To me, Steel Magnolias is an endearing story about a Southern community in Louisiana (my native land) and their tragedies and triumph. My Church is a lot like an endearing Southern community that celebrates our tragedies and triumphs.
Steel Magnolias and my Church are something special. Because to this Southern girl, I really would "rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special."
Sunday morning as we bustled into the foyer of our church on a cold Winter morn, I gave a familiar hug to one of my girlfriends. We asked their family over for Sunday lunch soon. Our children have grown up together since first grade. Already, we've shared 30 minutes of wonderful and what seems like a lifetime of wonderful together with our families.
So, it sort of shocked me when she said, I have something to tell you. "I have a diagnosis." Um, I was not ready for this. She wasn't either. She is young and healthy and strong. We've shared some mountains and valleys. That's the thing about life, the mountains and valleys keep coming. We hugged. I told her she was 'young and healthy and strong." And she walked into the Choir room.
Within minutes, a little shellshocked, I was sitting in the sanctuary on the second row and the Choir preceded in, the prelude began. We sang.
I could have missed it.
There she was in the Choir singing as usual. Except that day, I noticed she sang with courage and faith. Hope. I remembered just moments ago she told me she has a diagnosis. We're not sure. Life kept moving. My mind raced. Can we just stop a minute. I remembered our boys in first grade. Church Awanas. Easter Egg Hunting. Baptism. Laughter and Tears. Life goes on.
Right there, it became clear to me that The Church Is Like Steel Magnolias.
Sitting in Church that morning I had those emotions from Steel Magnolias.... "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." "I'd rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a life time of nothing special." "I just like the idea of growing old with somebody." "Smile, it increases your face value." "Pink is my signature color." My girlfriends at Church, we've seen all these emotions together.
How The Church Is Like Steel Magnolias
1) We're Strong - "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." Steel Magnolias is like my girlfriends at Church, we may be laughing or crying but we're there for each other through the ups and downs. There may be - there will be - laughter through tears.
2) We Love All of our People No Matter What - life is a lot like the Wedding in Steel Magnolias. The whole town came together to help with the Wedding. To celebrate and make it happen. The Church is like this. My girlfriends and I do this. We make the casseroles, bake the cakes and pick each other up. "If you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me," said Jesus.
3) We're Not Perfect - "If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me." Bwahaha This always makes me laugh. However, to me it is a reminder that we are not perfect. We support one another even in our weaknesses.
4) God, Food and Love Make the World Better. We know this. We couldn't do without loving God, good food and sharing lots of that love. We couldn't make it without any one of these. We know Him and we're thankful for Him in our lives. God, food and love make the world a better place.
5) Bless Her Heart may REALLY mean Bless Her. God Bless her. As a Southerner, saying "Bless her heart" is endearing. Truly. It may simply mean "Bless Her Heart." In Steel Magnolias, to Shelby who has diabetes, Bless her heart. This is so hard. Or, like my girlfriend at Church who stopped me in the hall and said, "I have a diagnosis ...." We nodded our heads to listen in, lean in... "It's diabetes." Bless her heart! Absolutely. Bless her heart, This.Is.Hard. This.Is.So.Hard.
True to the movie, life goes on.
We're there for each other in all the seasons. My girlfriend, she sings in our Choir, she is a Steel Magnolia. The Church is like Steel Magnolias and I'm thankful.
Is your Church like Steel Magnolias? Please share in comments.