Thursday, July 18, 2013
The last two weeks, I was in Roswell (GA) once again. Morris has recovered from his surgery completely. He has started very aggressive chemo treatment and I was there being my favorite thing to be: part of the family. It rates low on the cool scale for ministries and is anything but glamorous, but it's exactly where God wants me to be. And like any good ministry, it tests my patience, makes me sometimes snarly, causes unexplained outbursts of laughter and tears (well actually, I could explain them) and guarantees a good night's sleep.
In the extended family there are six elderly members (three couples) who are in crises varying from Alzheimer's to cancer to broken hips to just too feeble to be alone. My mother and Morris are the most independent and are the only ones living in town, and so I had it relatively easy. I had time for practicing music, reading and reflecting on all this. My brother and sister-in-law are still on the move between our parents and her parents and full time jobs. It's a mess for them.
Before I left St. Pete, I took out a bag of letters that I had found about ten years ago in the attic when my mother moved out of my childhood home. They were the letters I had received my first year of college from my parents, grandparents, my brother, high school friends and three (count 'em....one-two-three) boyfriends. I sat in the middle of my bedroom floor and had myself, as a country singer once wailed, "a night to remember" (get it?)
It took me back to another world, another me and yet the same. I wondered what the me who received those letters would have thought of the me reading them on the floor......one me full of anticipation of a college degree and a great career, and the other me savoring the fruit of retirement.......one me anxious to meet the beau who would win my heart, the other me once divorced and now widowed.....one me dreaming of someday moving to the seashore.....the other me recollecting beach walks and snorkeling days with my children ....one me smiling as I read my parents' letters full of pride and encouragement......the other me still missing my dad and wondering how things could change so much so quickly.
This passage of time thing is profound to me. I have gone through periods in my life when I was stuck and couldn't move past this or that. Then I have had times when adventure pounded on the door like Tolkien's rollicking dwarfs, and I couldn't wait to leave a trail of dusty memories and head out for Rivendell.
Right now, I'm somewhere in between. Spending time in Roswell gives me perspective on my life's timeline. I have coffee with friends I knew in first grade, revisit stories that help define my place in the family (Yep, I'm definitely the smart one!) and try to forge a highway that will take me back and forth, not just from state to state, but from then to now.