Every summer we traveled past the cornfields of south Georgia
I marveled at the tall green stalks swaying as we passed by
My brothers played Punch Buggy and Beaver –
Hitting each other while I dreamed out the window
Every summer as we came into the rolling hills of north Georgia
I marveled at the highway cut right through the red clay and gray rock
My brothers argued over “v” in the alphabet game
While the flatlands of Florida melted from my mind
Every summer when we arrived at Mamaw’s house
I breathed in the sweet scent of the magnolia next to the gravel drive
My brothers inspected the old shed full of ancient tools and treasures
While I admired the claw foot tub and inhaled the soft fragrance of Dove soap
Those were the days of cousins and fireflies and Red Light-Green Light
Where we snuggled up on the creaky couch to laugh at old photos
The fuzzy black and white TV droned in the background
Every summer in Georgia felt like going home
Me and my brothers – before they were punching each other
I wrote some thoughts on death a few weeks ago, and I wanted this to go hand-in-hand with that post.
We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as microscopic swarm, the lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks late, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother’s birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us. -from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I love this description of the beginning of life. Job knew all about life and death. Oh to be like Job; to learn how to accept when the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like “if.”
But we are always optimists when it comes to time: we think there will be time to do things with other people. And time to say things to them.
We fear it (death), yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.” – from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
That last quote about fearing that death will take someone else is so true. I know I will die one day, and I don’t want it to be anytime soon. But, I also don’t like the thought of outliving all my loved ones. I have watched my mother lately as she has lost several longtime friends. I guess when you get to be 80 that is bound to happen. But, it still doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, it probably makes you think about death just a little too much.
John (the author’s husband) shrugs his shoulders… “Farmers, we think we control so much, do so much right to make a crop…You control so little. Really. It’s God who decides it all. Not us. It’s all good.” – from One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
“It is our way of looking at life, our interpretation of the universe, our orientation to reality. “ – from Christian Worldview – A Student’s Guide by Philip Graham Ryken
Whenever we bump into the world, our worldview has a way of spilling out. It comes out in what we think and love, say and do, praise and choose. – from Christian Worldview – A Student’s Guide by Philip Graham Ryken
Read that again and let it sink in. … what we think and love….praise and choose… . Much of what I think no one will ever know. But I will, and I must live with it. What I love? I’m afraid what I really love shows in what I write about and talk about. My love for Christ often fades into the background, and that is truly telling. And shaming. My worldview shows in what I choose to do with my time.
I’m beginning to think my worldview needs a little adjustment.
…nowadays people are all thirty-one and wear too tight trousers and no longer drink normal coffee. From A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Even though Ove was a curmudgeon, I have to say I fully get where he was coming from here. There are a few schools I go in to substitute where all the teachers look like they are 31 and, though they don’t wear too tight trousers, they do have faultless hair and snow white teeth and perfectly polished nails. I don’t know what they drink, but I’m guessing some kind of soy milk concoction. But, that’s okay.
Sometimes being around younger adults makes me feel young. Other days it makes me feel my age. Often I can’t relate when it comes to what many of them value. Like when a young couple expecting their second child feels like they need more than a three bedroom house. Or when the conversation turns to the latest iphone and when they are going to get theirs. Or The Walking Dead. I.Just. Don’t.Get.It.
As I sat writing this it dawned on me that perhaps it isn’t always age that really makes the difference. It’s often money and culture and upbringing that puts the wider gap between me and some younger people I encounter. So, instead of being jealous of their snow white teeth or judging them for their too tight trousers, I should accept these things for what they are. And try to know them for who they are on the inside.
After all, I don’t always drink normal coffee. When I don’t, it’s likely to be because a mocha was calling my name.
“Mace, did you ever think that all those people in those cars have a whole separate story to them, that it’s just as important to them as our stuff is to us, and we don’t know anything about it. Maybe sometime we’ll run across somebody and two years ago they were driving past us on the highway and we never knew it.” – Tex to Mason from Texby S.E. Hinton
I often find myself thinking along the same lines as Tex. I look at crowds of people and I wonder what all their stories are – where they are going and what they are doing and thinking. I think about what little specks we are. I even have these thoughts about old buildings. I wonder about the history of the building; what it was originally and what changes it’s been through. I think about all the people that have passed through its doors. I am curious if there is something hidden behind the walls.
I also think about how cool it would be to go back in time. Oh, the things I would do differently. But, sometimes I’d like to go back as a bystander – to see how what I remember really compares to what transpired. And I’d have a notebook to record all those wonderful stories that have slipped away forever from my mind.