Friday, January 14, 2011

when you're not strong



one summer in college, i interned as a fact-checker for the in-flight magazines of several major airlines. it was my first real position, and by this i mean the first time i went shopping for "work clothes." for slacks that didn't have zippers up the pant leg. for cardigans. modest necklines. stud earrings. i felt so grown up, and though the job was only temporary, i felt part of a group for once. 


i sauntered into the building, with it's cold tile floors and gray cloth cubicles. with its veteran workers who called each other by their first names and ate out for lunch every friday at their favorite spot. i was, in a word, prepared.


however, my confidence reached a crumbling point with every phone call i had to make. as a stutterer, the phone is the bane of my existence. the bane, i tell you! and i spent all day on it. calling random sources, verifying information. i scoured the Web for all the answers i could find, but more often than not, there was no way around picking up that instrument of doom and speaking into the mouthpiece, waiting for confused silence to come wafting through the earpiece.


one afternoon was particulary hard. i home on the verge of tears. what is it about seeing your mama's face that just sucks the tears right out of whatever strong, pulled together place you were holding them? hoarding them until you were alone? at the very sight of her, i crumbled into a shaking, sobbing mess. then i turned to my sister.


"i can't do it, carly. i can't call this man."  i was supposed to contact someone in reference to a story on michael symon, the celebrity chef. and for some reason, on this particular day in july, i had reached my breaking point.


i asked my sister to call him for me. in the background, i heard mama pipe up. "courtney, don't make your sister do that...."


but she did. she didn't say anything to me, just took the paper with the number, went upstairs to the closet we shared, and called him. she ran back downstairs, told me she left him a message, and hugged me.


i had to call him back the next day. but i'll never, ever, in my entire life, not even if i live until i'm 102, forget that afternoon. the slack she picked up. the sacrifice she made so i could be comfortable, saved from my own inflictions of low confidence.
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my favorite character in the Bible is moses, because not only does his stutter endear him to my heart, but because when God asked him to go speak to His people in egypt, moses' reaction, in all its honesty and truth, mimics what my own would be. he begs the Lord to send someone else to do it instead. and who does He send? his brother aaron. he spoke to the people for and through moses, in a manner not unlike carly speaking through me.
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this evening, before eating supper with nanno and before wheel of fortune, i was watching the news. about the flood in queensland, australia. 13-year-old jordan rice, on the hood of his car, waters gathering all around him, told a man grabbing for his hand to "save my brother first." his brother and mama were saved, but he was swept away. sacrifice to the highest degree. but i bet if we could ask him, he'd simply chalk it up to brotherly love.
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and it's not just siblings. best friends. cousins. mamas and daddys. 


sacrifice doesn't always come in the form of a burning bush or a flood.


sometimes, as in my case, it's a simple act of taking upon one's shoulders a load that is simply too.much.to.bear. for someone else.


because in sharing, we lighten. and in lightening, we open up room for loving. and in loving, we start the cycle all over again.

24 comments:

Seams Inspired said...

Beautiful! There's something so precious about sisters. I'm grateful to have mine. They have picked me up off the floor of my life more than once. Thanks for sharing. Happy Friday! :o)

b. lee said...

beautiful ... "I could never love anyone as I love my sisters" ... choking up over coffee ;) happy friday * *

Ana* said...

Sibling love is truly special. My oldest sister has given me the best relationship advice, work advise, school advise. She's a wise young lady and I am more than grateful for having her in my life.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I never had a sister but I have lifelong girlfriends who are dear to me, a wonderful mother and most importantly a daughter, who now as an adult, is also my dear friend so I am lucky. Sharing to lighten to love - wonderful thoughts.

the southern hostess said...

What a beautiful love letter to your sister. So glad you shared this. I needed it today.

mskanorado said...

This is beautiful! What a lovely tribute to your sister, and story in general! I very much enjoyed reading this post! Have a lovely weekend Courtney!

grace said...

what would life be like without sisters? mine is my best friend and i'm thankful for her everyday.

Jessica said...

Growing up, I would have given anything to get rid of my siblings. Now, I love them more than anything. I can't imagine ever thinking like that again!!

Thisisme. said...

Lovely post as always. A lot of the posts that I have read today seem to be about siblings, and, once again, I have to say that I am very envious, because I was an only child, and I really do feel that I am missing out on something!

Kimbirdy said...

oh this is such a beautiful post!

becca said...

beautiful letter thanks for sharing

Baily Jones said...

So beautiful. I have a very special bond with my sister. My blog was originally (the other sister) because of rare and unique relationship. She has always been there for me. I'm glad you know this sisterly love. One can't explain it to anyone who doesn't have a sister herself.
peace&love.

pickingwildflowersblog.blogspot.com

Grace said...

my goodness how i've missed you! i have a lot of catching up to do. i haven't been reading as often as i usually do or blogging either...

i love this post. sacrifice doesn't have to be this big thing it can be a small, simple, caring act. i never leave your blog without a thought or reflecting on something. your words and experiences are truly inspiring.

I'm AE Jones said...

I have a few little tears in my eyes. This makes my heart hurt, I miss my sister so much. What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.

Amber Blue Bird said...

touching post once again. I have a younger brother and there isnt anything I wouldnt do for him...even making a phone call for him :) The love between siblings is something very special

Caroline said...

Your writing is so beautiful. I am an only child, but I like to think that I've adopted my close friends as the siblings I wasn't born with. Someday I hope to have a whole slew of babies so they'll know what it's like to experience such a bond and hopefully I'll be able to learn and experience it from the perspective of a mother.

ruthy ann said...

growing up as an only child I never had this experience with a sibling...but I love your story and it reminds me how we can put our burdens upon Christs shoulders when we find ourselves alone.

Katie said...

I am so happy that we found eachother. Thank you for your lovely comment on page. I came wrote over to see you and I truly admire you. This story gave me goosebumps. Your sister sounds amazing, and I can tell what a beautiful relationship you hold with your family. :)

xoxo
Kate

Chelsea Elizabeth. said...

This is such a beautiful sister and your sister seems so wonderful. I understand how you must have felt. I would be terrible with that kind of job.

<3Chelsea Elizabeth

Tiffany said...

What a wonderful blog! Thank you so much for your sweet comment on my own blog--so glad you are following along and so excited to follow yours!

Holly said...

I love this post. :)

Jenni Austria Germany said...

i know how you feel. when i have to make phone calls in german, i break into a nervous sweat and want to throw my phone out the window. that's so sweet of your sister.

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

It sounds like you've got a great sister there! How sad for that family!

The Hockey Wife said...

A very touching post!!! I think I will call my sister now!

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