What do you need?

I n the 1930’s in a small town in East Texas there were two teenagers, age 18 and 16, very much in love. They didn’t mean for any thing to happen but things got out of control and did happen.

When the town doctor told her she was pregnant, she was not the only one who was told. The office nurse thought the whole town should know. The doctor called her parents so they could be prepared when she got home. Unfortunately, they were prepared in the wrong way.

Her father started beating her, calling her shameful names as her mother stood there crying. Finally, she got away and ran to her boy friend’s home. He had heard, decided he wasn’t ready to be a father and jumped a freight train out of town.

All alone, she ran to Aunt Sally, an old lady in a shack on the edge of town.

Adults didn’t approve of Aunt Sally. She chewed tobacco and could spit further than anyone. But the kids adored her. She fell into Aunt Sally’s arms sobbing her heart out and Aunt Sally just held her, stroking her hair.

When she ran out of tears, Aunt Sally said, “Honey, one of the hardest things in life is to discover that the people we love the most and need the most are just not there for us when we need them. But remember that you have one thing that no one can take from you and that’s the love of Jesus. That’s whatcha got! Whatcha gonna do?”

Looking at Aunt Sally, she said, “I love you.” Then she walked out of that East Texas town and through the next three towns. She walked until she came to a place where they had never heard of her.

A Methodist pastor and his wife took her in, got her into a home for unwed mothers, her baby was adopted by a loving Christian couple and she started walking again — all the way to Tennessee.

With the help of a scholarship, she worked her way through college, got a degree, went to medical school, graduated at the top of her class and became one of the leading pediatricians in Tennessee, specializing in the care of unwanted babies.

When people ask how she has been able to achieve so much, all her years of education drop away and she says, “I always remember I don’t need nothing save the love of Jesus. That’s the one thing folks can’t ever take away.”

What do YOU need?

Rev. Clyde Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church in Temple where he served as senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several Central Texas newspapers.

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2011-01-13 digital edition

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