Story goes of a gal who moved hours away from home to go to school, an’ things mostly went well for her there, too. Course she had to work hard an’ study an’ write papers an’ all sorts of learnin’ things. But she also got to do gran’ things like sing songs around candles with her frien’s, paint majestic-lookin’ finguh paintin’s, and walk in perty woods of colourful leaves and soft green moss. She’d learnt about the workings of an airplane wing when it lifts dat big machine up in de air and de workin’s of the brain in someone whose got psycho-social disorduh. She’d learnt to sing songs in Latin an’ design a page for de yearbook dat looked mighty fine an’ how to write an’ essay that earned her an A+. She had to work, mighty hard, yesirree. She had to work mighty hard, but she was doing real fine until dat fateful week befo de Yankee Thanksgiving.
Y’ see Wednesday wasn’t all dat bad, just yer normal Wednesday with perty little spare time cuz of two hours of choir on top of de other classes. Den der was de psychology test she had to study fo’ an’ it was de highest content one yet. She studied real hard she did an’ went to bed.
Den she got up real early Thursday mornin’ an’ studied for dat test an’ dressed fo’ her day. Den she suddenly realized dat she’d forgotten all ‘bout de class prayuh meetin’ they was gonna have at seven thirty, and it was seven twenty, an’ she still needed breakfast. So, she done scurry up dose stairs to de cafeteerya and quickly gobble some breakfast,’ and she took her orange juice to the meetin.’ De meetin’ was mighty fine, an’ dey all prayed as one big happy family.
De problem was dat prayuh meetin’ was only one of six meetin’s to come dat day. Plus, she had to teach the little ones how to write der letters, take dat psychology test, and do two hours of dissecting a pig, cuttin’ it up to see all de inerestin’ things about its innards. Plus, she needed to spend a good hour entertainin’ guests in a lovely little ladies meetin.’ After dat was all over, and she was feelin’ real busy doin’ her studyin’, she jest reminded herself dat only de gray clouds got de silver linin’. Her parents were a’comin’ to visit dat night. Come dey did, and she showed them all de important parts of de school and introduced dem to lots of her frien’s.
She was perty tuckered out by den. So, she done went to bed, cuz she knew de next day would be extra busy with all de people comin’ for de open house. Friday was just a mixed up day and not at all helpful to gettin’ de homework done. Den she spent a lovely evenin’ sharin’ her talents on de stage an’ enjoyin’ everybody else’s talents an’ talkin’ with her parents an’ catching up on home news.
Saturday mornin’ her parents done take her out fo’ breakfas’. She got too much breakfas’ and her Dad didn’t get enough so she shared with him. It was just right to go around, real family like. After dey took her back to school, she done settled down to work, ‘cuz she really hadn’t got much done and der was plenty to do. She spent a couple hours plannin’ for teachin’ and fixin’ up de mistakes on her essay. Den she studied for her biology test a couple hours. Aftuh that, t’was supper time. She ate her Saturday night pizza and then settled in for studying history, Chinese dynasties and other Asian beginning’s. She jest didn’t have de time to go an’ play volleyball with her friends or sing hymns with them. After three long hours, she decided it was time to quit, jest in time for Saturday night prayuh round de fire with whoever showed up. Den she showered, chatted with the girls in de dorm and went to bed.
Sunday was a little more relaxing. She went to de Meadville Church for de firs’ service she’d ever been der with some of her student frien’s. They stayed fo’ a delicious potluck lunch. When dey got back to school, she took a nap, ‘cuz her eyelids threatened to crash on her. Den she got up an’ went for her Sunday prayer walk. Aftuh dat, it was scurry to singin’ practice, eat suppuh, listen to speeches, and have a class meetin’.
Off to bed, she rose early and studied some more biology befo’ breakfast and three classes. After de biology test was done, she studied more for de history one, ate lunch, and began to get ready for de history essay and teachin’ how to read “sh” the next day to dose little ones. History test all done, she was feelin’ a little busy, stressed, tucker out, but excited about going home for the next day. She sang in de choir, did some homework, ate supper, worked some mo’, and started gettin’ ready for bed. De air in de school had gotten drier when de maintenance man started de furnace, an’ her skin was itchin’ something fierce. She scratched her head tryin’ to decide if she should wash her hair now or in de mornin’ when she felt something wigglin’ under her fingernail. Yesirree, she felt somethin’ a-wigglin’, and she looked an’ she saw a gray bug, an’ she was almost certain what it was. She’d brought back bugs like that when she’d been cross de seas in Asia.
She got up carefully with dat bug, an’ told de Dean of Ladies what she’d found. De Dean suggested she put coconut oil on her head, an’ not say anyt’ing ‘bout it till they’d checked it out in de mornin’. So she rubbed an’ rubbed coconut oil inter her hair, an’ reminded hersel’ dat every gray cloud has a silver linin’.
