By Lorry Myers
It would happen at all the usual times; Christmas, Easter and always on my birthday. Then one day I would come home and there would be something waiting for me in the mailbox. Magically it appeared on the days when I needed it the most. When I was down and out or about to give up and give in, I would open that stamped envelope and be renewed again. I don’t know how Janice knew what I needed when I needed it, but she did.
Janice Graves was my Shepherd.
Every church has them and if they don’t, they should. Shepherds are people within the congregation who adopt others with a commitment to watch over them and let them know that they are cared about. Their job should never be taken lightly or handed over to someone who doesn’t understand what they do.
A shepherd watching over their flock.
Janice was an was expert at watching over me. A banana pie with fluffy meringue brought on a Sunday afternoon. Flowers cut from a garden or that card in the mail, chosen because of its uplifting message. My shepherd brought me casseroles and magazines and cards that she designed and printed herself.
How did Janice know that I was struggling and needed her words? How did my shepherd know that I was a lost lamb when I didn’t know it myself? And how many others did she touch with her love of giving?
Many more than just me.
Our relationship, however, started beyond the walls of the church. When I was a teenager, Janice’s family moved to Centralia where her husband, Chet, worked with my father at Panhandle Eastern Pipeline. Soon our families were together for barbecues and fish fries and company picnics. When Chet retired and the couple moved south, it was like Janice took part of me with her. I missed her smiling face and her sparkling eyes and the way she looked at me, as if she could see inside my soul. After her beloved husband passed, Janice moved back to make this town her home again.
A Shepherd returning to the fold.
For the compete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.