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  • Kristie Sharp Williams

The Thing that is the Thing

I have been spending some time getting old posts in order by date to get a good timeline for this book I’m supposed to be writing. I try not to spend time re-reading everything just yet, but sometimes something would catch my eye. This is going to be hard. No way around it, it’s going to be hard. Reading words that I’ve written in the past, knowing what I know now, I feel like a chump. Right or wrong, that’s what it’s like to read your own words innocent of the future


I also came across some pre-cancer writings. My mother was diagnosed early in 2011 with dementia due to Alzheimer's, and I had started what I had planned to be a series of letters to myself about my journey with her for one day when I would be diagnosed. I only got one letter written. Eli was diagnosed in December 2011. I was telling Abbey about finding the letter. She asked if I really thought that I would get it, too. I said, sure, I’ve got all the health risk factors, and my mom had it, and her mom had it.

She said, “I don’t think you will. I think you’ve already had the really bad thing in your life that’s going to happen. I think you will get a break now.”

Wishful, but astute, thinking. I remember when my dad passed away in 1998 at the age of 65 due to complications to a routine surgery, I was 29 about to get engaged to Vic. I thought to myself then, this is the thing that will be the thing in my life I have to endure. Then mom was diagnosed, and I thought, ok, no, this is the thing that is the thing I have to endure. Then Eli was diagnosed, and I thought, ok, wow, surely this is the thing that is the thing I have to endure. Then Eli passed away, and I thought please, God, let this be the thing that is the thing because I cannot endure.


Endurance is active; it is not passive. Endurance is not a matter of just waiting something out. Endurance is being resourceful at finding ways to move forward for the distance. Several days ago, I received an update to Eli’s well that is in Africa. Vic and I have often thought about this well. We were so touched by the idea of it. We had been told that after the well was dug and began producing water, a church building was built nearby. A well quickly becomes a central gathering point for a village, so activity around it often grows. If I’m reading the update right, the well is located in a village of about 600 people called Ntabazinduna in the southern part of Zimbabwe in the state of Matabeleland. Over 40 people have come to know Jesus through outreach surrounding this well so far, and it has never stopped producing water. As expected, this well gives water to heal the physical bodies of these people around it and has produced living water as well. As his parents, we could have no greater hope for Eli’s legacy than this, so it is things like this that we use to endure.


———— As we strolled the campus of Mississippi State Monday, Caleb held the map. He pointed a direction for us to go, and I said, “Well, buddy, I think we probably need to go this way to get there.” He said, “Well, true, true, you CAN go that way if you want to go the long way, but I’m trying to get us there in the shortest, quickest way possible. But, it’s up to you which way you would like for us to go.”


It has been a busy last few weeks. Abbey turned 16 and got her Driver’s License. I have only ever done “Big Birthdays” on the four’s so that I would not be birthday-ed to death each year, so at 16 it was her turn. She opted out of a big party in exchange for taking her and a couple of friends to Ed Sheeran concert in Nashville on Saturday night. I did not know who he was, but he filled the stadium, and the girls seemed genuinely ecstatic along with 80,000 other people.


We left the next day for Starkville, Mississippi…. yes, on Sunday after Auburn took a whoopin’ from the Bulldogs, we went to Starkville. We made plans a good while back to go to the high school preview day at MSU on Columbus Day because the kids were out of school, but of all places to be after Saturday. And, they were still celebrating (which it is a big deal to beat Auburn, so go ahead be proud). Every session we went to the speaker found a way to work it into the presentation, and the kids would all look at me. But, seeing one of my own college buddies with her daughter there wiped my tears away. It’s been almost 30 years since I’ve seen her, and not fair, she looks basically the same, and still fun! It is a little awkward reminiscing about college days with your own college-bound daughters listening, but we got around it. I was so happy to see her, made my whole trip. We also visited the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential library housed on campus along with a multi-million dollar collection of Lincoln items.


Hg has been accepted to her four choices of colleges for next year, so she is now trying to narrow that a little further. Since she wouldn’t miss school, I agreed to take her back to get another look. They have a major there that she’s somewhat interested in (within the vastness of her interests) that she can’t get anywhere else (in our range or interest in sending her). Landscape Architecture is one of her choices, and it checks a lot of her boxes - it’s scienc-y but also creative, it’s outdoorsy and indoorsy. Downside, she would have to go as a freshman (which we have asked that if possible, we’d like for her to go her first year to a Christian school), and she would not start undeclared (which she is an undeclared kind of person). The upside and possible game-changer, is it qualifies for a common market scholarship giving her in-state tuition - I know!! We decided to make her a Venn diagram. She loves Venn diagrams to help her decide. Should just about have all the data, but we may make one more trip to Freed, and then I hope she makes a final decision by Christmas.


I’m trying to carve out time to do something I like that involves exercise, helping me get ready for Hg’s senior trip to D.C and N.Y. in November. So, I’ve been back on the golf course, but walking nine holes instead of getting a cart. I was having a rough day, not really getting a hold of any. A man who wasn’t any better than me was in a cart and still on the green when I needed to hit. I waited. He took his time. Finally, he started strolling back to his cart. I thought I’m going to go ahead. I haven’t done anything worth anything all day. Whack! It went straight for him, couldn’t believe it. I felt so bad; he waited for me to show me where it was. Ha!


We have our final car show for the foundation this Saturday, so come out if you can, and tickets for the Holiday dinner December 11 are on sale at elisblockparty.org. It’s a fun, holiday event to get together with friends, family or co-workers, or tickets make great gifts. Have a great rest of the week.