Hopin’…

Dear Reader:

It never ceases to amaze me how one stray, idle thought can suddenly take us back in time to a person or memory long forgotten.

Freddy Jones. Freddy and his family lived at the very edge of our small neighborhood (where I lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina growing up)…apparently his house just made it into the neighborhood school attendance lines. (This caused him to always lag behind us….continuously scampering as fast as he could to try to catch up.) Freddy really was a rather peculiar little boy. He didn’t say much and when he did it was usually the same thing.

Our familiar group would be walking together to or from school each day and someone would ask another about a test we all had or, perhaps, a try-out for a sports team, or anything else looming large in a childhood’s daily itinerary….

How do you think you did on the arithmetic test today Freddy?”Do you think you passed it?” one child might inquire. And Freddy always responded the same way “Hopin’.

Then he would shrug his shoulders and that was the end of the conversation. For Freddy that answer, pretty well, summed everything up in life.

The summer I discovered we were moving back to Laurens, South Carolina (after the eighth grade) I went around to all my neighborhood friends to let them know. There was a lot of hugging, tears, and more hugging. Except when I got to Freddy’s house.

When I told him my family was moving he just stared back at me for a moment and then he stared down at his feet. I, then, told him good-bye and how I hoped he would like high school the next year and maybe we would meet again. He looked up and stared at me a moment…and then said quietly…”Hopin’.

Yesterday I came across a story by a preacher who was having a terrible day…one sad incident of which was slowly losing a friend and congregational member to cancer. He visited his friend at his home (where hospice had just arrived to begin assisting) and decided to select Psalm 42  to read:

Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” – Psalm 42:5

By the end of that day the preacher (physically, mentally, and emotionally drained) started flipping back to that Psalm and had a small epiphany. He wrote in his journal…

“The psalmist knew tears and thirst and enemies and taunting, but on that day he chose to write a song of trust that we still read thousands of years later.  On that day – a bad day, a frustrating day, a day of disappointment and discouragement – the psalmist declared defiantly, “I will yet praise God,” even before anything changed.  I will do that too.”

And then I had my own epiphany….Freddy Jones understood this concept a long time ago. No matter what the day held for him, good, bad or indifferent, he chose hope. 

So until tomorrow….Isn’t the one anchor that holds true for all the Psalmists is the word HOPE. Hope invites trust and faith to visit and stay awhile. So Freddy Jones…”Here’s “Hopin’ you have had a wonderful life.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

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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4 Responses to Hopin’…

  1. bcparkison says:

    Well…it would be a God wink if you heard from Freddy Jones.

    Like

  2. Jo Dufford says:

    The history teacher in me just had a nerve touched. If I still remember, isn’t SC’s motto Dum Spiro Spero or While I breathe, I hope. What a great motto for a state, a town, a nation or just an individual.

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Perfect! There you go….one little neuron found a connection….these days I am so happy when one still lights up…and there you are remembering our wonderful state motto: “While I breathe, I hope.”

      Like

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