I love my audible app from Amazon. It’s a great diversion when I travel, and I’ve grown to love my books so much that I play my favorites while traveling around locally. Can’t sleep? Put audible on; it has a shut off timer! My recent book shared a compelling and true story of a woman who discovered at 8 years old at a pool party the reality of “being different”. After cruel teasing, she went from embracing life as a dare-devil and feeling confident, to wanting to shrink and hide because she was labeled “tubs”. She never saw herself as overweight until the world assured her she was. From that moment on she began to wrestle with who she was, her family’s values, and a sense of belonging. She met a friend who introduced her to a new way of thinking. She would spend the night at this person’s home and their family impacted her. Stepping outside her current viewpoint to see how others lived was liberating. One thing she learned was the value of healthy snacks. This family had apples not a snack drawer. That may seem insignificant, but she shared how she went from sugary snacks, to apple eating when hungry. Her health improved.
I began to think of all the homes I’ve visited in my lifetime. The spend-the-nights, the vacations, and the influence of sitting with other adults and seeing how they viewed the world. As I shared this with my husband, daughter, and her friend, we shared places we would go and visit and their influence. For Parish, it was going to Aunt Marie and Uncle Mike’s house in the summer. She taught him how to sew, cook, go to the library and check out books, swim, and together, while she curled her hair with Dippity Do, they watched Johnny Carson. Valentina’s friend talked about our home, and the good times we’ve had, and that we are a little “crazy”. Agreed.
My heart went to Aunt Shirley, my mother’s sister. She had come to eat with us for July 4, so she was on my mind. When I was a small child I would spend time with her going to church, eating wonderful home cooked meals, sewing, and playing games in her basement, taking walks around her lake, and working in her garden. I remember trying to be so cool that I told her older daughter that I had kissed a boy. They did not believe me, but I tried so hard to be like,”Reallllly, I did!” They were gracious, but assured me that I was lying. I was. Dang it.
Through the years, she has made her love known through letters, gifts, and showing up. She loves my children, and she has such positive things to say–affirming us. She will text me a wonderful God message and lift my spirits. My mother had three sisters and all of them did this for me and my family. Aunt Mary and Aunt Adell have gone on to be with the Lord. I miss them. It seems I blinked, and I turned 50 something.
Take a moment to look back at those people who you spent time with and how they gave of their time. So many, right?! Ask your children to reflect. Talk to your life partner. We often take that time for granted, as if it was just what we did, or happened to do in the moment. Moments add up to years, and you become the sum of your moments. Perhaps God designs our life with moments and people as they come in and out of our lives. We could never keep up with all the people we’ve known, but they are still a part of us in some way.
I’m at a place in my life that even the unpleasant moments–the hard ones. The awkward sleep-overs, the hurtful relationships, and the seasons of life that only seemed to be filled with chaos are all used to shape and mold me. The thorn on the rose is equally important. Perhaps that is why God made the rose this way–to remind us. I remember my first experience with a thorn. We were helping a family move, and I grabbed a rose from their bush, and I was immediately surprised as blood trickled down my hand. I was a child that talked to God constantly, and I remember asking him, “Why in the world would you make something so beautiful, but so painful to capture, or hold?” Oh the budding questions we have as children, and a patient Father who shows us in our life journey, “the why”.
Thank you Aunt Shirley for the moments. I love you….
Remember your moments influence others. Your life matters. How can you be intentional in the lives of others?