and she did not realize the role she was fulfilling in my life. She never left the community of our childhood, so her connections and vision of a connected life became my pathway of connection, if for only a season. Going to Houston this time was different from all the others. First, I knew she would be there, but most importantly, my husband was making this journey with me. He knew no one, except Cheryl who he met just a month ago. God had my eagle’s wings prepared for me … to carry me through the process. There were people there that I knew the names and some with only “name” references to me since my graduating class was over 300 in size. I knew Judy Kerley Myers would be there and she and I had reconnected just a few years ago via Facebook and through email. Others I had hoped would be there were not, but that is a good thing because I had to be open to what God had planned for me. The high school competition was no longer in the fore front; we were no longer trying to prove ourselves, status no longer played that large of a role in our interactions. I never thought to ask anyone what they had “accomplished” for I felt equal somehow. My classroom “buddies” were not there, I was walking among strangers yet equals. The class president was just like me, the popular ones were like the rest of us, glad that we were not the ones on the In Remembrance CD that was looped on the respectfully placed laptop. Many had survived Cancer, disease, divorce – as human as me. I never thought that would happen. I was able to sit and talk with one classmate for a couple of hours in the afternoon who has such a lovely relationship with God, Glenda Mancill Northcutt, and that really made me feel at home before the main function, and I was more at ease joining the main function because I had located someone who was not ashamed to speak of God, and another who was complimentary of my openness to talk about my journey of faith in public – saying it was refreshing to hear our open discussion of God, church, faith and family … the role of it in shaping our lives. I love to watch people, I am a behaviorist, and I observed the movements, laughter and the comfort in the group, conversations at every table, in small groups and of course, the recalling of our youthful lives. We were a graying group, a slower moving group and a grateful group, grateful that we could be where we were at that moment in time. Over 40 of our classmates have died, and whether we were the most likely to succeed, the most popular or the most intelligent, or the one who followed the rules … that was not present in this group. I found I remembered two women there very clearly, but the others were names with faces because I was not allowed to participate in events in high school if it was not with the choir or school related activity. But I learned new things about so many, just from watching them. Some were still very outgoing and demonstrated great social skills, while I would feel lost when my husband would step away to go talk with one of my classmates who was also militarily disposed, and I am grateful he found that connection. Being able to observe, to watch and to contemplate each person who held no special place, just that we had gone through a rite of passage together, completed a life activity for me because I now feel connected. I had not socially dated anyone who was there, had not shared secrets with any of them in my early life because my church friends were not there, except Cheryl Ferguson-Dupuy and Janet Warren-Williams. Hearing the laughter reminded me that there are things about youth that was such a blessing, observing the “connectedness” of the couples was refreshing, and knowing that none of us had anything to prove made the evening memorable, I heard no career talk, and the cliques of high school were gone because none of us needed to create who we were, we had all moved through that and most acutely aware of our mortality. My nervousness before hand was wasted, again God tells us to “… be anxious for nothing … (Philippians 4:6)” and at some point I will actually heed that promise. Acceptance by my peers was not needed, we all knew who we were, how we had maybe missed one target in life but had grown in our own separate journeys, just the way we are suppose to do. For sure, we all moved slower, and when we posed for the group picture, with some of us sitting on the floor to facilitate the large group, we heard pops and groans, had to have help getting up, but we were where we needed to be at that time. No one was in a hurry, guys weren’t conquering their “quests” and we ladies were not looking for “the one”, we are older and wiser, what a journey. The old tunes, the glimpses into the past, and the different setting removed the “ghosts” of high school days and opened a new doorway for me. I left happy in the moment, content with that portion of my past and glad to have had the opportunity to see our humanity, our common humanity. I did not laugh a lot in high school because I was bound by the chains of studying hard, making the grades that would please my parents and being “obedient” to authority. Those chains are now gone, I purposely let the chains fall away on Saturday night and found a common union with those very people who were kids when I was a kid – we all have been busy living – and this many years down the road, just living remains a full time job.
Being thankful for what is starting to happen with my book, Asking What: No More Why’s, feels awkward simply because celebrating my life story sounds selfish. Let me make it clear, I am very grateful for the doors that are opening because friends are working behind the scene to share the journey of growing my faith. Since last Thursday when I was able to confirm a book signing at the Galilean Christian Book Store (www.galileanbooks.com) located at 1603 Boone Street, Leesville, things have happened. KALB TV (www.kalbtv.com) has agreed to let me share my story and announce the book signing. Jambalaya will be my first stop on September 26th, second hour of the show, with Sherman Desselle. Then I will be with Mark Hamblen and Frances Yeager on October 1st, to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Lastly I will be on Mid-day again with Sherman Desselle on October 3rd. God is blessing the effort and making sure that having the faith to step and share HIS work in my life. Again Asking What: No More Why’s can be purchased at http://www.westbowpress.com from their bookstore in Hardback, paperback and eBook formats. I still remind myself that faith is a verb, and I need to practice it as well as exercise it so that it continues to grow within me.
