To the country, a big white house, grandma’s house.
It was a sneaky kind of longing all around a breakfast choice, wishing for breakfast at my grandma’s…doors wide open to the wrap around the front screened-in porch.
I always loved the narrow little side porch, a good place to be tucked away.
Last Sunday morning, I found myself wanting what couldn’t be again.
That kind of floating around in your mind of all things changing.
The knowledge of not being able to be in that place, with those people again, not a cumbersome sadness dragging around all Eyoreish….
Just an almost sweet ache. I had written about the look on my son’s face at graduation, and my sister-in-law commented:
“Feeling melancholy, sis?” Dianne
And it stuck. Why yes, I believe I am and by the way, Thank you for putting a name to my longing, my wistful thinking
Also, thank you for calling me “sis”.
That made me smile in the simplest and sweetest of ways.
Melancholy feelings on a Sunday morning,
Wishing for, what back then I thought silly, odd old people ways.
I opened the refrigerator for milk, thinking I’ll have cereal and banana for a change.
Instead of protein boredom and sameness, I immediately thought corn flakes in the big white, bright rooster box and I went for the closest we had in the cabinet.
Remembered the wilted, golden floating, softened flakes… me, at Bama’s tipping the bowl to get every last drop of milk flavored with thick sweetness of cream.
I was thinking about my grandma’s sweet milk, tiny pancakes and coffee with cream from a can, poured into the saucer of a cup to cool so I could then sip along with her.
So, instead of two percent, I grabbed the pint of light cream purchased earlier for something, can’t even recall.
I poured it over my flakes and bananas, its creaminess settling amongst the fruit and flakes, finding its way into the ridges of the flakes and sinkin’ into the bananas.
I tasted home, sweet country dirt road, playing baseball with my cousins on the clay front yard home.
The sweetness of simple, of sparseness, of sameness…of small things that happened with spontaneity.
Again on Wednesday, I thought of Bama, my grandma. I moved into my morning, the lingering melancholy of accepting change, difference, good and worthy transitions…blue, nonetheless.
Waking up feeling complacent, doubtful…needing to surrender but not really feeling hopeful or too thrilled with letting go…
I journaled in the quiet marking my little notes to self. Remembering my grandma in the dim tiny light, her Bible in her lap. I made more notes on prayer.
Lately, God has called my heart and beckoned my attention towards prayer. That morning, empty house except a snuggled down beagle and lab puppy (like a toddler) waiting beside the door, I sang in the shower; free, confident and joyously affirming “Tell it to Jesus” Lisa.
Are you weary, are you heavy hearted? Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus. Are you grieving over joys departed? Tell it to Jesus alone.
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus, He is a friend that’s well known. You’ve no other such a friend or brother, Tell it to Jesus alone.
I’m linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee and am thankful for a chance to Tell My Story, His story. http://jenniferdukeslee.com/tellhisstory-the-first-step-to-authentic-friendship/
Everything started moving really quickly. May felt like two days, not a month. Your birthday, on the 29th and I thought, “Didn’t we just get done with Christmas and your first car and making the AllStar team with your buddies, all lined up, gangly legs swinging along the side of the pool?”
Seriously, wasn’t it just a little while ago that bedtime meant Spot stories and afternoons were Tellie Tubbies and Clifford the Big Red Dog? I feel like it was just yesterday, on a Sunday just like today…warm outside, summer time waiting for us to get home from church…that you caught me off guard, stepping from our pew and down the aisle to open your heart and life to Jesus. And I cried, not big showy tears, sweet soul-filled tears.
And it seems not so very long ago that you’d fall asleep in my bed. Not long ago that I’d pick you up from daycare to find you usually on the playground. I’d walk towards the window after gathering your things and I’d watch for just a bit. Mamas do that. Sometimes you’d be sitting in the sand and I’d smile because I knew your sharp little blue Keds and socks would need to be emptied first thing.
Sometimes, it seems I’d find you in thinking mode. You’ve always been my thinking child. And I could see you watching the other little boys and girls, content to sit and gaze. I can see so clearly your little elbows on your knees, your chin cupped in your little hands. Or sometimes running around, laughing as you toddled on cute, chubby little tan legs, blonde hair glistening from the sun.