Sure ‘nuf, de next mornin’ she run a comb through her hair an’ found two more bugs plus der eggs. She couldn’t find de Dean so she just tell her roomie an’ washed her hair, an’ her roomie had her dormies told by de time she was out of de showuh. (My head’s real itchy just thinkin’ ‘bout it.) All dose dormies were real sorry and sympathetic. So de girl, she dry an’ comb her hair as fast as she can so she don’t give does bugs a chance to change heads. Den she tried to get de Dean again, but she wasn’t available. Nothin’ better to do, she went up to breakfast as calm as a puddle after de storm, went up to de chapel for the meetin’, and waited fo’ de Dean to come, too.
After chapel, dey both went down to de room an’ started packing clothes in bags to get washed and heat dried or frozen fo’ a while. De Dean asked what de girl all had to do. She sed, “teachin’, walkin’, mentorin’, history essay, an’ two hours of lab befo’ I leave at three.”
An’ de Dean said, “You ain’t gonna have time to do dat history essay today. Would you like if I would talk to yer teacher an’ get an extension fo’ ye.” An’ dat girl, she started to cry. . ‘Cuz course you know dat gray clouds got silver linin’ yes, but often, dey has gotta rain first. See, de bugs dem selves, though nasty, wouldn’t have made her cry, but when one is so warn out an’ has so much to do, dey is extra terrible.
Dat girl was glad for the grace an’ dat de Dean would speak for her. De Dean left an’ de girl kept on workin’ for while ‘til suddenly, she done realize it was almos’ time to teach. So, she real quick-like got herself ready and got to de classroom an’ whispered a prayer fo’ grace, cuz she didn’t feel at all ready to teach an’ love does chillun’ like dey deserved.
Den ten minutes into teachin’ she realized dat she’d forgotten all ‘bout de video camera dat should be taping her, and she was gonna loose marks, she was. So, she taught her best, but dat gray cloud was jus’ lookin’ real heavy. “Do gray clouds Always have silver linin’?” she wondered. “Cuz, Lor’, I can’t see.”
Den she went back to her room, an’ told de Dean dat now she’d best teach again to get the video, an’ de Dean said, “No, you can’t. You is gettin’ yer wisdom teeth out durin’ break. When you gets back, you is sure ‘nuf gonna be real busy. You don’t have de heart or strength anymo’.” An’ it was hard fo’ dat girl to take, an’ de most beautiful words she had heard in a long time.
So, dat girl, she took a quick walk, an’ went to her mentoring group. She tol’ her girls how she didn’t make her sleep intention for de week cuz of dose bugs. Do you know what dey said? Dey said, “I think we is gonna give you grace. You couldn’t do anything ‘bout dat.” Well, de gray clouds leaked more rain, and dat girl, she saw a glint, a perty glint of silver. De rest of de day ain’t worth commentin’ on til late afternoon, de Dean decided she should treat her hair and kill any others of does nasty bugs.
So, de girl done start de two hour process of killin’ de bugs. Add time to wash her hair nicely, dry it, and comb it yet, an’ it took a mighty piece of time. Some of de girl’s dormies done wanna check der heads too, jest in case. When de one dormie treated her hair an started to comb, she foun’ eggs, lots of dose nits. Dat, my friens, is when de gal realized dat dis gray cloud got silver linin’. Oh, yes, it did. See if de girl hadn’t found her few bugs and eggs, den de other girl would never done realize dat she got a bigguh problem.
Dat gal, she decided to not go home but stay to help her dormie get dose ugly eggs combed out. For one of de firs’ times, dat girl done spend time with two of her dormies she didn’t often see. No one wants to see them bugs in their lives, but when ye is bent over each other’s heads, helpin’ each other out, why you jest get to know each other. Yesirree! That ye do. An’ somehow, though dat girl’s vacation was cut even shorter, she could smile mo’ easy-like, an’ somehow de surgery for her teeth didn’t look near so scary.
So, how do I know dis story? Well, cuz sure ‘nuf, dat girl was me. (I needs de practise in third-person writin’.) Why do I tell dis tale of simple life? Cuz I know dat y’all gots yer own gray clouds now and den. I’m realizin’ mo’ an’ mo’ that we needs to be honest and needy and given by turns in de fellowship of God. Sure ‘nuf, we all see gray clouds, an’ we jest can’t see the silver linin’. Fact is, we start to ask, “Does every gray cloud really have a silver linin’? Why can’t I see?”
Now,doubt, my frien’s, ain’t a new thing. Just ask Thomas. You know what he’d tell you? He’d say, “Don’t follow me. Listen to my Mastuh.”
“Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:29b