SGLY: Stand by me

By Tiffany Chartier
Special to the Van Alstyne Leader

I needed a different view after a day of staring at my computer screen. Stepping outside, I felt guilty for not recognizing the beauty on the other side of the office door—the sky was bright, and the natural light made everything appear vibrant and welcoming. I could not help but want to approach the remaining hours of daylight like opening a greeting card—anticipating something wonderful.

I walked past my parked car and onto the broken sidewalk of a nearby neighborhood. I knew this area was here, but I had only given it a glance from time to time driving into town. Little did I know this walk at the end of a sunny day would reveal much more to me than the cracks in the sidewalk.

I blame the accident on my singing. I did not hear the young cyclist behind me, approaching faster than she could maneuver around me on the narrow sidewalk. As I was about to break into the chorus of "Stand By Me," the girl and her bike toppled at my feet. I tripped over the bike in an attempt not to step on the child. I landed on a tuft of grass.

I felt a hand on my shoulder followed by a question from someone who was out of breath. “Are you okay?"

"Yes," I said as I stood. I lifted the fallen bike and put it upright. I could not help but notice the training wheels.

The woman who asked me if I was okay was now on her knees beside the crying child, soothing her by her nickname.

"Let me see, Jellybean. Let me see your owie."

Sobs turned to slow tears as her mother kissed a large raspberry on her child’s knee. Soon, the child settled with a few heavy gulps of air and a stretch of hiccups.

"Let me see yours, Mama," the child said. "Where is it?" The child held out her mother's right arm, examining it before doing the same to her left. "Where is it?" she asked again, this time sounding more determined.

The mother lifted the sleeve of her knit top to reveal a scar on her upper bicep. The scar was about three inches long, uneven, and had a whitish sheen that stood out against her olive skin. It had been there a while.

The child exclaimed, "There it is!" Her voice turned tender as she looked at her mother. "It's okay, Mama. It's okay," she said over and over, hiccupping.

The child began to kiss her mother's owie.

"Thank you, Jellybean. Thank you," the mother said, hugging her daughter.

On my way back to the car I thought about the unexpectedness of the past half hour. My greeting-card walk ended up leaving me with an entirely different experience than I was anticipating. And still, it remained oddly wonderful.

I kept thinking of the song I was singing when the girl fell. "Stand By Me."

If the sky that we look upon Should tumble and fall Or the mountain should crumble to the sea

I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear Just as long as you stand, stand by me

Oh, but we do cry, don't we? And we do tumble and fall even on days when the sky is bright.

I thought about the mother who stood in love as she knelt beside her daughter. She kissed her child's wound as her daughter shed tear after tear. There was no rush to quiet the child's expression of pain. The only rush was to help her in her pain.

Jesus does the same. He meets us in our pain, hears our cries, and comforts us, whether our wounds are created by our own imbalance or the result of living in a broken world (or, sometimes, both).

The child. I thought of her as well. She turned from her suffering to love on her mother. What caught my attention the most was this child searched the skin of her mother to find her scars. Rather than kissing her mother's beautiful face, the child kissed her old, jagged scar.

Jesus does the same. He does not search to find the best looking, the exceptionally talented, or the most popular. He seeks those with training wheels—those who are willing to be dependent upon Him. He searches to find the suffering and return us to Himself: by His wounds we are healed.

"He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." (1 Peter 2:24).

Sometimes the sky that we look upon tumbles and falls, and our dreams and expectations crumble to the sea. But there is more to the song that reminds us that we are never alone:

No I won't be afraid, oh I won't be afraid Just as long as you stand, stand by me.

Thank You, Jesus, for standing by me.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.