Karen Carter zipped through traffic while speaking to her husband of five years through her blue toothed head set. She was trying not to be tardy for her counseling session at the local branch of the Urban League. Karen was to see a mother and daughter displaced by yet another horrible hurricane that swept through the south two years prior in early September. The mother, Jackie had her daughter young and was a single parent. Mother and Daughter lived alone for years and struggled along. School, work and church were their lives, a peaceful productive existence. The Hurricane hit and they were displaced to Central Florida were Jackie met a nice man in her new church home. Jaylease was wary of the new man in her mother’s life. A good girl, she remained respectful to her elder and her mother’s relationship. That was grown folks business. Jackie was impregnated after her engagement to Ben, eight months into their relationship. Responsible and respectful Ben appeared to be until he deserted Jackie without notice or warning. Distraught with pain and distain flowing through her veins, Jackie was left with no one to turn to but her twelve year old daughter and Jesus. In a new town with no family or support, Jackie fell into a slight depression. Instead of running to the Lord, she ran away from him and deeper into herself. During a routine check up with her OB GYN she received some devastating news about her pregnancy and personal health. Tests revealed that she was in the early stages of cervical cancer and her pregnancy would have to be terminated or she might not only loose the fetus but her life as well. She underwent treatment and became more depressed. Jaylease had difficulty understanding why her mother was spending so much time in bed sleeping and crying. The child felt underappreciated, she had always been there for her mother. She needed her mother to see that all they needed was each other; she didn’t need that sorry man but he seemed to be all that she wanted. Jaylease began to see her mother as being weak; she could appreciate her mother’s illness but not her continued weakness and wanting for Ben. Jaylease’s thirteenth birthday came and Jackie pulled herself together long enough to throw the new teen a small party. The party was therapeutic for the mother; it gave her an opportunity to feel again. Her disease was caught early, treated and now manageable. Things were looking up for Jackie but damage had been done to her relationship with Jaylease. The two were back in church and Jackie began to find the good in her life and she was learning to be grateful for the suffering that brought her back to Christ.
Karen arrived five minutes before the session and when finally seated in front of mother and daughter she could clearly see the injury in their eyes. Emotionally weary yet undeterred Jackie appeared to be; she was slowly getting herself back. Jaylease projected protective strength as if she were incessantly guarding herself against world’s pains, persistent in their attempts to pierce her heart. She wouldn’t let it happen; she refused to allow it to drag her down like it had her mother. She witnessed the heroine of her life reduced to a whimpering quivering mess. Jaylease was determined to be her own superwoman now. She knew that she would never let herself down like her mother had.
“Hello Jackie, Jaylease; I’m Karen Carter. It is very good to meet the two of you.”
Jackie and Jaylease courteously returned her greeting and Jaylease even offered a small smile. Karen could see the good in them both and was looking forward to helping them with their relationship. She started the session with Karen recapping all that the two of them had been through over the past twenty-six moths. Jackie became somewhat emotional when speaking of Ben and the baby. Irritation at her mother’s feelings for the deserter covered Jaylease’s face. Karen could see that there was a lot of pain there. The child’s intense dislike for the man who came between her and her mother and then left was addressed by Karen.
“Jaylease, baby I know you have a lot of anger towards this man who left you and your mother in such bad shape but you have to let it go and get past it now. If you keep harboring this anger it will eventually eat you alive. You are a beautiful and charming young lady. Jaylease you have a lot of love to give and it’s time you let it shine through. The only way you can do that it through forgiveness, forgiveness for that man and for your mother. He missed out on a good thing. I would feel more sorry for him rather than angry at him because you are two extraordinary women. I call you a woman because you’ve had to grow up so much in these past two years but you still have more childhood to enjoy. Don’t forget that. You’re a bright young lady so I am sure you can understand what your mother has been going through to a certain extent. She was diagnosed with a very serious illness, lost her home, her man and a child. That’s a jagged pill to swallow that would tear most women up inside but here your mama is standing strong and fighting for your family. Can you appreciate how strong she had to be and that she is fighting for you everyday?”
Jaylease looked over at her mother and compassion finally shown bright in her eyes. She had never looked at it like that; her mother had been through a lot just like she had. She began to realize what she already knew. Her strength came from her mother.
“Yes, I know my mama been through a lot and so have I. We need to stick together.”
Karen smiled wide as she struggled to fight back tears.
“Well go on over there and give your mama a hug baby, tell her how much you love her.”
Jaylease leapt from her chair with tears in her eyes and a wide smile on her face. She walked over and hugged her mother tightly around the neck and shoulders then sat beside her. Jackie was already crying tears of joy; she got her baby back. Karen got up unannounced and quietly left the room as mother and daughter whispered their love to and for one another through cleansing tears. Tears that washed away all of the pain and shame and brought forth a new beginning.
We must allow those we view as our champions to have moments of weakness also. Be tolerant of their shortcomings just as they’re always tolerant of yours. Love them for their strengths as well as their vulnerabilities. There are no supermen or superwomen, only SUPER JESUS.