Thank you, Jackie
It was Tuesday morning. Jackie took the navy blue recycle tub to the curb for pickup. It was overflowing with empty beer bottles, beer cans, and wine bottles.
Jackie was our housekeeper and all-around helper for Kathy in raising our kids. For over twenty years she sorted packages for UPS at night and then came to our house in the late morning to help Kathy. She was like a second mom to our kids. And, looking back, she really was like a second mom to Kathy and me as she was fifteen years older than us.
She was such a servant. Always working. Always quiet. Always praying. She knew every nook and cranny of our house. Nothing was hidden that she did not find. This is to say she really knew us, all of us.
After working for us for a few years, she started to share some of her country wisdom. This didn't happen too often, and it never was a long discussion. She would catch me in the middle of grabbing a cup of coffee on the way to my home office and start with, "You know..." That's how I knew it was coming.
After Kathy became pregnant with David, our third, Jackie stopped me and said, "You do know that kids grow up and cost you a lot of time and money." Vintage Jackie.
But what really stuck with me is when she told me how much she prayed I would stop drinking. Of course, she only told me after I joined AA. She didn't know I was attending AA meetings. She did know the navy blue recycle tub only had soda cans in it. No beer. No wine.
That's when she told me the story of the navy blue recycle tub. She said, “Every time I brought that tub full of empty bottles to the curb for pickup, I cried. And then I would pray for you to stop drinking."
So why am I telling you this story?
In this season of Thanksgiving, I find myself being grateful. Grateful to the people God put in my life. People who loved me in spite of who I was at the time. People who cried for me and my family because they knew my behavior was taking me to nowhere good. Praying that God would bring me to the foot of the cross and free me from my addiction to alcohol.
Jackie knew the consequences of this sin of addiction. She was surrounded by addiction in her family. She saw the brokenness, the emptiness, the poverty of spirit, the wasted lives. And more than anything, she saw the sins of the father being passed on to the next generation.
She didn't want that for me.
Jackie lived long enough to see her prayers answered. She saw Kathy and me transformed by Jesus Christ. She saw it all. And through it all, she never stopped praying for us.
Thank you, Jackie. I am grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, my reader, and to your family.