“And because I knew you, I have been changed, For Good.”

Posted on 06/19/20 by Paulette Fewell

From Russ —

Thirty years ago, my family and I were in a time of transition and the idea of starting a pastoral care ministry to work with patients and their families in hospitals began to take shape.  After much prayer and discussion, the funds were raised to begin what is now known as Encouragement Ministries.

About 15 years later, Pat Ward joined me during her summer breaks from Otter Creek Kindergarten, and then came onboard fulltime when she retired. Anyone who knows Pat has been blessed by her.  Her sweet spirit, her visits and her notes have blessed so many people over the years, but sometimes I think we don’t really understand what an impact she has had on so many people.

Grace Moore Allen, one of our outstanding board members, wrote our newsletter this month and tells about her relationship with Pat (“Nana”) and how it has affected her life.  We invite you to read Grace’s sweet words.

From Grace —

When I was 11 years old, my mom, grandmother, aunt, cousin and I flew to Chicago to see my first Broadway show, Wicked. Wicked is the story of the happenings before the Wizard of Oz; specifically, it is the telling of why the wicked witch of the west was “wicked”.  What I didn’t know was that this trip would change my life and my view of the world. The moment I saw the James M. Nederlander Theater it was game over.  The marquee lights outside, the gold-plated ceiling inside, and the blood red stage curtains made my heart full. But then there was the show!

Transformed, my head began swimming with the most dramatic notes, love, laughter, and the color GREEN. My 11-year-old-self sat mesmerized in my velvet red seat all through the first act; I couldn’t move and I’m not sure I dared to take a breath!  I was so inspired, I was crying by intermission. As the second act began, again I sat enchanted. Before the finale, the two girls (Elphaba and Glinda), who started out as enemies in the story but have become best friends, slowly lean in to the most beautiful duet called ‘For Good’. Elphaba leads by telling Glinda,

“I’m limited, You can do all I couldn’t do, So now it’s up to you, For both of us it’s up to you.” Glinda responds by telling her these words “I’ve heard it said, That people come into our lives for a reason, Bringing something we must learn, And we are led to those that will help us most to grow, Well I don’t know if I believe that’s true, But I know I’m who I am today because I knew you.”

They go through a verse and a reprise all to come to this beautiful crescendo where they sing these words together in perfect harmony,

“Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? I do believe that I have been changed for the better, And because I knew you, I have been changed, For Good.”

 I was personally changed as I walked out of that theater that night. Not from someone I had met, but from something I had seen; Wicked laid a foundation for me that I never realized was there until many years later.

A year before this trip to Chicago, my parents announced to me that we were leaving the church in which I had grown up and were starting to attend Otter Creek Church of Christ. Obviously, as a 10-year-old I didn’t have much say in the matter so I did what any 10-year-old girl would do: I cried. But as always, the Lord was working. Otter Creek held so many people who would change me For Good. Nine years later I learned what For Good meant. Over those last nine years people had come into my life that held me up physically, mentally and emotionally as my mother battled chronic illness.

The July after I turned 19 my mom went to the hospital for stomach pain – 3 weeks later, my dad and I found ourselves sitting in a hospital room with my mom, some family and friends and my mom’s doctors. As we sat there at either side, I listened to the words that the doctors were saying, but they didn’t sink in. Later that day we walked through the tunnels of Vanderbilt Hospital with my mom in a hospital bed. As we walked, we talked to her about what was happening and if she understood; she did.

As we walked, it hit me that we were walking to her finish line. We were walking to the Round Wing, the hospice unit. All my mommy wanted to do was go home, not to our house, but home to the Lord, so we walked. Later that afternoon, Pat Ward sent me a text that said “I know I can’t always be there, but every time that I think about you and your mom I will pray and send you a GREEN heart and you’ll know that is a hug from Nana. Pat Ward and I shared a love of Wicked, a GREEN heart was the perfect symbol. I don’t remember the moment that I met Pat, but I remember when she became Nana. Five years later, my Nana Pat still sends me GREEN hearts when she thinks of me.

You never know who you are going to meet that is going to be in your life ‘For Good’.  In this time of uncertainty and fear – reach out to someone. Maybe it is someone who looks like they have it all together or maybe reach out to someone you know is struggling. All it takes is one message that says “Every time I think of you, I’m going to send you a “GREEN heart”, and that’s a hug from me.”  You can change someone ‘For Good’.

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