First book signing will be October 12, 2014 at The Galilean Christian Bookstore (www.galileanbooks.com) at 1603 Boone Street, in Leesville, LA from 12 Noon until 3:00 pm. To locate the store you can turn right at the red light at Walgreens, and it is found on the right across from Lowe’s. I ask that breast cancer survivors and those touched by this disease to come by and get your copy. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the perfect time for me to share my journey of faith with others. Please tell others, and if you want to read my story of Soaring on Eagles Wings (Isaiah 40:31) defeating Labels, Anger and Cancer order your copy at http://www.westbowpress.com. God opened this door of opportunity and it is the best timing for talking about breast cancer, God knew when to bring it all together, again following HIS timeline and perfect timing instead of what I thought had to be when my book was published.
Today’s news can be very distressing, no, it is distressing! We have violence in communities that result in death, we have people fighting in airplanes for more space, the news headlines are of wars in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iran, Palestine, Gaza … you name it, there is strife, death, violence and eminent wars … all that we hear warns us of danger and sets a negative tone in which we must function. When pondering those things that are adding stress to our ability to function in calm and with an attitude of thanksgiving (1Thessalonians 5:18), I wonder how do we begin. My mind continues to go back to a well written article by a pastor in our area, Dr. Joshua Joy Dara, Sr. I love listening to his words each day on the television, they usually bring a smile to my face and certainly provide me with a moment of peace, but I find this article to really provide some answers. You see, if we know where to start in addressing a problem, something that has a negative impact on our lives, we are able to move beyond the intense fear that comes with worldwide situations, and once we think outside of the fear, we can begin to work on finding a way to be thankful for even the tough situations. Many have shared that it is a sign that the end of time is near, I know that things are deteriorating in society, but I also know that no one knows when “the end” will come. But I will agree that for me, things are difficult everywhere we look, and seeing the end of it is very worrisome, but until that time comes I have to be responsible for my choices and my actions. Yelling at the television, blaming the president, senators or representatives, or state or city officials will not change our course as a nation, but starting with ourselves we can change the negativity into a spirit of joy and thanksgiving. Sounds like my cheese slid off my cracker, but Dr. Dara spoke of unity in his article “A Call For Unity” (http://www.thetowntalk.com/story/life/2014/08/17/dara-call-unity/14177297/) in citing Philippians 2:2-4 … having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind … as a way to begin to change the outcomes we are experiencing in society today. How to start : “… by letting nothing be done through strife …” and moving forward. Our attitude and a spirit of love. So we start by loving ourselves the way that God loved us enough to create us then send His Son to die for our sins giving us eternal life, and then loving the people with whom we live … our spouses, our children and then moving to our church and our community. Blaming others does not solve any problem, we all bear some responsibility. I had a man say to me once after I had presented in a breakout session, that I must be a Baptist because I think love will fix everything. Baptist or not is not what is important, being a Christian and trying to practice love, unconditional love, is a choice, is a command, is a must in order for our churches, our communities, our society and our nation to succeed. Fear paralyzes us and freezes us in a never ending cycle that is often negative and defeating, because we are doing nothing, feeling helpless and hopeless. But taking action empowers us to effect change … even if it is one person at at time. God has assured me that I survived cancer so that I could make a difference one person at a time … that is where I need to begin, and it is how it has worked for me the twenty-two years since my life altering experience with cancer. This week on Facebook, there was this beautiful post shared over and over, so I know it must be resonating with many others in the Facebook community. I want to share it with you because it provides the scriptures to validate what we need to do to achieve the kind of love that will change our world. We watched the Ebola miracle when a doctor and a volunteer were willing to take an experimental drug so that the people in Africa may eventually be made whole. So we need the vaccine of “love” to be our miracle that will make our world whole. I want to share that post with you so that you can find the way to love, genuine, true, agape love that is our command for life and relationships.
Try to spend some time this week and choose one action to take, to practice. For me, praying without ceasing will lead us to the actions we need to take, but it will also push out the negative thought patterns and lead us to a place where we can make room for being thankful and practicing love. Thanks to the person who shared this 10 Ways to Love with us on Facebook, and I want to thank Dr. Joshua Joy Dara, Sr. for his words of wisdom.