Marcy S., age 17, Tennessee

Dear Diary — Another Armistice Day. Exactly twenty-three years ago today the great guns ceased and the white dove of peace flew over the bloody battlefields of France. Last night I saw “Hell’s Angels” at the Webbo, an old picture, but with excellent fight scenes. Photography has certainly improved, as well as make-up, action and unity of plot. There was a short subject on American history and was very interesting. I came the very nearest I ever have to swearing when it showed the horrors of war in Spain and China — little children, Barbara’s age and younger, hobbling around with crutches — legless, armless. It was so pitiful, and so maddening! I nearly screamed! 

This morning dawned bright and cold — I was glad the weather had improved for the sake of the parade, the Legion program, and the game, but I love cloudy Armistice Days — they seem more in keeping with the feelings you have (or I do) on that day. Slept till 8:30, due to no school. Daddy left about 9:30 to tend to some business (the parade was scheduled for 10:15). I kept the home fires burning while Mother went next-door to seek Clure’s aid in concocting a salad for the Legion “feed.” Then, just before I left for school, I went over my piece once more, and got Mother’s stamp of approval. 

At 10:15, dressed in Glee Club uniform, I arrived in the high school gym, where the other members were also gathered. Rufus was beginning to get nervous. We went over our two pieces once and then started for the auditorium. Before we left Mr. Walters came in with his camera, having been too late to get a picture of the parade (for the Arrow). He is quite good-looking, but for some reason I don’t like him. Perhaps it is because I’m off all members of the male sex for life! Anyway, when we got to the auditorium there were quite a few people there and the State Guard (Home Guard, I suppose it should be called), Legion, Drill Team (part of it) had already assembled, the parade being over. Ruth and I, with the help of Clay, got the piano on the stage opened and the bench transplanted from the other piano to that one. Then we sat down front until the speaker, Daddy, and others went up on the stage, and we followed. 

About ten till 11:00 Daddy (Commander of the Legion) asked for the colors to be advanced and Mr. Adkisson, a veteran of the last war, and his son, who is in the present army, carried the two American flags to the platform. It was very impressive. Then the chaplain of the post, Mr. Taylor, gave a beautiful invocation, followed by the singing (group) of “America” (two stanzas), with me trying to carry the men in front along, who didn’t seem exactly sure of the words. At 11:00 Bobby Rutherford, also on the stage, arose and stepped to the front. We all faced the west with him, as he played “Taps.” It certainly put me in the right mood for my reading, which was next on the program. 

Ruth sat down at the piano and I went to the edge of the stage and announced “The Unknown Soldier” by Billy Rose, to the accompaniment of “I Wonder Where My Buddies Are Tonight.” Silence — I waited for Ruth and she waited for me. After what seemed an hour to me, but what in reality was only a few seconds, I gave up and plunged in, Ruth following. I wasn’t a bit nervous, and dared to look people right in the face, as I asked my questions from side to side. Rufus didn’t play the bugle call as I had expected her to, but it didn’t matter. And she ended up fine, a moment after I had finished, with the chorded climax. Instead of standing there until she finished, I forgot myself and turn to go off, but remembered just in time, and waited. We got quite a good hand as we left the stage to take our seats with the Glee Club. As I stepped over Jean Robinson she whispered a nice compliment. 

Then, out of place (the Glee Club was scheduled to sing at that point) Mr. Smalley, after reading a poem suitable to the occasion, introduced the speaker, Mr. Dausset, past State Commander. He immediately mentioned “that beautiful musical reading” just rendered, which was very nice of him. He is a fine speaker, but “carried on” just a bit too long, repeating himself rather frequently, and some of us began to get restless. I was on the verge of doing something desperate when he at last took his seat and the Glee Club was introduced. Oh, yes, once during his speech, my mind wandered and when I came to, everyone was clapping. A fine time to day-dream! 

Well, the Glee Club rose to the occasion, and we took our places in front of the stage, below it. Our numbers were “Taps ’Til Reveille,” and “God of Our Fathers.” I looked out in the sea of faces when my courage permitted, and there near the back was little Barbara, sitting dreamily on her mother’s lap. She showed all the signs of having just awakened. We were then asked to lead the audience in singing the national anthem. Jean Robinson, next to me, took my hand, and I felt so nice and friendly inside. I sang with all my heart, with my eyes on the flag draped in the center of the balcony. Mr. Taylor then delivered the benediction and the program was over. We Glee Clubers went back to our seats for wraps, etc. 

Marcy S., age 62, North Carolina

Yesterday I talked with Brother Oscar and Sister Nellie about Mark and Sandra W. In his last letter Mark asked if he could bring Sandra W. to Tarboro so that we could meet her. Emily and Sarah will probably come, too, and I wasn’t just sure whether I could open my heart and home to Sandra or not. “To make a long story short” Oscar and Nellie pointed out that Jesus loved sinners and that love is capable of breaking down a person’s resistance much more than judgment and condemnation. Mark knows how I feel about his living in adultery with Sandra, but I am still to love him and her without condemnation.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for changing my heart attitude toward them.

