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October 21, 2014, 12:00 AM

A Nugget From My Spiritual Journey-November 2014

I have often seen the meaning of my name, MARSHA, defined as something like “brave hearted one.” I didn’t start out in life feeling very brave, though. There probably weren’t too many little girls any more shy than I was until I was about 16 or 17. But, I had parents who encouraged me repeatedly beyond my shyness, one experience after another, one year after another. With lots of prayer and encouragement and just plain working on it, I began to learn how to live life more bravely.

In retrospect, I realize now my parents were shining examples to follow. Daddy served three years overseas in the Air Force during WWII, while Mother bravely left her Kansas farm home for business college and then lived as a single woman in Kansas City and Washington, D.C. She returned home to help run the family farm when her dad had cancer. After they married and had two young girls, they bravely moved our little family from oil field to oil field for five years, until they settled down to farm in Arkansas. There they bravely tackled the constant hardships of farming, eventually losing a home in a fire and then a farm to bankruptcy.

Their final acts of bravery are the most poignant of all to me, as I watched them live out the ends of their lives in my home and in a nursing home, both succumbing to the ravages of Alzheimer’s. Daddy bravely accepted the inevitable that they could no longer live alone, hard as that was for him. One day, as I watched Mother attempt to walk down the hallway of the nursing home following hip surgery, her head held high as her gown flapped around her thin little legs, I came to tears. The nursing staff was clapping, saying, “Come on, Bonnie, you can do it! You can do it!” Somehow that message penetrated her challenged brain and she held her head even higher, as she triumphantly made it to the end of the hallway. I stood there watching, thinking, “I have a very brave mother…” Until that moment, I had never attached that adjective to her, but I suddenly realized she had spent most of her life teaching me to be braver than I thought I was. By precept and by example. At that shining moment in her life, one of her final times to walk, I loved her more than I think I ever had before…

Thank you, Mother and Daddy, for letting your love lights of bravery shine for me…

Marsha Cook


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