Archive for the ‘Sharon's Musings’ Category

Passion Weekend took on new significance for me this year.  An April baby, I’ve always enjoyed the spring season and  all things Easter.  Occasionally my birthday even falls on one of the springtime holidays, which is especially nice.

This year my birthday coincided with Good Friday, and I felt uniquely blessed to be celebrating my life and Christ’s death simultaneously.

But on “Maundy Thursday” as the world geared up to observe the occasion of His crucifixion – the ultimate sacrifice of love – I was being admitted into the hospital for emergency gall bladder surgery.  My plans for a nice family holiday weekend got pushed aside to make way for IV antibiotics and pain meds.

Please don’t assume that I was disappointed.  In fact, quite the contrary!  I had been in pain for months and had endured multiple diagnostic procedures while waiting for someone on my healthcare team to pull the surgery trigger so that I could finally get some relief.  So my Good Friday surgery was a GREAT birthday gift because there was light at the end of a long and tiring tunnel.

As I came awake in the recovery room, a familiar smile from an old church friend I hadn’t seen in a long time welcomed me back into the land of the living.  She was on the surgical nursing team and had been watching for signs of my arousal so that she could greet me and wish me a “Happy Birthday”.  She grasped my hand and led me in our own private, Good Friday prayer to our Lord, thanking Him for a successful surgery AND for His ultimate Easter sacrifice.

It was a beautiful, touching moment… the beginning of an understanding of the deeper significance of this entire experience – including its unique and special “Passion Weekend” timing.

Later that same afternoon, my curiosity won over my squeamishness and I finally took a good, long look at the surgical incisions… four small holes in my abdomen and right side.  A flash of scripture describing Jesus’ wounded side came to mind, and I shuddered with the realization that, while my scars were meant to restore my health, His were inflicted to bring about His death.  Mine were carefully and skillfully placed by caring, trained hands – His were quickly and violently executed by an angry mob of soldiers and sinners.

In fact the only similarity between Jesus’ wounded side and mine was this: We both chose them.  I was more than happy to comply when the doctors recommended surgery, because I knew it was a means to a better end.  And, ironically, Jesus was also more than happy to comply when his Father asked him to accept the cross, because He knew it was also a means to a much better end – for all mankind.

Because He took those wounds willingly, I am born again.  Because He said “Yes” to the violent mob, I am forgiven of all my sins.  Because He died and rose again on that beautiful Easter Sunday, I can walk with Him in this life and also in the life that comes After.

Humble doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings now when I look at my surgical incisions and realize what He did for me.

Many at our church were amazed that I was able to attend the special Easter Sunday service just two days after my surgery.  I got a lot of surprised looks as friends told me how impressed they were that I was up and around so soon.

But honestly, humbly… it was the very least that I could do.  In the shadow of the Cross, knowing what He endured – willingly – I wouldn’t have missed that church service for anything!

And from now on, anytime I look down and see the fading scars of my surgical incisions I will look on them as a gift – a tangible reminder of the best Good Friday ever.


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REPRINTED in Loving Memory

Jack A. Smith – March 12, 1922 to March 29, 2011

Rest In Peace, My Amazing Pa


Written by Sharon (Smith) Tankersley for her Pa – Jack Smith
On the occasion of his 85th birthday – March 12, 2007

1. He loves my Father in Heaven.
2. His face never fails to light up when he sees me coming.
3. He would always let me sit on his lap and snuggle as a little girl – even when I was not so little anymore!
4. He knows how to make me feel special.
5. He has smiling eyes that crinkle up in the corners when he laughs.
6. He’s tall and broad and fair-haired.
7. Everyone says I look like him. I think so, too!
8. Everyone says my dad looks like him, too.
9. It feels nice to see the family resemblance – somehow it means that I automatically ‘belong.’
10. Pa helped me feel comfortable in my own skin, even when I was taller than the other girls, and gangly.
11. He made me feel beautiful – on the inside and out.
12. He’s never still for long; always busy doing something worthwhile to serve others.
13. He set an example for me of what it means to be a devoted member of a church family.
14. He loves God’s children and tries to make sure they have what they need in life.
15. He has always taken care of the elderly, including his own aging mother.
16. He told me stories from his childhood.
17. He was a really good storyteller.
18. He spent time with me out in his garden, teaching me about growing vegetables.
19. He’d let me help him pick and shell pecans, even when my little hands could barely do the job.
20. He gave my summertime babysitter – also a student in his college class – money to take me to Baskin Robbins because “I’d been a good girl that day.”

21. Sometimes he took me swimming at the beach and let me be a silly, carefree kid.
22. After swimming at the beach, he’d buy me a rainbow colored snow cone.
23. For years he drove a faded and cranky old pickup truck and I never once heard him complain about it.
24. He wears a wide-brimmed straw hat and looks like a friendly, happy scarecrow.
25. Everyone in town knows my pa and has good things to say about him.
26. He gets along well with people of all ages – small children, on up to college students and the elderly.
27. He visited many interesting places, sharing the gospel around the world.
28. He took lots of great photos of his mission trips and would show us the slides, so that it was like we were there with him on those trips.
29. He is a very brilliant and educated man, but he’s still able to explain and teach me things in a simple, easy to understand way.
30. Even though he obtained several higher degrees and traveled the world, he never forgot his roots.
31. He always remembers my birthday and sends me a card.
32. He helps me to understand my dad better.
33. He has always tried to see the other person’s point of view.
34. He has intentionally continued to learn new things, like the computer.
35. Though most folks his age don’t want anything to do with the internet, he uses email just as easily as I do.
36. It’s always easy to keep in touch with him through email.
37. Though he has strong opinions on religious and political matters, he makes an effort to understand other points of view.
38. He respects quiet, and is perfectly comfortable sitting in a room with me for a long time not saying a word.
39. Whenever we sit in silence together, we are still communicating important things like love and acceptance.

