Some columns are joyful, some are sad and some reach the darkest places of my mind. Whatever the mood of the column, it means that I have to get to that emotional state in order to write it.
This week, I received a call from someone who will remain nameless out of respect. We discussed an issue before the caller made a comment. The caller told me that I had done many bad things in my life that this person didn’t agree with. The caller went on to say that although this person felt I had probably changed some, people would never forget the bad stuff and always assume the worst.
This phone call gave validation to my mindset. I didn’t disagree and respected the caller for having the courage to tell the truth.
The caller isn’t a bad person. The caller is a respected member of our community who is involved in civic organizations and more importantly, their church.
In the midst of many that share the opinion of the caller, there are others that don’t necessarily take that view.
One such person is Fayelynn Sams. Mrs. Sams is married to Harold Sams, and they are members of North Canton Baptist Church.
The Sams have been members at their church for as long as I can remember. I was once a frequent visitor at North Canton and can’t for the life of me remember a time when they weren’t there.
Like most people, I’m sure, the Sams have had their own share of ups and downs. But life has not shaken their faith. And life has certainly not given them anything that has kept them from giving their support to their church.
Unfortunately, life has thrown them a curveball. Harold is fighting a disease called Parkinson’s. This must be very trying for the entire family.
While chatting with Mrs. Sams, the conversation wasn’t about the pitfalls of life and the unfairness of their situation. She only spoke of a retired fireman named Bob Junk that once gave them a helping hand. She spoke of her fondness of Sheriff Roger Garrison and the program he implemented called Project Lifesaver. She praised our 9-1-1 dispatchers.
Mrs. Sams is a woman that makes lemonade out of lemons.
She is a woman that truly sees the glass half full.
Not long ago she sent me a message after reading one of my columns. As if she didn’t have enough on her plate, she took time from her many duties to send me some words of encouragement. She told me that my columns were an inspiration to her and then scolded me for being too hard on myself.
There is no doubt in my mind that if I showed up at North Canton Baptist Church, Mrs. Sams would be the first to welcome me with open arms. Maybe she didn’t get the memo that I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. Or maybe she did and chose to throw it away. Either way, it would be a better world if more people had what she has.
Mrs. Sams is a positive example in facing adversity. I asked myself why and how she could face adversity with only thanking others for what they do. I then ask myself why she could simply look at me with love in her heart for who I try to be instead of who I really am.
It finally dawned on me. She’s not living her life filled with hate. She has chosen love instead.
Looking back on my life, I can find good in every single relationship I have ever had. None of them were perfect. Nothing is except God.
But I learned something from every one of them. I still find myself thinking about different people when I will do certain things I learned from them.
People can be hard on us. I’ve come to expect it. But I was taught to take responsibility for my actions. So I will forever be harder on myself than others will ever be on me.
Many would argue folks like me deserve ridicule, but not Mrs. Sams. You see, she’s the exception, not the rule.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.