Marcy S., age 62, North Carolina

Tonight I will be “preaching” for the first time at one of the nursing homes. Myrtle has done it so many times, in addition to leading the singing, that I felt guilty and volunteered to speak tonight. Thank You, Lord, for giving me Your confidence and a consciousness of Your presence. I thank You, too, for suggesting the topic of “peace” and all the beautiful Scriptures you showed me. May Your Word be a blessing to each and everyone tonight.

Marcy S., age 62, North Carolina

Lord Jesus, please teach me to love my brothers and sisters fervently and with a pure heart. Let me not be timid or afraid to show love. I desire that unfeigned love to flow through me to others today. Thank You for enabling me to love by Your indwelling Spirit.

Marcy S., age 50, North Carolina

Lord, what does it mean to rest in You, to give up all self-effort? I can imagine being able to do this if I lived alone and had no problems of relationship. I guess self-effort means trying to change another person or a situation without asking Your guidance.

O Lord, It is so hard to live with Harold and watch him destroying himself, body and mind and spirit, too, I’m sure. He can’t face a single day without alcohol and we both live in an unreal world of ignoring this fact.

I’ve tried, maybe not hard enough, to love him in bed with Your love, Lord, but fail more often than I succeed. It’s not so much the physical and repulsion, although that enters in, as the unreality of our whole relationship. I’ve tried to talk to him about this but he can’t hear what I’m saying — I don’t think he can face anything that threatens his use of alcohol.

Lord, I can cook his meals and even prepare his favorite foods, I can keep his clothes clean and ironed, I can read and proof-read Cross Talk, but I cannot seem to give him my body. Am I still not willing to give up my right to myself? If only I could tell Harold how I feel without coming across holier-than-thou or judgmental — there doesn’t seem to be any way. Oh Lord, I want him to glorify You, I want him to know the unspeakable joy of Your reality.

I’m going to try to write him a letter and I pray, Lord, that Your Holy Spirit will lead me and speak to him through me.

Marcy S., age 47, North Carolina

This little bit of self-understanding came through a magazine story I was reading in the dentist’s office a few days ago. The woman was remembering her childhood (as an only child) — how her father’s and mother’s moods would change from morning to night or from one day to the next, and especially their silent moods when she thought she had done something to anger them. Sometimes she was afraid to go out and walk down the street because everyone she met might fall silent when they saw her. Later her parents separated and she learned that they had only stayed together when she was a child to give her a home. I think the same might have been true of my parents. Not knowing how they were going to react or be from one day to the next, and feeling no doubt that I was to blame, I guess that could account for my inability to really trust another person. And my fear of rejection — and acceptance because I was afraid to trust the acceptance. That’s it!!

Marcy S., age 62, North Carolina

Long letter from Mark on Saturday asking me once again to accept the reality of his relationship with Sandra W. and the termination of his marriage with Sandra S. I had already been convicted by something Brother Oscar said last Sunday night: “My responsibility is to pray for the unsaved person, not to convict him — this is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. I am to be loving, kind, and tolerant.” I realized that I had been trying to convict Mark of his sinful behavior by refusing to accept his relationship with Sandra W. In my heart I had been judging and condemning him. As Brother Oscar said, I must release Mark unto God through prayer and then just simply love him. So I wrote Mark yesterday and confessed my sin and asked his forgiveness. A burden has been lifted! I feel free now to love and accept Mark and Sandra W. — thank You, Holy Spirit, for convicting me and giving me the gift of repentance.

Now I must write Sandra S. For some time now I’ve had the feeling that I shouldn’t keep encouraging her to have faith that Mark would come back into their marriage, but rather begin to make a new life for herself without him. Mark says she is beginning to do this so now I must encourage her in that direction. I do pray, Lord, that Sandra will find real happiness and fulfillment in a Christian marriage. May Your perfect will be done for her.

Mark asked me to try to understand that he did not share my beliefs (about sin, etc.) and that to his way of thinking, his present lifestyle is much less “sinful” than before he left Sandra S. He has stopped lying and smoking (pot) and is being faithful to one woman. His life must really have been a mess!

Of course, Lord, I know You can still work a miracle and restore Mark and Sandra’s marriage, but I know, too, that You never force anyone to do something against his will. The future is in Your hands. For now, I believe You want me to accept reality and pour out Your love on all involved in this situation.

Marcy S., age 62, North Carolina

Brother Oscar (Rodriguez) told us Thursday night that Brother John wants him and Sister Nellie to stay in Tarboro a long time — he suggested they try to sell their house in Va. Beach (just moved in last December). Last Sunday we thought they might just fill in for a short while until the new pastor came, but we all know and love Brother Oscar and Nellie and need their maturity, wisdom, etc. There are many things that need to be set right so that unity can be restored.

The Radfords, Weathersbys, Tommy and Ann Boyd, and Irene were back in the fold Thursday night — what a blessing to see their dear faces again!