Linda Brooks Davis

Leaving Fingerprints

Ce Ce Caldwell Benningfield left her fingerprints everywhere.

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Ce Ce’s headscarf set her apart in more ways than one, all of them beautiful.

I met Ce Ce at a five-day residency for twelve aspiring authors, part of the Christian Writers Guild‘s year-long Craftsman course. Our instructors were Jerry B. Jenkins, DiAnn Mills, Dr. Dennis Hensley, and McNair Wilson.

What a privilege. 

What a week.

Three and one-half years later, I can recall certain sights and sounds, some from the presentations, some from the Cliff House at Pike’s Peak, and others from quaint and beautiful Manitou Springs. I remember my most important take-away as a writer, words spoken by Jerry B. Jenkins: Get the story down.

But the most vivid image isn’t of a speaker or a PowerPoint slide or a critique. It’s fingerprints left by Ce Ce, her bald head covered in a headscarf and her look-you-in-the-eye, speak-the-plain truth, never-give-up attitude. Ce Ce Benningfield’s headscarf set her apart in more ways than one, all of them beautiful. (Tweet That!) 

We were not in the same small group, so I didn’t spend as much time with Ce Ce as I would have liked. But I observed her, all the time wondering, If I were in Ce Ce’s shoes would I face cancer as bravely? (Tweet That!) Would I speak of my five children–the youngest’s adoption only recently finalized–with such strength of purpose and  fierceness, completely devoid of self-pity?

Observing her then and following and interacting with her on Facebook since brought the beauty of Ce Ce’s fingerprints into focus. In some of her Facebook posts her tell-it-like-it-is attitude has brought out my full-throated laughter–and, frankly, my awe at her boldness.

Ce Ce’s fingerprints of devotion to children–some, her former students; some, victims of abuse and neglect; and others, her own flesh and blood and heart–was beautiful to behold. 

Ce Ce’s fingerprints of fearlessness in living and speaking her rock-solid faith convicted me in more ways than one. (And reminded me of the heroine of The Calling of Ella McFarland.)

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Ce Ce left beautiful fingerprints

How is it a 47-year-old young woman can leave her fingerprints on a much older woman who knew her so briefly and at such a distance? I think the answer lies in a closer examination of the fingerprints. 

Ce Ce’s fingerprints are shaped like Jesus’. 

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:14

NOTE:
Obituary found at bit.ly/1sQ3gB4. 
Memorial service: 10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 28, 2016 at Tomball Bible Church, 400 N. Walnut, Tomball, TX 77375. 

In lieu of flowers, please make a monetary donation in the name of CeCe Benningfield to Hospice Brazos Valley, 302 E. Blue Bell Rd, Brenham, TX 77833 www.hospicebrazosvalley.org

4 thoughts on “Leaving Fingerprints

  1. Beautifully said. You nailed it. She was indeed a leaver of fingerprints all over the place. An energizer bunny spreading her love for the Lord, speaking the truth always, and sending you into fits of laughter with her precious wit. Love her! Going to miss her a lot.

    1. So glad you left a comment. Isn’t it amazing how CeCe, even now, is bringing people like you and me together? We’ve never met and yet we understand one another. God bless you as you miss her and find her fingerprints everywhere. Love, Linda

  2. I was fortunate enough to get to call CeCe my daughter-in-law. Such beautiful words written about such a beautiful soul. Thank you for your poetic words. We that were in her life were the lucky ones.

    1. Oh, Letitia, how blessed you are to have been CeCe’s mother-in-love. I’m blessed to have known her in a small way. I pray God’s sweet presence on CeCe’s family and friends as you learn to live without her, although she’ll live in your hearts and memories. And, of course, through her fingerprints. Love, Linda

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