The Literary Corner: Renegade Writer’s Guild

Published 9:50 am Thursday, February 4, 2021

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The Best and Worst of Times

By Linda H. Barnette

When I woke up this morning, the following quote from Charles Dickens was on my mind He began his book, A Tale of Two Cities, with the following words:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light; it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair….”

This quote seems so appropriate for the present times. Obviously, the pandemic would come under the “worst of times” as both a health and an economic crisis. Not only are thousands of people ill, but large numbers have died, so this virus has changed the way we live, especially those of us who are elderly.  John and I are spending almost 100% of our time at home, only going out for necessary events, such as doctor visits, and when we venture out, we are masked. We miss going out to dinner, spending time with friends and especially family. For the first time in my almost 80 years on this earth, there was no Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration with our families.

On the other hand, now there is hope on the horizon, largely with the COVID vaccine. We got our first dose at the end of December and will get the second one this week.  In spite of the long lines and the wait, we are eternally grateful to the Davie County Health Department and all the departments of our county government who are making these events possible.  After we become immune, we can at least leave home without fear although we will obviously still wear our masks.  In addition, we have seen many businesses and other groups rise to the challenges presented, clearly thinking of the public good rather than profit.   For various reasons, we have lost some friends and gained some new ones during this strange time. Our country itself has gone through some tumultuous times, yet I feel hope for the future of our democracy.  Personally, I have developed some new hobbies, joined new online groups, read countless books, spread my wings as a writer to include some different platforms, and am working on genealogies for a few people, and looking forward to “the best of times.”  As Dr. Patterson said in his sermon this morning, it is often in silence that we get to know ourselves.

So when this epoch is over, let your light shine!!

Wind Beneath Your Wings

By Stephanie Williams Dean

“He was kind-of the ‘the wind beneath my wings,’ so to speak.”

Recently, this commonly used phrase came to mind referring to someone who had supported my goals, giving life to my inspirations. No sooner had I the thought, when the Holy Spirit brought forth additional meanings to the word “wind.”

There’s an old Bette Midler song, “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” that was the soundtrack for the movie, Beaches.

The movie theme’s about two women who meet as children. They go separate ways but remain friends throughout life’s ups and downs. In the song, the word “wind” is used metaphorically like a support or lifting agent, suggestive that friendship has lifted each woman through difficult times.

When studying God’s word, there’s much to explore in a single word.  The Hebrew word Ruach,  shortened as Ruah, is translated collectively as breath, wind, and the spirit of God – His spirit being the initiator of life – the life force breath of God, and not necessarily the Holy Spirit or the presence of His person.

This brief research into the word, Ruah, gives clarity when we view the word “wind” from a spiritual perspective. Wind is representative, as well, of the spirit, the living breath of the entire universe, and the power of the spirit in sustaining all of life.

Our true support, pillar of strength, or lifting comes from Ruah – the air, breath, spirit that’s been breathed into us. God sustains every breath we take. In redemption, we see God’s power as well in upholding and guiding His chosen ones. In the New Testament, the Greek translation for Ruah is pneuma. While the cross supported his body, before drawing a final breath,

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”  When he said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46).

Spiritually, I understand any talent I possess is God-given, whatever dream I’ve ever dreamed was God-inspired, and any achievement or success I’ve found in life has been God granted.

I’m reminded of the first stanza of an English Christian hymn I’ve always loved:

Breathe on me, Breath of God,

Fill me with life anew,

That I may love what Thou dost love,

And do what Thou wouldst do. 

Consider this the next time you feel the wind blowing against your face.

The Answer

By Kevin F. Wishon

The old caretaker trods along the dimly lit hall, slowing to read the numbers on each apartment door. Jeff, in his smart business suit, followed, taking care not to get against the dusty walls.

“Yes. This is it,” The caretaker said, knocking before opening the apartment door. “Gladis! Are you awake? Your expected company has arrived.”

“Has he paid?” asked an older female voice.

“Yes. He has paid. Hey Fella, come on in here. Meet Gladis and ask her your question. Her eyesight is a little poor, but she knows you’re here. Okay. I’ll leave you two to it.”

Before Jeff’s eyes could adjust to the bright lamps and long shadows, the caretaker had already departed, leaving Jeff staring at Gladis seated upright on a worn couch and covered in thick blankets.

Pointing to the door and referring to the caretaker, Jeff asked, “Did he tell you what my question was or reason for coming?”

Gladis smiled and pulled the outer blanket up over her shoulders. “Yes. I know. You are scared. You secretly fear that you are a failure as a business manager. You feel that your staff doesn’t respect you.” Gladis paused for a moment and then continued. “Somehow, I suspect you are correct in your fear.”

Jeff is relieved and eager for an answer to his problem. “I’m told that you see and understand these things better than any other person in this town. Please, tell me the answer.”

“The answer I have for you is this. You can’t change people that work for you with your words. Stop trying to change them and, instead, change yourself. Your change will influence people and gain their confidence better than any motivational speech.”

Jeff’s face drew back in disgust as he searched for the words he wanted to vent. “Tha- that’s your answer?”

Gladis nodded her head, and watched Jeff’s face contorted with anger.

“I can’t believe this! You must think this is a joke. I come to you with a serious problem, and this is the new age garbage you give me. I think you are a fraud. I want my money back right now.”

“You agreed to the payment if I answered your question, yes?” Gladis asked.

Jeff continued his complaining for a bit longer. “Well, fine. Give me another answer and one that is useful this time.”

“That was my answer for you. I don’t have another one for you.”

Jeff’s temper boiled over. “That’s it. I’m calling the police and pressing charges. This racket is criminal!”

Gladis stared quietly at Jeff for a moment, then calmly asked, “Are you done?”

Jeff stared at her, unsure of what to say.

Gladis continued. “You, Sir, have just spent the last three minutes trying to change me or make me do something without once seriously considering what you should do.”

Jeff stumbled back in disbelief. She wasn’t wrong.

“My answer is accurate. You want to change everyone around you to fit your desires. However, you refuse the very thought of changing anything about yourself. Until you accept this, don’t expect much to change.

Without another word, Jeff left the apartment astounded. Returning home, he finally considered the answer.


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