40. He loves spending time with his wife – my grandmommy.
41. He treats my grandmommy with dignity and respect.
42. He takes really good care of my grandmommy.
43. My grandmommy is his best friend, next to Jesus.
44. I love to hear him say prayers out loud.
45. He has a nice singing voice.
46. He enjoys singing praises in church.
47. He is a strong and natural leader.
48. He’s never been too shy or too selfish to share his strengths in service to God’s people.
49. He is well-thought of by those around him.
50. He has never stopped reading books.
51. Learning is a very important part of life to him.
52. He set an example to me about the value of a good education.
53. He was always proud of me when I worked hard in school.
54. He was patient with me whenever I was struggling to understand something in school.
55. He helped me understand difficult concepts I was trying to learn in school.
56. He made me feel like I was smart enough to pursue a college degree.
57. He makes me feel smart when we have intellectual conversations.
58. He always treats me with respect.
59. I know from his actions and his words that he is proud of me.
60. He has supported me through many difficult choices in my adult life.
61. He likes my husband and is respectful of him.
62. He and my grandmommy were ‘there with bells on’ for our wedding many years ago, even though it meant traveling across country.
63. I love to take out our wedding photos and see my Pa’s face there among the guests.
64. He readily accepted my husband into the family and considers him to be his grandson.
65. He has been our champion through the various educational and career choices we’ve made in our marriage.
66. He encourages me to be a strong and supportive wife.
67. He expects me to remain a committed Christian.
68. I know that he prays for us every single day.
69. He likes to hear about the various ways I serve God in my local community.
70. He gives good advice about how to handle difficult situations and people in my life.
71. He allows me to have my own opinions about anything and everything.
72. He reacts to things I say and thoughts I share as though he thinks I am the most brilliant woman in the world.
73. I feel smart when I’m with him.
74. I think he’s a very funny man, and he thinks I’m very funny, too.
75. He laughs at my jokes and teases with me.
76. I feel funny and intelligent and quick-witted when I’m with him.
77. He understands me well, and always has, without me having to do much explaining.
78. We are connected in a way that defies explanation, because we are similar in some important ways.
79. Because we are so similar, we just sort of ‘get’ each other, which somewhat mystifies those around us at times.
80. I owe much of my sense of self, my self confidence and self esteem, to the way that my Pa has always loved and accepted and appreciated me.
81. He loves me for ME, not for what I can do for him.
82. He has never failed to be a reflection to me of the constant and easy way that Christ loves me.
83. Because of his love I feel strong.
84. Because of his love I’ve been able to get a glimpse of God’s love.
85. He is my Pa, and I am his Shari – enough said!

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Gal Pals

“If friends were flowers, I’d pick you.”  This saying has meant a lot to me over the years. Growing up in a military family – then marrying a minister – means that I’ve lived many places, and I’ve had to say farewell to good friends far more often than I care to count.  Saying goodbye never gets any easier, no matter how much practice you’ve had.

I was taught early that collecting stuff isn’t what life is about, but that protecting and keeping relationships is what anchors a person to this life and also to the life that awaits us in Heaven.  I’ve been blessed with the privilege of amassing quite a “collection” of good friends throughout the country and around the world. 

Have you ever wished that you could call up all your pals from every place you’ve ever lived, worked or played and have them gather in one place for a really big reunion party?

This past November I experienced a very happy “accident”.  By planning a surprise birthday party for my husband, I was able to enjoy a rather lovely serendipity – having friends from my past and from far away gather with local friends from the present.  And it was a gift!  They all seemed to mingle well and enjoy each others’ company, which was really special to me.  Even when they started comparing notes and ganging up on me to use their collective knowledge of my idiosyncracies against me as they teased me relentlessly… It was FUN!

LaRessie, Edie and Tammy – each of you is special to me for very different reasons.  I love you all so much and had a blast sharing you with each other.  I hope and pray that we can get together again like that some day – even if it means I have to take more teasing.  You gals are class acts, each and every one of you, and I am blessed to have you in my life – whether separate or in unison.  Thank you – all three of you – for loving me these many years!

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about impressions.  This photo was taIMG_0824ken while visiting Dry Falls, NC.  I noticed that a wet leaf had fallen on the ground and stayed in one spot long enough to leave its mark.  The sun dried the leaf and the wind blew it away, so that all that was left was this impression of the leaf.  But even though the original leaf was gone, there was no mistaking that it had been there.  Its beauty and shape had left its mark as a wonderful reminder of what had been.  This made me wonder – What kind of impression is left in my wake?  After I’ve spent time in a place, do I leave behind a beautiful impression… or don’t I?   I made a promise to myself that day at Dry Falls:  I will pay attention to the impression I leave as I pass through this life.  I want my lasting mark to represent all that is beautiful and glorious and good about my Creator.         – sharon

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