Shadow Of Victory

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

July 28th The Lady in the Pink Hat

Hi everyone...thought I would share this with you as it is very much on the subject of Friendship.


My eyes drift unseeing as my arms and legs follow their own pattern for this skill known as swimming…you can do it on auto pilot with no thought given to any rhythm or co-ordination.

I am warm and satisfied with life.
I was born for holidays in the sun.
I am easily pleased.

I am in no hurry and going nowhere with little occupying my thoughts and as I continue my lazy strokes I begin to gaze around the poolside at the flotsam and jetsam of humanity who share my space under the hot sun and endless blue sky. I have always enjoyed watching people and ascribing stories to their lives and the poolside has rich pickings for my unoccupied imagination.

Mr and Mrs Lilo….in their 40s laying on their Asda priced airbeds and floating their lives away.
The Bicycle Family….extremely get up and go with their teenage son.
Fred and His Missus….he the silent one and she manufacturing enough words for them both
The Dads and their Lads…..lovely to see the bonding going on
Mrs Widow and son….hhmmnnn….some unhealthy stuff going on there
Ms Single Parent and daughter….being a full time mum seems to be boring for her.
The Multi Generation Family….I am envious and covet a holiday with a daughter and grandchild
The Lady in the Pink Hat…here with another woman ….I guess they are friends

I begin to focus more on this lady in the pink hat to the exclusion of all the other poolside people and let my thoughts travel into her life and my swimming goes onto auto pilot as I visualise who she is and where she comes from and what her life is like.
Her hat is pink and newly exchanged for 5 Euros at a mountain top village which served the most delicious cappuccinos. It is almost a wedding hat but somehow she carries off the casual look so well that everyone must see it is a poolside hat…a sun hat…a hat for all seasons.! It was with great glee she realised that unknown forces were at work at the exact moment when she decided on the pink hat rather than the white hat. This amazing pink hat matches her swimming cossie exactly. Not just the colour but the flower on the rim of this pink hat is a replica of the flowers on her cossie how cool is that!

The lady in the pink hat is of mature years. I wouldn’t presume to call her an OAP..but let’s say that she has travelled a fair way along the three score years and ten highway of life.. I look beyond the pink hat and I can see that she has been married for decades and has grown children and several grandchildren. Under the pink hat I can tell that the lines and wrinkles she wears so well were formed through much laughter and some anxiety. The pink hat sits so well upon her wise head and I know with certainty that the words she speaks will carry with them the weight of wisdom and life experience. This lady in the pink hat is fiercely loyal and her ability to walk alongside her friends is legendary. The pink hat may fool some people into thinking she is frivolous and light but let me assure you she is solid and strong.

The lady in the pink hat meets my gaze as I continue to swim and she smiles at me as if to say “I know you “and I can hear her say “you okay?”. Always this lady in the pink hat is concerned about others and as I return the smile and she has already begun to speak to others as they pass by her sun bed. I stop awhile and listen as she asks each person what they have been doing and where they have been and everyone is drawn into conversation feeling special and attended to by the lady in the pink hat. She effortlessly enfolds young and old into her sphere of calm and genuine warmth including the small boy who is not only encouraged to dive and swim but is treated to an ice cream sundae by the lady in the pink hat.

I settle in the corner of the pool with my book and every now and then I glance over at the lady in the pink hat and again my thoughts drift past the written word in my book to the unwritten words of this woman’s life. I can see her eyes following the print of her own book moving slowly from one side of the page to the other and every now and then they glaze over and I can see her become still and as if in commune with God her head slides forward in imitation of sleep but I know she is far from napping. The pink hat stays firmly attached to her head even when gravity should have caught it and dribbled it forward on her face. The lady in the pink hat is outwardly at rest but inwardly I know she is hard at work praying and I can see this lady is not to be messed with even by the natural forces at work in this world.

