“Encouraging Words Today” –  July 7, 2011



by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Last week I went home again.

Cindy - 10th grade cheerleader

Home to the small town in Georgia where I lived in the same house, ‘Pinecrest’ from birth until adulthood. Being a native, I went to school with the very same folks until I serendipitously departed after my junior year for university and Life Beyond Thomasville. I didn’t get to be a high school senior with the rest of my class and I probably missed some bonding there. But I never regret my decision at that juncture of my life. God knew there was some individuation that needed to take place in my heart and soul quite apart from hometown influences and expectations. College launched me on a path and I’ve never looked back. Still, that abrupt tearing from childhood perhaps contributed to my not keeping in touch with folks over the years.

Cindy - Claire - Jenny

As life would have it, I ended up traveling and working all over the world plus various parts of this country, eventually ending up in New England for the past 20 years. When I heard that our class would be having a 40th reunion I decided to gather two special girlfriends for moral support and embrace my past with vigor. Claire from Nashville and Jenny from Denver graciously came (and were glad they did) but probably thought this whole idea was a bit crazy.

Elementary School friends Mercer, Lavinia, Huddie, Cathie, Cindy

We had a marvelous time. People were so kind and generous and gracious and fun. Life had beaten most of us pretty hard in various ways but the resilience and hope and perseverance brightly shown through the wrinkles and gray hair. What people did vocationally or had achieved or even whether or not they had spouses or children/grandchildren seemed far less important to me than the simple fact that these were the people who ‘knew me when.’ These were the men and women I had spent a south Georgia childhood with, weathered the turbulent‘60s, and now, yes, grown old through grace and gratitude.

I couldn’t help but think of Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses” where he imagines the old travel-worn Ulysses brooding over what to do after having seen the world:

“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

Class of '71 - Thomasville High School - Georgia

Truly, with other Class of ’71 heroic hearts, I find that much abides. And no, we don’t have the strength that once moved earth and heaven (this week one of our own – Nicky, a Naval pilot, died unexpectedly). But I do believe that even though many of us have been made weak by time and fate, we remain strong in will.

Enjoying the Rigsby's Garden Cottage Porch Swing..

Yes, I went home again — and found a new vision to continue going forward in my life for however many days there are left. Who I am now is inextricably tied with those from whence I came. I am a small town Georgia gal. It just so happened that my unique Life Story was called by God to live out among other people and other places….for now.

Thank you, Class of ’71, for embracing this long-lost friend. May we all – today and forever – strive to Seek, to Find, and not to Yield

under the mercy, Cindy

Girlfriends Luncheon

 “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46.4)

©2011 Lucinda Secrest McDowell



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  1. Hi Cindy…So excited to reconnect to your website and now have a way to follow through Word press! The reason I am here is because your story inspired me! I am not surprised, you have always encouraged, taught and inspired me…. This story will help me accept this friend by the sea!! Another inspiration…for me to start using! I loved your warmth and honesty and the love you feel for your Legacy and for your life for the past twenty years…It is so helpful for me to cope with being away from my home…Olde Wethersfield. We may have moved many times but all my boys went to Hanmer School, Silas Deane and all graduated from Wethersfield HS…I am happy for that.,…My memories and friends and love will carry me and stay with me wherever I am for the time God has left for this lady…I can’t wait to read your new book! Love, Peggy

  2. maggierowe says:

    Loved the quote from Ulysses. So fun to see your reunion photos. a little envious in a wistful way as my 40th reunion will be nothing like yours. You had an amazing HS experience, and it appears that those quality friendships have lasted. that is rare.

  3. KathyPalmer says:

    and ” not to yield,” Cindy, I enjoyed seeing you and everyone during the reunion, It was such a treasure to receive your book, i have begun reading it and the words are so encouraging, I wish my mother were alive to read this, she used to read books like this all the time along with her bible reading and. she would absolutely love this one.
    i always saw you as a kind, loving and understanding individual and am so glad to see that those characteristics are still there in much volume and you are still as beautiful as you were in high school.
    Thanks for coming home and sharing your life with us.

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