By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of participating in the Let’s Move, Athens event that was sponsored by MTM’s Jan Matthews and held in the field near the new Sportsplex on Hwy 31. The purpose of the event was to target four areas of need in our community: faith, fitness, finances, and family. It ended up being far more like a family reunion, and I came away from it having “fallen in love” with a whole new “band of brothers…and sisters.”
Caleb Lawler, financial advisor with Edward Jones Financial and I shared an Edward Jones tent, and right next to us was a woman who that day firmly fell in my “fallen in love category.” Her name is Rosemary Sherrod, and she is a web designer, graphic designer, and urban gospel singer. She is also a mom, and she has written a book entitled Believing In The Dark: Embrace What Is Blooming In Your Darkness. I first saw the T-shirt she wore, which bore the same saying on the front, and I quickly said to her, “I like your T-shirt,” and I meant it. I figured with a title like that, Miss Rosemary had most likely been through some stuff, but I had no idea that her “pain-into-purpose” story would affect me so deeply. There was a time late in the morning of Aug 6 that we had a pop-up “gully washer,” and we invited Rosemary to come under our tent to stay dry. As adventures like that can often be, we had fun while we dodged the drops. We talked about being fellow authors, about nutrition and emotional health. I knew I wanted to get to know this woman much better.
What Rosemary did not know was that her gracious gift to me in the form of her book fed my soul on the drive to Illinois where I was about to bury my mother. I put the book next to me on the seat of my truck, and as I glanced down from time to time at her smiling face on the cover, I was comforted. However, I did not start to read the book until I returned from my odyssey. In a word, she “had me at hello,” and then she prepared a feast for me in the presence of my enemies that was “served up” between the front and back cover, and I was not expecting it to nourish me on such a profound level.
You see, Rosemary lost a son to cancer, and Believing In The Dark is the story of their family’s extraordinarily excruciating battle that at the same time can only be described as a towering triumph of God’s amazing grace. It is real, it is raw, and in a good way, it is repetitive. By that I mean that Rosemary makes it very clear over and over and over again what it was like to battle on a daily basis that disease that is indeed damnable, and that even though her son is now in heaven, she knows that their family “fought the good fight” and ultimately, they won.
The book has scripture references that “get the job done,” weaves a story of love and perseverance, and makes you want to surrender all to your Maker, just as Rosemary and her family have done and are still doing.
If you are bereaved, read this book. If you are doing just fine, read this book. If you are “going through hell” and don’t want to stay there, read this book. Whether cancer has personally touched your life or that of someone you know or love, read this book. You just might be amazed at the “moonflowers” that bloom in the dark night of your soul, and emit a heady fragrance in the process.
Believing In The Dark is available on Amazon.com, and through other online retailers. Rosemary’s website is www.believinginthedark.com, and she can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and at firstname.lastname@example.org.