Yes, Virginia, It’s Your Birthday

December 12, 2011

Today is my friend Virginia’s birthday. Virginia was born 94 years ago in 1917 on a farm in the southside region of the state for which she was named.

Virginia is strong woman who has gracefully navigated a difficult life. She told me once about how as a child she watched her mother style the hair of her two older sisters and send them off to parties that Virginia was too young to attend. Little Virginia with freckles and straight hair was jealous of her sisters’ beautiful curls, clear skin, and exciting social calendars. “Your time will come, Virginia,” her mother would reassure her. Tragically, when Virginia was only 9, her mother died in childbirth. Virginia’s voice wavered when she told me, “My time never came.” 

She grew up and married, but her husband died when she was only 24, leaving her with two youngsters to raise on her own. She never remarried—that’s 70 years as a widow. She supported herself and her sons by running a business on her farm. Those were the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, when running a business wasn’t the kind of thing women typically did. 

Today, although she can hardly hear or see, she still lives in the house where she raised her boys. She has told me several times that she built that house herself. The older son is now 73 and lives 40 miles away. He visits her periodically. The other is in Arizona and gets back to see her only once a year or so. I spend time with her when I can, but not nearly enough to knock a dent in the hours of loneliness she endures. 

This dear lady has a few things to complain about, and who wouldn’t in her situation? More often than not, though, her laughter comes easily. She enjoys a good meal. She is generous with her compliments. She likes to hear to me read from the Bible and has a few questions that she never got answered when she was younger. 

Every time I visit with her, I am blessed. I’m so glad that our local chapter of Love in the Name of Christ brought us together. I’m also grateful to know how much God cares about the welfare of all women in circumstances where living solo is difficult. Both the Old and Testaments are full of God’s admonitions for his people to care for vulnerable women. 

I’ll leave you with this one, which links compassionate living and moral living as both important to God:

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

James 1:27

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