The Good In The Awful

November 18, 2019
Vanessa Shepherd
Vanessa Shepherd

By Vanessa Shepherd

The weekend forecast was stormy but all weather reports pointed to there being a few hours of break in the rain for my much anticipated yard sale, so at the first sign of things subsiding (with the help of my best friend who literally had her baby the very next day) we moved everything onto the driveway awaiting the small crowd who was already waiting.

One particular woman who had to be pushing eighty and could speak not one word of English was awfully curious about everything. We figured a way to communicate through hand motions and holding up fingers to express how much I was asking and how much she was willing to pay, and through her wrinkled smirk I could tell that she had done this a few times before.

As I headed to the back of my garage to get change for another woman buying some clothes for her son, I turned around just in time to see grandma take a nasty fall. The wet cement had gotten the better of her and I rushed over to offer my help and tell her how sorry I was for her slipping. I kept talking nervously until I realized she wasn’t hearing one thing. And then it happened.

This lady casually rolled over from her back to her stomach and then STARTED RUMMAGING THROUGH THE PURSES I HAD LAID OUT ON THE GROUND like nothing had even happened. I had never seen anything like it and I am pretty sure I will never see anything like it again.

Who does that? Who falls to the ground and then proceeds to roll around a bit until finding something down there you like?

She could have wallowed in self-pity. She could have cursed up a storm. She could have done a million understandable things in reaction to her situation, but instead she kept on the hunt for something good to be found. Drawing no attention, of course, to the fact that she was now laying prostrate on my wet driveway as if it was perfectly natural for her to be down there.

This image, this woman, is a perfect depiction of the woman God was asking me to be as I walked through my brother’s passing just a year and a half ago. He would have understood if I wallowed. He would have stayed with me while I beat the ground. But what He encouraged me to do instead was to look for the good that could only be found in the darkest and lowest of places. Encouraging me that there still was good to be found even while I was hurting and broken. This is my story of grief. This is my good story.

About Vanessa…
Vanessa Shepherd is a truth-bringer, word-slinger, and self-proclaimed big dreamer. She spends most of her time and energy raising two very active boys and co-pastoring Canyon Hills: SLO church alongside her husband Rich. Since ministry, specifically discipleship, has always been near and dear to her heart - Vanessa began a decade ago with writing her way through life, loss, and the pursuit of holiness, inviting others on the journey to deep personal growth rooted in the Word.

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