Tears and Tammie Jo Shults

Published 10:28 pm Friday, April 20, 2018

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

Timestamps, taxes, tears and Tammie Jo Shults is pretty much how I would summarize this week in my memory.

I was listening to Air 1 radio station on Wednesday morning as I was driving my children to school when I learned of the death of Barbara Bush. The news shocked me. I had been fully engaged the days before hosting my in-laws, completing my taxes and grading student assignments. I did not know her condition was that grave.


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Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of my mother (who loved Barbara Bush) and repeated the words, “no, no, no” in the presence of my children’s listening ears. Before the tears would fall down my face, the announcer followed the story of Mrs. Bush with that of the heroism of Southwest pilot Tammie Jo Shults. I cannot remember a time that my emotional state shifted so quickly. As soon as the radio announcer spoke that the hero in the story was a female former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, I started cheering like Navy just made a first down in the Army-Navy game.

My loud outburst taught me a lesson. In that rush of changing emotions, in our van, the scream marked a moment for my children that they will not soon forget. I believe my daughter, who desires to one day become an astronaut, will always remember that day that she witnessed the moment God gave beauty for ashes and gladness for mourning when her mother went from sorrow to rejoicing because a female pilot saved lives. I dare say, April 18, 2018, is a milestone because of that moment.

Human culture is not without its array of memorials. If you ever wonder why, search the scriptures. Genesis 28:18-19 tells us how Jacob took a stone to mark what I call “His Bethel Place.” He anointed that place where he made a covenant with God, an offering to honor God’s supremacy in His life. His action is still relevant today. Reminders of events large and small are worthy of our denoting whether you write a song, take a picture, create a shadow box or remember the timestamp every year. Do whatever you need to do to help you remember.

Songwriter Matthew West currently has a popular song titled “The Beautiful Things We Miss.” The lyrics encourage us to make memorials. He sings:

“We don’t get to rewind
There’s no such thing as next time
Help me remember, help me remember, we don’t get this back
They were right when they said don’t blink
It all goes faster than you think
Help me remember, help me remember
The beautiful things we miss”

First Lady Barbara Bush once said, “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent.” If my legacy just happens to be that my children remember my songs and my high-decibel screams, it is well with my soul. I use my voice, and it helps them remember Momma.

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of Nonprofit Leadership and Management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.