Published on August 3, 2021

It wasn’t just a movie for me; I lived it and kept the faith

By Shirley Prihoda
The Bulletin

I miss the days when a popsicle had the power to erase your child’s heavy heart.

Those days were fleeting, and I didn’t realize how quickly until they were gone. Had I known, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time longing for five minutes alone in the restroom! As young parents, what seemed like the rantings of old people to “Enjoy these days because they pass before you know it” seemed so out of touch with my reality. What I didn’t understand was they had been there, done that, got the T-shirt, worn it out, and made it into a patchwork quilt!

When someone has walked a path, they know the beginning, the middle, and the end, and their experience is a valuable commodity. That is, if they have an audience willing to listen.

Country people love stories that explain things that may seem about as clear as mud. That being the case, we’re fixin’ to tell one, as my mama would say. My husband and I went to see Will Smith’s movie, "Collateral Beauty."

I like most of his movies, but not always for the storyline. I get lost watching him because it’s amazing how much he walks, talks, and has mannerisms like my son, Shawn. They could be identical twins when it comes to their demeanor.

It was a heart-wrenching movie for me because of my other son, Jerry. In the movie, Will’s daughter died of cancer at age six, and my Jerry died of cancer at age five. I sat there watching the movie, but in reality, I was living it along with him as my heart was taken captive once again with the hurt, anger, frustration, and questions about why.

After the movie, my husband commented on what a good movie it was. My response was somewhat different. I hadn’t just watched it; I lived it! A disclaimer is warranted here that my husband came into my life 18 years after Jerry had passed away. Therefore, there was a decided difference in how the movie affected each of us. When you’ve lived through something, it gives you a totally different perspective on how it feels.

I’m fascinated with the song, “I Can Only Imagine.” My heart can’t imagine how the God of this universe, the One who created everything, would choose to come incognito, and into a family shamed by being pregnant before the wedding? He could have arranged to be born on silk sheets with servants standing by, providing the latest healthcare services, and it would have still been a mighty miracle!

Instead, He chose to come as a blue-collar man, like you and me. This choice was so He could identify in every respect of our lives and say with meaning, “I know just how that feels! Come to Me, all you who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

This sort of sounds like when life has become overwhelming, and you call your mama. Words aren’t really necessary; she can tell by the tone of your voice that you need her. She says, “Come on home, sweet one, and I’ll cook something special for you, and we’ll talk about it.” Yeah, that’s pretty close to what Jesus was saying in the above verse, and He doesn’t need a popsicle to fix it.

Jesus is like that. He lived here 33 years, but the first 30 were experiencing everyday life and all the challenges it brings. Everything life can throw at you, He lived it. Everything. When He put on skin, He took off His divinity so he could identify with all our feelings and truly say, “I know just how that feels. Let Me show you how to live through it.” He, the Creator, did this as a man with one objective in mind, to light a way through the darkness so we could find our way home.

Like fathers here who long for their wayward children, He longs for us. His desire is that we want Him. He offers us comfort in our heartache when we run to Him and allow Him to hold us as He whispers our name. Every story, parable, even the dry begetting parts were written to encourage us to have that faith and hope, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

We often confuse faith and hope. Faith is anchored totally on the believability of God. Faith asks, “What kind of God is He? What’s His character like? Is He trustworthy?” Often, we are confused in thinking, “I have faith to believe God for this, but I don’t have enough faith to believe God for that?” Faith is never about what you are praying for; it’s always about Who you’re praying to. Hope on the other hand is “Will it come today or tomorrow?” Hope is not, “a pie in the sky.” It’s vibrant expectancy, like a mother’s full-term pregnancy, bags packed in readiness and hope. This baby’s coming, and it may be tonight!

This is Shawn’s favorite pie, and perhaps Will’s, too. It’s the first thing I cook for “Christurkmas.” Now, “Christurkmas” is a story for another time!

Lemon Pie

3 Egg Yolks
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Zest of one Lemon
8” Baked Pie Shell
Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the milk, juice and zest. Add the milk mixture to the egg yolks and whisk vigorously.
Pour into the baked pie shell and top with meringue. Bake at 350° until meringue tips are golden. Chill 2 hours.


3 Egg Whites
1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Vanilla

Beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla and beat until peaks form.

(To contact Shirley, please send emails to john.bulletin@gmail.com or write to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, Tx. 77516)