As she rests I know that her thoughts will have travelled way beyond the pink hat and will be touching the highest heavens as she intercedes on behalf of her family and friends. I even begin to believe that I will be included in her prayers. The lady in the pink hat never gives up….never fails to believe…never stops to think it cant or wont be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Only a woman in a pink hat can have this blessed assurance that God will already be on the move to grant her pleading. For many years this woman in the pink hat has prayed and never given up and her faith still brings me to my own knees long after my voice has ceased to be heard.

I continue to ponder this lady in the pink hat and once again I seem to have a fresh insight into her life as I watch her begin again to read her book. She reads slow but sure and somehow the book on her lap turns into the bible and I see in the shadow of my mind the many hours she has laboured over the precious word of God. I can almost hear her speak to me and others in hymns and psalms and just as the water in this pool is enveloping me and lulling me into a deep sense of peace I know the lady in the pink hat does the same to folks back home in her other life. At times the lady in the pink hat will be like a stream of living water sent into the dry and thirsty desert of our lives to bring hope and encouragement to those who are in dire need of refreshment. The matching cossie she wears covers an ample bosom and I suspect she often bemoans her shape but I also know that when in need of two arms to hold me and hug me and re-assure me I would rather have the lady in the pink hat with all her ampleness to lean upon than risk being stabbed to death by some bony size zero.

I begin to feel slightly chilled and realise I am prune like after long minutes spent in the water and I cast one more glance at the lady in the pink hat. She has stilled for a moment and looks up into the endlessly blue sky as if searching for an answer and I am able to examine her at my leisure without fear of being caught staring . I look beyond the pink hat and I see heartache reflected in her eyes and I know without any contradiction that the pink hat is only a momentary respite for the cares and concerns she carries. As well as the fun and laughter …the loyalty and faith….the wisdom and strength…the ability to pray and intercede and the amazing heart and soul within this woman there is also an aching for the unanswered prayers and the ongoing hope she has for the future.

You may wonder how on earth I can “see” all this from a casual glance or a moment caught in time. or you may think I have a wild imagination….I confess that I have inside knowledge of this lady in the pink hat and although I have allowed you to know a little about her other life….the life she leads when not wearing her pink hat….my description of her doesn’t even begin to do her justice. This lady in the pink hat I am honoured to call my friend and for almost 25 years the lady in the pink hat has walked with me and talked with me. This lady in the pink hat has held my hand as I have struggled to stay on the path and she has passed me tissues as I have wept in the dark moments This lady in the pink hat has supported me through some tough times and she has served alongside me in many areas of church life. This lady in the pink hat has laughed with me till we have cried at so many shared jokes and life situations including laughing at me !. This lady in the pink hat and her family have been joined at the hip to me and mine and as we approach the autumn years my hope is that the pink hat becomes a symbol of friendship to reflect upon in times to come. This lady in the pink hat knows me through and through and yet still calls me her friend and has never judged me even when I have been outrageously in need of judgement. This lady in the pink hat has laughed at my jokes and has admonished me when I step over the line and I am more than blessed to have her in my life
My purpose in sharing this with you is not just to honour the lady in the pink hat but in the hope that you will also take a moment to think about your friends …they may not wear a pink hat but lets be so thankful for each and everyone of them….and find a way of telling them .
May each and every one of you have the blessing of a Lady in a Pink Hat in your lives.


Caroline said...

Hey Irene, I'm really pleased reading your 'lady in the pink hat' blog entry, that girl, you can write! I know you've done the kid's book(s) but this is of a different genre and I'm really impressed. Do more, do a novel. Do it.
your old pal Caroline (ok, what do I know but seriously, good reading.)

sandra said...

Awesome Irene...thought provoking well written and wanting more...I hope and pray I can be even some of the friend you describe here...looking forward to seeing the pink hat in church xx

Ruthie said...

Irene, I've literally just read this properly and I LOVE IT! You describe her & your friendship so beautifully. Just wonderful. Thanks for sharing it lovely friend. xx