But most of all, I saw you waiting, your face intently focused and your little mind’s clock anticipating my arrival, waiting to hear my voice, your name…”Austin I’m here.”
Are you here yet?
And this is why I can’t take my eyes off this one shot.
My daughter, making allowances for my lack of discretion, captured this gem. I told her…”Catch him looking, he’s scaninng the room. Hurry, get that shot!”
My son, looking to see if I had arrived. Waiting to see me there. On the day of his graduation, knowing I was there, but looking for me in the crowd. Until finally a barely noticeable, understated nod and just a hint of a reassured smile.
To pose for photos next to nature’s enormous debris.
Standing proudly, smiling prominently as if an honor to be alongside.
The beautiful aftermath.
Storms cannot destroy grandeur.
Cannot diminish courage.
Will not silence or obscure the power of the telling.
The brave sharing of troubles that came.
Of strength that was tested.
Strongly different, altered, broken, but not destroyed.
Softened, perhaps and surrendered by the grace of storm.
Conquerors, enduring hopeful survivors with fascinating stories.
My story, my song…sharing the beautiful afters.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God, through Jesus. We gained this access through faith. So, we can stand and rejoice in the glory of God. We can rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering teaches us to persevere, which gives us character and character reminds us to rely on hope.
Hope does not disappoint us. Hope is God’s love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Romans 5: 1-5
She came to our shelter, she and her daughter, victims of abuse. No family here, all overseas. She had followed her military husband back to our State and ended in a tiny little town with a damaged, injured, bitter husband.
He became violent. They, afraid and alone hiding in a closet from threats of a shotgun rampage were able to leave safely.
They moved into our shelter and shared a bedroom without a window. Just a room, in a house.
A room of solace. A place at the end of the day with predictable calm.
Undereducated, afraid, cowering in public, over time the fear and anxiety eased. Her daughter blossomed, happy and outgoing. Mama went back to school. I was teary-eyed the day I saw them both baptized.
Months later, in their own place, mama has a job and a car. This is what we define, in non-profit logic model language, a successful outcome.
She is now a member of our Board.
Yet, today she came by to announce a new job with a better salary and benefits. I hugged her and asked when she starts. “That’s the thing, she said, I’m afraid to give my notice, I am so afraid.”
“You don’t like conflict do you, you worry about their reaction, right?” She said, “Yes, I know they are going to be mean.”
I continued, suggesting she read a devotional or scripture in the morning and pray. “Handle it the very first thing.” I said. My assistant added, “You have no reason not to improve yourself, no one would blame you.”
She heard, but wasn’t listening, agonizing over what she had to do. We typed up a resignation letter and she was a little better.
I hugged her again, and reminded her of her timeline with us, every single baby and big step, knowing this new step would make her even stronger.
I turned to my assistant announcing, “And that is what being physically and verbally abused to the point of hiding in a closet will do to you. ”
But it gets better over time, easier with each and every facing of fears, of angry people, controlling people, people who have insecurities, problems of their own.
Today was a gift, a reminder of redemption.
A chance to share what I know.
The gift of perspective, the courage to use my past hurts, fears, anxieties and sorrows even, for good…for God.
Courage is a good thing, good made better and better with every challenge.
Years ago, I was responsible for a camp outing for boys and girls. These children were handpicked based on the probability they would not be able to go to camp…this cool, adventurous camp made up of children of engineers, doctors, attorneys and such. We decided to bring in speakers who could share how they became a leader.
My guest arrived and I prepped him, suggesting, “Recall a time in your life of struggle or challenge and simply share how you got through and why you are stronger for the struggle.”
He replied, ” I don’t have anything to share. I have not experienced struggle.” So, he stood, towering over a group of children sitting “criss-cross applesauce” and talked about himself and his accomplishments.
I have often pondered this. Is it possible to never experience misfortune? Is it possible to have been so fortunate that things were easy, no struggle, no yearning, no valleys…all peaks?
The fortunate ones, the ones without struggle, without challenge or sorrow…the ones who insist they’ve had no challenge…”it ain’t me, I’m not the fortunate one”.
I’m the one who thinks too much. Who laughs at herself, who embraces her imperfections, who smiles when a bird sings its morning song. Who shares her story, raw, real and true.
I’m the fortunate one who knows everyone has struggles…but only a few of us are courageous enough to use our stories for good…for God.