Does anyone remember the Mary Tyler Moore Show?
My mom loved this show. I don’t remember much about it, maybe Mary in her short dresses and Mary Jane’s walking across the newsroom. I definitely couldn’t tell you a single plot line. I was, after all, only 8 or 9 years old.
But music has a way of getting deep inside a person and the Mary Tyler Moore theme song was no exception.
At least the refrain: You’re Gonna Make It After All…
I don’t know why that stayed with me but it did.
And over 40 years later, it just hopped right to the forefront of my mind.
I’d gone home to visit my parents for a week and went with my mom to her choir practice. Now this is the church I grew up in, the one I’d been baptized in, the one I went to GA’s in.
And this Senior Adult group was filled with my old choir teachers, VBS leaders, and Sunday School directors. They saw me when I sang the lead in the 5th grade Noah’s Ark musical and when I won 1st place in Bible drills.
They ALSO saw me when I turned into a sulky, moody teen who rebelled against everything, God included.
Some had not seen me since.
So as I walked in with Mom, they were delighted to see me. They asked questions, I filled them in with updates on my writing and ministry.
One lady, in that way only older ladies can get away with without sounding offensive, looked me up and down and said “Well, it looks like you made it after all…”
I was momentarily stunned.
I’ve been okay for over 20 years, was my first thought.
Wow, she remembers me well, was my second!
The devil tried to get me to take offense. But how could I? She wasn’t being catty or rude. She was genuinely happy for me.
Then the Mary Tyler Moore song popped in my head. “Looks like you made it after all….”
At the end of the choir practice, I shared a word of encouragement with them.
“Never doubt the prayers of a praying grandparent. There’s no doubt in my mind that my grandparents’ prayers saw me through my times of rebellion and led me back to the Lord. There’s always hope.”
I shared my memories of some of the Senior Adults who had an impact on me when I was going through my teenage years at church. They never acted differently towards me even though I was changing rapidly. They never stopped smiling and encouraging me.
Sometimes it seems pointless but even in my mess, that had a lasting impact.
It takes a special person to continue to encourage someone who’s trying to push the world away.
I have someone in my life right now doing the same. Right now, he couldn’t care less if I speak to him, much less encourage him. He’s angry at God, mad at the world.
I was there at his age.
But I had people who didn’t turn their backs on me and always welcomed me with a smile. I didn’t appreciate it at the time but later I realized how much it had mattered.
So I am determined to do the same. Even if I want to walk away, I won’t.
I have to pay it forward.
I want him to remember that someone truly cares.
And one day I want someone to say to him, “It looks like you made it after all…”