I’ve been thinking about Heather M. since she shared her fears about the huge changes on their way into her life. I like Heather. I’ve never met her, but I like her. I think she’s brave and humble and honest. I bet you guys do, too. Maybe God does too, and that’s why he keeps “blessing” the bejezus out of her.
I was rereading some letters from Bubba last night, and I came across this one. It’s a letter about hope that Bubba wrote to me after our family’s hardest year. He wrote it the Christmas after Sister’s divorce.
Heather, today this letter is for you.
The leaves are gone. Mother Nature acted up a little. I don’t know where they went. It blew so hard for two days that they were just driven into the wooded areas or scattered so high into the sky that they haven’t had time to float back down again. It blew so hard that birds and little animals clung to the ground or braced themselves behind anything they could find. It toppled heavy swings and chairs and tore hanging things like birdhouses and feeders from their lines. It drove our boats almost, but not quite, onto the docks. And then it slowed and things stopped tumbling and when it finally ended it turned out that there was no lasting damage from it. It looked for awhile like the very water was out of control and would blow away. But that’s not how it really was, that’s just how it felt. Nothing was ruined or wrecked. The wind just carried a message that there is really nothing at all in our control except our reactions and decisions in the face of adversity. In the end it was just a hard blow. Just a lot of stuff scattered around that needed picking up, some adjusting and simple repair and then putting back in place. But then stuff isn’t people.
Last year at this time we were in a very hard blow. The family’s sky was dark and what had appeared to be solidly rooted in the ground and lashed down was torn and flying around us in a personal hurricane wind. The things of our lives flew around like twigs and dust. That storm promised to destroy many things that we hold dear. People were injured and strained to points of breaking. When it appeared to be reaching a crescendo it just intensified and intensified more. It shook the foundations of our very courage and threatened to break our faith. It went on for what seemed like a lifetime. Then, when it looked like it would go on forever and some may not survive, the wind began to slacken, feelings came to the ground. Some hit hard and some floated down but most remained intact. There was damage and it left everyone with a sense that life can not be trusted but in the end everyone was there. In the end there was one more there.
As the chaos began, Tish was born. She came as if to say, “this storm will blow and it will blow over, I’m here to stay. And I’m here to remind you of what is most important and what is possible. I’m proof that when life is most frightening and when life is most unsure that is what life is and life is still well worth it. I’m proof.” And now there is another one coming. Amanda. I can’t imagine how she will change my life, what she will bring me and what she will teach me. I can’t imagine wondering how I ever got by with just Chase and Tish but I know I will. I can’t remember when I wasn’t looking forward to and waiting for another grandchild. I can’t remember what I did before Chase (BC). Not too much I guess. Children always put things into perspective. When you can’t remember what you did before them it’s because what you did before takes a distant second as quick as a baby’s smile.
That’s why I made Tish’s Christmas gift this year. I want her to know, long after I’m gone, what she’s done for me and how much she’s come to mean to me, not to mention to her grandmother. She will soon become the “middle child” with all that comes with that role. So I want her to always have a reminder of her impact and her power to create love and happiness. I want her to have something to look at that tells her that her grandfather found her so special and so inspiring that he felt the need to make for her a symbol of their bond. So that’s what I did this year. I’m still working on it and have been since early November. I’ll have it finished in a day or two. You and Craig will be the custodians of it until she leaves home for her own place or until she marries. If I’m around, I’ll hang it for her. If not, Tisha will hand it to her. If neither of us makes it to that day, there is a letter to her that comes with it.
Storms and adversity come and take stuff and shake our courage and make us afraid of life; kids come and make us wonder why it was we felt so shaken and why we lost courage and they cause us to fear nothing. Thanks for bringing all this courage and joy into our lives.
I love you,