Sitting in the Back Row | #MyFridayStory №151

I like sitting in the back row when I go to church.

Today I heard the sad news of a dear friend’s passing. We would sit side-by-side in the back row on Sunday’s before the Covid-19 pandemic ended gatherings. Gina would sit in the middle, me on her left and another dear friend, Oom Barrie on her right. Like three naughty kids in the back row of the class.

Our friendship sparked into life the moment we met. Her beautiful Italian eyes would light up, sporting her big smile every time she saw me. She made me feel loved and worthy whenever I was in her company. Our meetings were brief but always loaded with tenderness.

Gina was older than me by some years and her manner was more that of an older sister. She took great pride of the fact that she sat between two men in the back of the church, and soon took on the role of ‘monitor.’ If Gina heard I wasn’t singing loud enough, she would give me a prod in the ribs with a stern stare through her glasses. A nod of her head upwards was the signal to turn up the volume.

I found myself looking forward to seeing Gina on Sundays. She was always so bright and bubbly and jovial, it was contagious. She touched everyone around her with her hearty laugh and warm demeanour.

Gina and I would send each other little daily words and images of encouragement via social media. These would often open a broader conversation between us, and I grew to enjoy having them with her. Her intellect and life experience gave her a unique vantage point.

As a widow, Gina was alone at home when the country went into lockdown. I could sense by her messages that she was lonely and scared. I tried to comfort her by sending motivational and inspirational clips and messages. She was so sad that she couldn’t go to church any longer to see her friends. Our sermons on Sunday’s were moved online and I helped her to log in so that she could watch. She was so grateful and delighted about that.

Gina made me feel good about myself.

On many occasions, Gina would pay me a compliment me on something. A picture of my grandson would evoke a string of emoji hearts of how gorgeous she thinks he is. When she heard my Son’s name, she excitedly told me her grandson has the same name. She was always saying nice things and looking for ways to brighten your day.

In July Gina sent me a message that she had taken a nasty fall. In the same message, she let me know how much she appreciated me in her life. I continued sending messages.

I never heard from Gina again.

Gina believed God had brought us together for a reason. I agree. One day in church, tears were rolling down my cheeks during a sermon. Gina tapped me on the arm and handed me a tissue. After the sermon she said, “Look after yourself, lots of people need you.” There is no greater meaning to life than being needed. What a wonderful accolade?

Our dear fellowship is something I will never forget.

Let me be the one to say to you today, “Please look after yourself, lots of people need you.”

R.I.P. My Dearest Ginabella.

Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on August 28, 2020.

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