Live Like Someone Left the Gate Open

Dear Reader:

Anne sent me this adorable picture a few days ago and it got me thinking about this line of thought: Live Like Someone Left the Gate Open.

The few times that Tigger, (John, Mandy, and Eva Cate’s little dog) has managed to get free from his back yard… it has been a wild goose chase trying to get him back in the house. The closer you get to him…the faster he runs. To Tigger it is all just a game of hide and seek…to John and Mandy –  they are in a panic that he will get hit by a car while relishing his new found freedom with total abandonment….oblivious to their pleading calls to “Come back, Come here.”  (Now they get “treats” to lure him back home and that usually works. )

As humans…aren’t we always seeking that same thrill of the moment….that precious feeling of freedom that touches us within our souls. Our country was built on people experiencing that same feeling of freedom to come and go as we please.

This feeling really “hit home” with me while talking to Dr. Beatty Monday afternoon. After she went over the preliminary reports of the visual cancer lesions she was able to get during the surgery and the probable micro-cancer cells that remain….she told me to think of this post-surgery benchmark as the start of a new life. Forget how long or short it might be…and live each day to its fullest.

She wants to see real pictures of me in a bathing suit having fun this summer with my new “patchwork” quilt chest and all. (She and Dr. Hahm have the cardboard cutout pictures of me in a bikini in front of Shem Creek Restaurant posted on their bulletin boards!) I told her that would be a hard act to follow. But seriously…what she was telling me was to “Live like someone left the gate open.”

To help me get to the “best me I can be” physically…. I saw my first physical therapist today. He decided to start working on the sciatica nerve imflammation first that has impeded my recovery period. So now I have exercises to do every day to try to get that nerve tucked back safely and securely in the muscles.

Anne wrote that she could sympathize with me over nerve imflammation problems since she had a terrible bout with shingles and thought she would lose it over the amount of pain she was experiencing. But then something remarkable happened…she remembered an old hymn and started humming and singing it. This was her “magic bullet” that gave her the strength to continue fighting this painful disease.

She then looked up the song and (like Paul Harvey) discovered that the story behind the hymn was even more interesting.


When I was suffering with the initial stages of shingles (daggers in my kidneys) I thought I was going to die of the pain.  Being the hymn-hummer that I am, the hymn It Is Well With My Soul was playing through my mind (somehow – we know how…) and I finally tuned in to it and I thought well, yes, my body is a total wreck, but my soul is doing fine, it’s probably learning something from all this pain.  I focused on my soul which of course led me to God’s grace and I was able to endure.   When I recovered I researched the song and found an amazing story – and put my pain in perspective – see attached.

It is Well with My Soul, the Song and the Story

Composer Horatio Spafford

 Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy Chicago lawyer with a thriving legal practice, a beautiful home, a wife, four daughters and a son. He was also a devout Christian and faithful student of the Scriptures. His circle of friends included Dwight L. Moody, Ira Sankey and various other well-known Christians of the day.

 At the very height of his financial and professional success, Horatio and his wife Anna suffered the tragic loss of their young son. Shortly thereafter on October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost every real estate investment that Spafford had.

 In 1873, Spafford scheduled a boat trip to Europe in order to give his wife and daughters a much needed vacation and time to recover from the tragedy. He also went to join Moody and Sankey on an evangelistic campaign in England. Spafford sent his wife and daughters ahead of him while he remained in Chicago to take care of some unexpected last minute business. Several days later he received notice that his family’s ship had encountered a collision. All four of his daughters drowned; only his wife had survived.

 With a heavy heart, Spafford boarded a boat that would take him to his grieving Anna in England. It was on this trip that he penned those now famous words, When sorrow like sea billows roll; it is well, it is well with my soul..

Philip Bliss (1838-1876), composer of many songs including Hold the Fort, Let the Lower Lights be Burning, and Jesus Loves Even Me, was so impressed with Spafford’s life and the words of his hymn that he composed a beautiful piece of music to accompany the lyrics. The song was published by Bliss and Sankey, in 1876.

For more than a century, the tragic story of one man has given hope to countless thousands who have lifted their voices to sing, It Is Well With My Soul.

Take about three minutes and look at the lyrics while listening to this beautiful hymn…then all will be “well with your soul.”

It is Well with my Soul – YouTube

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

What a great story…discovered by Anne through the pain and agony of shingles….that was no mistake I am sure!

So until tomorrow….Get out there and live life…take a “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”- go play games and be a kid again…ice cream cone and all! Let’s all get well with our souls!

“508 Tales left to Tell”

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Live Like Someone Left the Gate Open

  1. Theresa Winders says:

    That is my favorite christian song! No matter what is going on with my body, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL! I hope your soul is being blessed these days as I continuously pray for you. I hope to see you soon!

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