Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Fragile Thing

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. 
Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 
Ephesians 3:17 (NLT)

  • (of an object) easily broken or damaged, flimsy or insubstantial, easily destroyed
  • (of a person) not strong or sturdy, delicate or vulnerable
-Web definition from Google search

We are at chapel. My daughter is wearing her favorite blue dress, the one I bought her for a homecoming dance four years ago. She is excited this morning, and has been telling me about her 'friends' on the short ride over, the chaplains and their wives whose names she has learned in the past few months of attending. She tells me that Cody will be out of town, but his wife, Jenn will be there. She tells me she is a leader; she has a job. She tells me she is a good usher. 

We walk through the door into the back of the sanctuary together. We are early. I watch her look around at the people who have arrived before the service, like us. I see her eyes light up as she spots those she knows. We find a seat. Her friends are spread out, mingling and talking. They are all engaged. I sense her impatience; she wants to say 'hi.' She wants to say 'Happy Father's day'. She wants to mingle and talk.

I tell her that she can't interrupt. She needs to wait. So she sits next to me; she's smiling in anticipation. I'm proud of her; this is social maturity. She is learning. 

I see her favorite chaplain break away from his conversation. She sees him, too. I nod my ok and she jumps up to greet him. She says all the things I expect and more. She asks him if he likes her dress. She tells him her father has a cold. She tells him where we had lunch yesterday. He smiles and nods; I can see he tries very hard to understand her. From my seat, I tell him that yes, we had a great day with lunch out, and no, unfortunately my husband has a cold so will not be at chapel...I want to translate without making her think she's spoken wrong, and without him feeling like a frustrated listener.

This is a fragile thing.

The ushers are called to the front and the plates passed out. My daughter doesn't get a plate. She doesn't understand. I anticipate her confusion even before her arms raise and lower in question. Her friend of the do-you-like-my-dress conversation rescues two more offering plates from behind the pews in the front. He hands one to my daughter. I see her breath of relief. I hear her voice in my head: I am an usher. 

This is a fragile thing.

I think about the responsibility of holding someone's esteem. I think about how it must feel to realize someone has gone out of their way to see you, to speak with you, to listen to you. To be with you. How do you handle the attention? Do you watch what you say, realizing that your words are an influence? Do you want to make sure you listen well? Do you want to rescue them? Teach them? Build a relationship with them? Respect them? 

This is a fragile thing.

It is humbling. It is heavy. I think of depending on, living for, trusting. I think of parents and teachers. I think of friendships. I think of outside influences and pressure. I think of self esteem and confidence.

These are fragile things.

I think of Jesus.  I think of God.  I think of love. 

Love through Christ is not a fragile thing.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your mighty love. 
Help us to recognize our fragile things and to cover them with your strength, 
your kindness, your compassion, your righteousness.
Thank you for placing people in our lives who demonstrate how this is done.
You are amazing. 


  1. Hello, Ms. Janet!
    I know it's been awhile since you posted this, but I just wanted to say that it was so sweet. I would love to be a friend to beautiful people like your daughter, but sometimes struggle to know how. I certainly don't want to push myself on people or to make families feel like I think they need my help.
    Thank you for your honesty and for reminding us how wonderful our Father is, despite the fragility of life!
    ~For Such a Worm as I

    1. Trissy - Thank you for your kind comment. Have you considered volunteering with an organization like Special Olympics? No pushing, just a lot of athletes and families and coaches and volunteers of all kinds, all abilities, all needs -- helping each other for a common cause. You can usually find a local chapter by looking online. Sierra loved her friends from the track meets and bowling alleys - all of them! And so did I.


I know we probably haven't met in person, but I believe that the sharing of our ideas and thoughts, sometimes our hearts and souls, makes us more than strangers. I would like to say friends. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to my little space - I appreciate you.