There’s a struggle

Published 7:20 am Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Those sneaky smile lines gleefully won a skirmish in their war against all the creams I faithfully slather on, but I didn’t care. A big grin burst from my heart to my face as I further etched those character lines into my skin. My heart danced as well as I looked through all the delicious semi-formal gowns in anticipation of swishing my way across the floor. Only girly-girls really get into the swish, but my sisters out there will understand.

I can’t wait for our exciting night out; it’s not every day that I get a chance to really glam it up, I thought. And especially since Mike has been away at work for so long I really need an evening of fun.

“Jan, if that beaded gown fit me you wouldn’t have a chance to buy it! It’s perfect, and I think you can get a lot of wear out of it,” gushed my friend and co-worker, Sandy.

“It’s really gorgeous; I may just have to buy it! Kay is wearing a beautiful gold dress that looks great with her blond hair. Do you know what Diane is wearing?”

“Not sure, but you know she will bling it up with jewelry and look fantastic as usual. Lucky for us that Donna is dancing, and we were able to get seats at her table. I guess the dancers get the table of their choice.”

My friends and I all seemed to be on a budget but we chose to splurge on our tickets at $50 a pop. Dinner and entertainment were included in the price, and it was a benefit for the American Cancer Society so we all felt it was money well spent.

The weeks flew by as my friends and I anticipated our approaching evening. Finally, the day arrived, but my joy at its arrival was replaced by a nagging doubt. A relative of mine was in need of a friend — a friend to stay with her since she wasn’t feeling well.

As fate would have it she couldn’t find anyone else who was willing or able to stay. I struggled when the thought came to me, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When you have done it to the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me.”

“But she isn’t even nice to me. Do you really want me to give up my evening out to spend with her?”

Why do I ever argue?

As we speak, so to speak … I am trying to sell my ticket. I know there will be other times of fun with my friends. In all honestly the struggle is real, but it seems like the right thing to do.

The devastation many have experienced in recent days puts my little dilemma in perspective for sure. When I look around at what others are going through, my already small problems shrink significantly. My heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to the entire community. May God’s peace and strength be with you all.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at