the real thing

One of my very favorite nieces of all time has been on my mind. She’s one of my favorites because I identify with her in so many ways. She spent a number of summers with us during her pre- and teenage years. I think I [mistakenly] thought of her as an underdog. I thought of her as borderline or ‘at risk’ for a while. I thought of her as needing our love and attention. I thought of her as a lost soul. And I thought maybe we could help.

But, to tell the truth, she has helped us much more than we could have ever helped her.

She confided in me one summer afternoon when we were both lounging on the tramp in the hot Wyoming sunshine. It was right at that very moment that I knew I would love her forever. She broke my heart right in two, and I saw right then that we had a common bond.

Camille has a heart of gold. She is, really, so very special to me. I have watched the Lord work miracles in her life, so in a very real way, she is a testimony of His love, His guidance, His wisdom.

She has turned out to be one of the shining examples in my life. She has worked hard to build a life worthy of her dreams and ambitions. She’s been a wonderful friend to my Tracy and now she has continued in a similar role with my Mikelle. She’s nurturing, supportive, creative, funny, loving, wise beyond words, hard-working. She does the work of two people! She is going to school and working nights — a job, by the way, that she loves! She’s active in her church and community. She is a friend to/of many. She holds it together when it would be easy to give up. I think of her when I read this quote:

Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart – that’s true strength!!

And, she is always surprising me with her strength and courage and determination and willingness to keep going.

Recently, their family had a very traumatic situation when their son was bullied beyond reason. Oh my gosh! Just thinking about it again makes me cringe and cry and heave. Somehow, her faith and strength and courage and determination and willingness to keep going, kept her going.

I thought of this when I understood what their family was going through:

Real courage includes standing against the evil one, even when we stand alone, often feeling the disdain and the ridicule of others. This is courage. This is strength. This is womanhood, and it can be tough . . . you can describe a woman in inches, pounds, complexion, and physique. But you measure a woman by character, compassion, integrity, tenderness, and principle. Simply stated, the measures of a woman are embedded in her heart and soul, not in her physical attributes.” Richard C. Edgley

I remember when Camille was working nights another time at Pepperidge Farms. Oh my world, that woman does so much to keep things going! I know her family knows that, but just in case they don’t, I’m telling them now.

I remember when some drunken men were camping next to her and shooting a gun in the middle of the night. Oh my world, that woman does so much to keep her children safe and teaching them to have faith in the Lord.

I remember when my daughter was so sick she couldn’t function and Camille stopped what she was doing and went and helped her.

I remember when she encouraged me by her example.

I remember when she told me to believe. Just believe.

Yup. Pretty special gal. And so, when recently a co-worker of hers said something so complete and utterly unkind, it was all I could do to not drive clear to Logan to tell that woman to shove off.

But, I remember when Camille told me to let go of things like that and concentrate on what’s really important. Imagine, someone half my age knowing better than I do.

Makes me so grateful to have her as a friend now that she’s all grown up. I always look for her at every family gathering, because I know I will feel better about everything, just visiting with her. Just listening to her soft voice, her soft words, her quick laugh, and her immense wisdom. She makes me like myself. She gives me strength, and oddly, direction. She is one strong cookie [no doubt I’ve got Pepperidge Farms on my mind . . .] and I admire her more than she’ll ever know.

Well, actually, she might know, now. tee hee

One thought on “the real thing

  1. tracy

    I agree! I was so lucky as a child to have Camille be my bestest friend through thick and thin and now as an adult, I am richly blessed to have her as such a dear, dear friend.

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