Just when I thought I was getting old my friend Dale brought in her snow report to our Monday morning Bible Study.
This Bible Study has become one of the highlights of my week. It's certainly the most unique one I've ever attended and I'm now convinced the only way the bible should ever be studied. Why? Because it's the most diverse group of people I've ever studied the bible with. Here in the tiny little town near our cabin in paradise there's an alcohol and drug rehab center for women. It's across the street from the First Presbyterian Church. So it was only natural when the mainline denomination gray-haired ladies wanted to invite the rehab ladies to their bible study the Presbyterian church across the street would be the host for the study. It's an interesting assortment and we all will be the first to admit it: Every Monday afternoon about six or seven "senior" women from the Baptist, Presbyterian, Disciples of Christ and the Methodist church drive in. And the eight or so young women at the rehab center across the street just walk over. Their stay at the rehab is six months so the faces in their group are constantly changing with women coming and going. But the Gray Hairs, as I call us--we are usually the same bunch.
They might not like for me to use the term "Gray Hairs" because some of these women go to great expense to be blonde or brunette. But once in a while in conversation they will give themselves away by using a phrase like "When I was in high school" and then the jig is up.
On the surface we have nothing in common with the other group of ladies. They're young; we're old. etc, etc. But as the study goes into its fourth or fifth year we are now being joined by a third group: some of the alumni from the rehab center-- women who have graduated from the program, stayed sober and now join us as mentors. I don't know if it's just God's sense of humor but among the mainline Gray Hairs we are constantly discovering that some of us have experience with drugs or alcohol ourselves. Sometimes it's our own experience and sometimes our families. So there's no "Us vs You" mentality--no, we're all equals in this study. All equally in need of Grace and individually exploring how we can grow in faith.
The only thing the Gray Hairs have over the rehab ladies is that we usually have more life's experience by sheer longevity. Each of us has her own gifts and Dale's specialty is her comforting voice when she prays. It's the most motherly and loving manner of speaking. You might even say that she prays like an angel. Lately we've laughed together more and more as we grow increasingly comfortable with each other. But never as much as Monday when Dale came in with her snow angel report.
Winnsboro got as much snow as Dallas: 12 inches. It was the largest snowfall in recent memory, maybe the largest ever. Dale's daughter in Houston called her and suggested a snow angel. So Dale and her husband took the camera outside and Dale proceeded to make a snow angel. This is one of the sad side-effects of retirement. You end up with a whole lot more time than sense. And before I report any more details I need to disclose that Dale and I are the same age and if I had attempted this myself I undoubtedly would have had the same experience.
Her first problem was how to get on the ground. I can't remember how she did it but she did.
She flapped her arms and waved her legs and I'm sure made a gorgeous snow angel. I'm sure she was quite proud of herself.
Her husband snapped pictures to send to their daughter. Then came the stark realization that she had no idea how she was going to get up.
She enlivened the story at this point by explaining the effort it took to get out of bed in the morning on a normal day. But, as anyone my age will tell you, it's a lot easier to get out of a bed that's off the ground than it is to get out of 12 inches of snow laying on the ground. But in Dale's case it was compounded by shoulder and neck injuries that only a few months ago had required shots and an assortment of medical actions.
So she started out with just trying to roll over onto her side. She tried all the techniques she has learned over the years. I should also mention this chick is an RN so she should not only know what to do but should have known better than to try this stunt to start with.
We were all in hysterics at the mental image of her attempts to just get into a position to stand up. About the time she got to the point in the story where she was on all fours I was gasping for breath, mostly because I use the same tactics myself to get off the floor. But then she got her ankle stuck in a position where she couldn't put any weight on it.
Her husband stepped in to help her but she realized he had as many muscle, nerve and bone issues as she does and they risked doing damage to him in his attempt to help her up. Plus he had just had cataract surgery. About this point in the story she pointed out that she was on a slope in the front yard and wondered why they hadn't done this in the privacy of their back yard. I'm not sure which she worried about more: being seen by the whole town lying there like a beached whale or rolling down the slope and into traffic, becoming the core of a gigantic snowball on the way down. This snow was just wet enough that she ran the risk of being encapsulated inside a ball of snow and left to wait for it to thaw in a week or so.
I can't say exactly how she managed to get on her feet. I was in tears from laughing and may have left to go get a Kleenex. Then, on their way back into the house, her husband remembered the picture of a snow angel but the impression had been destroyed by all the tromping around in getting Dale back on her feet. I imagine her daughter already knew she's an angel anyway.
Thank God for the gift of laughter and snow angels.