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  • Writer's pictureLisa Williamson

Southern Belle Blues

In the Deep South, greetings are a mini parade, and you are the honored guest regardless of location. The daily routine of coming and going create a new strike of the band. Doors open wide on front porches, grocery store buggies block the aisles, and folks linger in the church pews long after the amen, because hugs and squeals sachet through the air like the prodigal son has just returned home. Glad my mama didn't know about confetti guns in the 1960's! She might have used them as a special effect for your personal mini parade!

My great grandmother, Mama Bett, used to hug me so tightly I couldn't breathe in anything but the Ponds Cold Cream she rubbed on her sweet wrinkled face. I grew up being hugged, and so I guess that makes me a hugger, too.

It just seems rude not to greet with a hug, but today, quirky reality screams that hugging is out. A fist pump is in! We fist pump now so we can protect each other from cruel sickness and disease of this world. My heart tells me I am betraying my southern heritage by not hugging those I meet, greet, know, or haven't even met yet.

I imagine my Mama Bett felt the same way in the 1920's after she became sick with typhoid fever. Her infant daughter, Wynell, died from the fever at the same time. Mama Bett probably quit hugging for a spell so she could protect the rest of the family. Mom says that my Mama Bette thought I looked like her baby, Wynell, and that's why she hugged me so tightly every time I stepped onto her old rock porch.

Sickness and disease interrupt natural affections, but it can't stop love. Love is why I don't hug like I used to, because my sweet Jordan is extremely vulnerable to sickness due to his pulmonary hypertension. A common cold or worse could be disastrous for him, and according to the news, the rest of us are not immune to this mysterious wave of vulnerability either.

Mama Bett would have swooned over the Clorox Wipes and hand sanitizer, but she relied on something greater that we all have access to and will never be in short supply:

"The Lord will keep you from all harm, He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and your going, both now and forevermore." (Psalm 121: 7-8)

She knew God would watch over her life in sickness and yes, even in death. She knew God would give her courage and hope again to once more hug the people she loved and had yet to meet, and He did. He is faithful.

God will give us courage and hope, too, as we trust Him to watch over our coming and going, now and forevermore. So when healing winds begin to blow, listen for the strike of the band! Watch for me to bring you a mini parade, and let's hug it out! I just might have a confetti gun, too!

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