Sunday, June 19, 2005

“Not exactly the summer I had in mind.” Jenny Runkel


Jenny Runkel, my blond thirty something friend possesses a figure taut from tennis and sun kissed skin. She’s just bronze enough to show off her pearly whites with out the tanning bed look. It’s a very healthy I-have-been-on-the-tennis-court-wearing-sunscreen type of bronze combined with the potential to model for one of those dentists that specialize in whitened teeth.

Her blue eyes dance and laugh and disarm.

Jenny is conversant on a wide range of topics from the dramatic and important to the spicy and obscure. So in a given day we can chat about Shakespeare, Jesus, and Tabasco Sauce. Her mind sharpened by great literature, a smart--slightly smart aleck husband, and brilliant senior high students, generates the kind of humor that produces in me those deep down in the gut kind of laughs.

When I am with her, for a few minutes, I forget to take myself so seriously.

After an exhilarating and often exhausting year of teaching high school juniors and seniors, Jenny Runkel planned to enjoy her kids, her husband’s growing writing career, and some time to write a bit herself. She planned a trip to Houston, a vacation in the tropics, and plenty of tennis. Meanwhile, lymphoma has forced itself into her body, into her consciousness, and now challenges all of her plans.

Thankfully, Jenny is not just conversant about Jesus, she’s conversant with Jesus. Besides the fact that we have both lived in south Louisiana and both teach high school, we have the Jesus thing in common.

For now, since lymphoma has reared its hatefulness, I am admitting to having a few angry and sad conversations with Jesus about all this. After being thankful for Jenny’s friendship and registering my unhappiness at this turn of events, I am asking for few things. Immediate healing will do just fine. If He chooses the chemotherapy route to heal her, then I want Him to give her an overwhelming sense of his peace and joy in the process. I am asking Him to equip her with everything she needs to enjoy her kids, her husband's growing writing career, and write a bit herself.

As she requested, I am praying for Hal and Hannah and Brandon to feel the love and support of God and of the many others who love them so.

As she temporarily lets go of the blond, I am asking that she be able to keep up her tennis game and bit of bronze. I am asking Jesus to keep shining through her dancing blues eyes and her brilliant smile. And I am asking Jesus to provide to her, in increasing measure, pressed down and running over what she has given to me, the sense of being loved and respected, and an inability to take myself too seriously.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the blog about jenny--she's on my heart as well...loved being at the beach with her this time 2 years ago. she's a dear.

Anonymous said...

hey, the above post was from lela--forgot to sign!

Anonymous said...

You are in really big trouble for moving to Memphis. You made me cry my love and I miss you already, you crazy cher!

-Vive le cajuns!

Beverly Choate Dowdy said...

You are up very late girl! Oh well, I am not your mother--although you don't have to remind that I am old enough to be your yours.
While on the subject of moms, I enjoyed meeting yours and am glad she has been here.

Julia Osteen said...

Bev,
You have articulated so beautifully what many of us are feeling. I know that God has the power to heal Jenny and I pray that He will do so and in turn, strengthen her witness to Him. There are many in this world that need her example and influence.

I also can't believe that you are actually moving to Memphis. We will miss you sooooo much!

B. Perkins said...

Thanks, Bev, for such a special tribute to Jenny. We will keep her in our thoughts & prayers.

...By the way, could a few of us meet with Ken and try to change his mind?! ...(:-\ ...:)

Beverly Choate Dowdy said...

Okay Barbara---here's his email address...oh well, I think its a done deal.

It's good to hear some good news about your fella. Keep us up to date on Brad and tell him he's one of the sweetest kids I ever knew at GACS and I am praying for those seizures to stop and for him to be able to get back to his work.

Meanwhile I pray for you and Bob to have wisdom, strength, and peace of mind as you do what you can do to encourage him through all this challenging time.

Anne-Geri' said...

I love you.

Anonymous said...

Bev, This is Andee Lawyer Cone writing to you. I've just recently started reading your blog, & am curious about your move to Memphis. Are you going to teach there, & is it a transfer for Ken or what? I enjoy reading your comments. Thank you in advance for answering my questions!

Beverly Choate Dowdy said...

Hey Andee!
Ken has been asked to work as an administrative minister at the White Station Church of Christ, so I will be teaching government at Harding Academy.

Glad you like the blog. It's been fun to write and hear from friends.
Are you still in Little Rock?

Keith Brenton said...

She is - and is at my church, where Jimmy's an elder. I've been enjoying (lurking) at your blog for months now, too. I know they'll miss you in Georgia - and vice-versa - but I'm sure Andee will treasure having you closer.

Keep praying boldly, confidently about your precious friend Jenny.

We'll be joining you in those prayers.