My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Everybody is doing these "thankful" facebook status updates and I love 'em, I promise I do. It just feels like it's not enough to be thankful for a few weeks out of the year. Not judging - most of them that I'm reading are from people who I KNOW are living lives full of gratitude. But for ME, to whom much has been given, a few facebook updates would not even come close to honoring the blessings in my life. Yes, my life. You know, the life where I live with pain every day and am running out of the last of my life's savings and where so very much is uncertain... that life is so blessed.

My dearest Purple Michael lost his mother today. How can I not be grateful for the woman who puts up with me and is always interested in what is happening in my life? How can I tell you how much of a safety net she has always been for me? Who else in the world loves my kids as much as I do (and sometimes more)? Who else would wear herself out making sure that every living creature in the house is comfortable, right down to the fish in the little tank? I don't even have the words to comfort him because I can't imagine life without my mother.

How can I adequately express gratitude for a father who never quits, is always willing to go above and beyond, who cares so very much that everyone know and understand the love of God? How can I explain what it's like to be a 45 year old unemployed woman without a husband and yet never worry about what will become of me?  How can I explain how well I understand the concept of a Heavenly Father because I have had an Earthly father who would do anything for his kids and grandkids? I know about grace because he taught me.

How can I, in a few words on facebook, adequately explain the immeasurable pride I have in my kids? Two are such hard workers, respected in their jobs, reliable, responsible... and the other one will be one day, too. It's in his blood. All three are people who take care of the people in their lives. They are good husbands and boyfriends. They are considerate. They are always willing to do whatever their grandparents need them to do. How can I explain how precious it is that my roommate almost every day comes to me and says, "is there anything you need me to do?" and it's only occasionally because he wants something in return. How can I explain the joy that comes from watching them and their friends grow up into good people? To know that I had something to do with who they are... it's a far greater reward than you ever expect out of parenting.

How can I help you understand what it means to live here, in this house, on this lake, in this town? Can you imagine going to the pharmacy to pick up six medications and finding that the cashier is willing to check all six medications against all three discount programs you belong to so that you get the absolute best price you can possibly get? Can you imagine the feeling of community that includes conversation between two different check out lanes at the grocery store, that end in laughter, turning a somewhat dull chore into a real pleasure? I know that it's not like that everywhere. I don't know what I did to deserve this town but I don't take it for granted. You can always tell if someone is a tourist because they don't smile at you when you walk past them in a store. Home folks always smile at each other because you know that if you don't know them you most certainly know somebody they know. There is never more than a degree and a half of separation here and it makes me feel so safe.

And the things that might not matter so much to you that mean the world to me... being able to have the luxury of and being able to find out so much about the people who came before me. To know both by records and by family oral history that I come from such a great legacy, not always financially. The strength that comes from knowing that my ancestors were people who followed their convictions, people who loved their neighbor, people of faith and strong character... those strong roots make me feel stronger than I would otherwise be.

I'm so thankful for three little kitty cats at the end of my bed. There are plenty of comfy places all over this house for them to nest but they want to be here with me. I'm thankful that I make them feel safe and loved.

I'm thankful for Mondays with my nieces, that I get to hear their stories and help with their homework and watch their tv shows. I'm thankful that I'm not a stranger to them and that they still enjoy spending time with me. I'm thankful that I had good aunts and uncles who were present in my life and showed me how to be a good family member. I'm thankful for my dozens of cousins, the people who share my DNA or at least share an ancestor or two. I feel like I'll never really be alone on this earth as long as I have my cousins. I'm thankful that I can always pick right back up where we left off. I'm thankful that there are no obligations but lots of invitations.

I'm thankful for the life of my grandmother and her sister, my Steel Magnolias. At Grandma's birthday party, her sister, Aunt Bette, asked me how I was and looked me in the eye and said, "I worry so much about you" and it made me feel so loved! Nobody speaks more genuinely than she does. She has this huge family, six kids, I don't know how many grandkids and a great-grandkid born every couple of months but she has time to reach across to extended family and truly care what's happening. Maybe other families are like that but it feels so unique and unheard of today. And I know, that here again, this is the legacy of love that was passed down from her mother and although Grandma Ward has been gone for 38 years, I know that the love I feel from my Steel Magnolias is what they felt from their mother. I just pray that I will be a good steward of that legacy and that I have the conviction to pass along that sort of unconditional love.

I have an expensive test that I'm taking next week and I am blessed that someone was able to take care of that expense for me. I am blessed that I'm able to have a computer and the opportunity to connect with the world in a way that I might not otherwise. I'm so thankful for the upcoming holidays. I don't know yet if I'm going to be up to traveling to the big Thanksgiving Day meal at my Cousin Christie's. If I had to have gone today, I couldn't have done it. But there are sometimes good days and you never know. Yet I also know that my family loves and accepts me for who I am, wherever I am and that keeps me from going into the depths of depression. I know that I'm not "out of sight, out of mind". I know they all care.

I'm so grateful that I can look back over my life and see a tangle of weeds, a long bumpy road, a lot of pit stops and breakdowns along my journey. The living has not been easy but the challenges have made me strong. It turns out that I'm an expert explorer because I've never gotten so far off track that God couldn't set me back on the right path. I don't fear what lies ahead because nothing has stopped me yet. I've had adjust my attitude and expectations along the way but I always made it to the destination. I always seem to be right where God wanted me to be, right at the prescribed hour. I live my life by Divine Appointment and I intend to continue to let him have control of the calendar.

My love for the people in my life, my appreciation for the blessings that God has given me courtesy of so many wonderful, generous people in my life. I don't know how my budget works between now and the next time some funds are added to my account but I know it will. I have complete peace that there is a plan in action and when God is ready, He'll bring me into the loop. And until then, I'll just know that it's going to be ok. The muscle spasms tonight, they're going to be ok. The sinus headache and earache that have bugged me over the last 24 hours, they're going to be ok. Wherever I go and whatever I do, I trust that God will guide me there and if necessary, we'll let Jesus take the wheel.

It's November 12th. Not even halfway through the month and the blessings are overflowing to the point that I could write a long post like this every day and just barely scratch the surface. And I thank God that He puts me in a valley long enough that I can see what the mountaintop looks like. It's not all sunshine and rainbows so I get to appreciate those occasional storms with the knowledge that God is just making me stronger so that I'm ready for the next bump in the road.

So many of you have become a daily or weekly part of my life. I consider you my sisters/brothers/cousins/nieces/mothers - whichever role you think fits, feel free to assume it. I just know that in every time I've cried - or cried out - somebody has heard me every single time and every time I'm feeling low, somebody stands in the gap for me and picks me up and helps me dust back off. You do that for me. You make me feel like my life matters. I'm so thankful to have a life with purpose. Thank you for giving me purpose.

And my prayer is that as we go through this season that you are acutely aware and passionately appreciative of the unique ways that you have been blessed. I would love for you to share them with me, if you would.

Love and hugs, y'all.


monique said...

This is one awesome entry.
Thanks for writing.
m~ xoxox