gail song bantum

blog on identity, leadership, discipleship

advent, black lives, and 25 days of changing the narrative – day #8

the truth is, sometimes, god just brings folk into our lives in unexpected ways. this dear woman is certainly one of them. and, as much as i’ve scoured through my files, there’s sadly no picture to be found. she was “presence” in the truest form.

day 8 – december 7

ms. adrienne

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ms. adrienne was a wonderfully wise woman, who happened to work as a house keeper at duke divinity school. for those who know me well, you know i had a lot of insecurities about going back to school – especially since i hadn’t been in school for a decade prior! i also had my hands full with 3 little kids and doing ministry on the side. ms. adrienne was a comforting presence in the midst of all the craziness. my second and third years of school, we ended up having lunch together pretty regularly on wednesdays or thursdays in the student lounge.

amidst many stress-filled days of trying to get my papers and reading done, she was a consistent voice of grounding and perspective in my life. she would share stories with me about her life and family – caring for her husband, laments about her broken tv, the various pains she had in her body, and her wish to go on a cruise someday. those moments of conversation may not have paralleled the intellectual rigor engaged in class, but the presence and life she offered me was deeply profound.

ms. adrienne encouraged me and ALWAYS told me “don’t be afraid” and “you’re gonna make it!” she used to also bring my sons little treats whenever i brought them with me to class. i remember looking for her everyday i entered the halls of that school.

i’m truly humbled and grateful to have known her in my life, even for those few years. sadly, after my family moved away to seattle, i heard that ms. adrienne passed away… life is precious. to many students, she was just the school house keeper. to me, she was truly a gift.

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