Friday, October 22, 2010

Opposite sides of the coin

For no particular reason, except that it's Friday.  Oh, and Grampie and Thyrza left for Baltimore yesterday to see Thyrza's daughter, grandchildren, great-grandchildren for the next two + weeks, I am feeling somewhat free. A little like how I felt the day I took SK to her first day of kindergarten, came home, just got right to work doing the morning chores, same as usual, then suddenly just dropped the basket of dirty laundry right in the middle of the hallway, called a friend and went out for coffee.  Suddenly free for a couple of hours for the first time in about nine years.  That's somewhat how I feel this morning.

I don't think I always realize how much I carry around about these two elderly people who think they're still completely independent, but don't remember when their doctors' appointments are, or whether they've taken their pills (that's just Grampie), and are likely to fall and break something if they get off kilter in the slightest.  The other day we had lunch together (Grampie, Thyrza, Beve and I) and after Beve went back to work, a young woman came in and sat at the table next to us with her small daughter.  The way she had to care for her child reminded me a lot of what I do for these elders when we go out.  Get their food, push in chairs, open and close doors, walk at their pace, watch for traffic, remind them to use their napkins.

As we drove across the state twice last week, we saw the difference in the autumn colors just in two days.  When we drove east on Friday, the leaves were beginning to change, but were somewhat muted.  By Sunday, they were brilliant. Fairly dripping color from every branch of every deciduous tree.  And it struck me that the most vibrant colors in creation come at the beginning and end of growth.  In spring, as trees and flowers begin to bloom, the earth is actually buzzing with bright color.  And so too before the nature world dies for the winter.  And it hit me that I should let this natural color, this created, dappled beauty teach me of the beauty at both ends of a human's life.  Most of us think of babies and their feet that have never walked and their hands that have never worked and their bodies with only the scars of birth as beautiful.  Sweet and soft and untouched beautiful.  But isn't the opposite side of the coin the lined faces and scarred bodies of those who have lived a full span?  The callouses from a working life and the gnarly corns from a walking life--aren't these also a different hue of beautiful?  In God's eyes, aren't the oldest eyes and the youngest eyes just about the same glory, and cycling back to the same moment?  That is, just starting, just ending, and--for those on their way to Him--back home where they began?  I think He sees it that way.  And when I can put aside my expectations (for myself and for them) I can see it that way too.

And now, because it's Friday, and I feel like it, and I came across this, I thought I'd share with you a photo of us, about a dozen years ago, I think.  My Beve when his hair was dark, and my babies when they were still (mostly) in our control.  And of me when I looked...kind of like I do now, actually. E's holding our crazy dog, Sassy, who liked Beve, but had a problem of nipping at children.  She didn't last long with our family.
Compare it with my profile photo...with Jamaica hiding behind me.  These kids have a way of growing up on us when we're busy doing life.  I look at this picture of the younger them and remember how much I liked them at those ages.  But look at the more recent one, and think exactly the same thing--how much I like them now.

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