She wore a nostalgic smile on her face if ever there were a nostalgic smile. I looked at the colored pictures and touched the color as if it was asking.
"I love it," I said. "It's hard to explain, but all those lines and shapes were done by such a different you, and still the same you."
"Feeling introspective today love?" she asked.
"I suppose, but you're standing here right now and I'm looking at something a you I never knew did. I have fun with the paradox."
"You're definitely feeling introspective," she said. "But it is fun to remember."
Such a long time ago, but her five year old artistry was still there. A mish-mash of blue and red, yellow and green mushrooms, fairies, princesses, puppies and flowers.
Dust the book for finger prints. Maybe I'd hope to see five year old mirror image prints of a 30-something year-old woman. I wouldn't hope for it, but maybe Oma's ("Grandma" in Dutch) prints are there too.
My mom found some old letters that she'd written to a friend when she was twelve. Her children gathered one weekend and we found the letters on the table. We enjoyed this hilarious form of history. Mom is forever branded the gossip queen! But her children touched the ink, her ink, and read words of their mother.
I've read letters from my Grandmother, written many years ago. She's long gone, nary a ripple of her breath left, except the letters. I've touched them, grazed over her finger prints. We all know the scratches of pen to paper and I can hear that too...the scratches are left in the wind and the ink maintains it's dark sky blue, the blue you see a moment after dusk when the sun's almost ready to turn her lamp off.
I remember the smell of Grandma's house. The letters used to smell like her house. I guess maybe it's like wine though...there really is no apricots in Chardonnay, but you can smell them anyway. I suppose they smell like my mom's house now.
I enjoy the life God's chosen for me, I do. I can't say that's always been, but...it is now. I'm writing today, it's me, it is. I wonder though, are some of my letters out there? You'll not find any fingerprints here. I guarantee your computer doesn't smell like my house.
Who delights over an uncle? I mean I love my Nephews and Nieces and I know they love me. I have so much fun with them, and anyone who knows me knows that I'd do anything for them; I'd hang upside down on the ceiling if it would make them happy. I'm elated by them, charmed by them. I'm gratified by their happiness. But let's be real; post funeral they won't find my letters and graze their fingers over the ink. They won't read my favorite kid book "A Day At The Zoo" and listen for my six-year old voice memorizing every word. They won't. I believe I'll simply go away.
I don't feel sorry for myself, I'm lamenting and there's a difference. I enjoy God's path for me.
Siblings remember and remember well, but no one has keepsakes of a brother or sister...not many anyway. They'll keep something if they die young, but when they die at 40 or 50...they simply don't. They sinply remember. My children won't keep my things, I don't have any. My letters won't find gleeful groups pining for another line.
Don't tell me it's not a big deal, we all think about it...we want legacies, we want a family line. Many, if not most, if not all of you will live many years after your death by the hands of your children.
I am lamenting, not feeling sorry for myself. I needed to say that again. The sky is blue today and I and my bride are headed out doors and I love that! Maybe we'll hop on the bike and head out toward a late season ride to everywhere, I don't know yet.
Sixty years from now no one will care about my Triumph Adventurer, except for the guy I sold it to that hopefully will keep the classic bike pristine.
Your children will look after you when your gone. I suppose Angels will tend to me.
Who remembers an Uncle anyway? Regretfully, I couldn't make it to all my uncle's funerals. I loved them too. I wanted so bad to be there, but I couldn't. I have some photos, nothing else. My Uncle's children and his bride have the rest. I don't have rights to my Uncle y'know? I don't have anything and I'm not entitled to it because their children carry the articles of legacy. I suppose someone will go through my home and hold a big garage sale. Some of you are in the will y'know. You won't keep the rest most likely, and I know the Angels won't care one way or another. But will my nephews and nieces feel like they have the right? The entitlements?
It's ok actually. The life God's chosen for me comprises of catalytic adventures and I for one tremble gratefully by the hand of my Abba.
Oh but I love my family. We gather together like tidal waves and oragami, sometimes we're a force to be reckoned with, sometimes we're delicate. Actually sometimes we're delusional and sometimes we're amazing and sometimes we're emotional. Sometimes we're reminiscent and sometimes we're aggressive and sometimes we're happy and sometimes we're soulful and sometimes we're joyful. We always delight over each other in good and bad, and...we're always amazing.
Maybe I'll go before my parents do. They'll keep some of my stuff.
I imagine though, that when I'm old, and my nephews and nieces have grown, and my three siblings have grown old with me, that there'll be chatter when I'm gone. They'll remember for awhile.
Chatter doesn't smell like anything. Does it need to? Naw...we'll talk again in Heaven.
But I have some laments, I'm not feeling sorry...my children don't look like me and won't carry my things for me. I don't have any.
And who delights over an uncle? Maybe my nephews and nieces will be gladdened by memory of me. Maybe they'll dust off my old treasure box. I hope so, and don't call that arrogant. We all hope so. It's not self-righteous to desire gladness and not disappointment from friends and family.
I think it's more important though that I won't die alone. I know my family and I will not die alone. I am so grateful to God for allowing me that piece of the path.
I realized recently that all of life mirrors God. Some of you don't believe that. I can't help that you don't believe, but it's true anyway. My mom and dad searched me and they knew me. They followed me day and night. They knew when I sat and when I rose. They hemmed me in from either side and nary a hair could fall from my head without their knowledge. They protected me and guided me. Even when I strayed they were there. They and many others banded me by prayer. Even when I fell their hands raised me up. Therefore even my darkness was not too dark for them. Their hands held me fast...
I lament sometimes, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. You've discovered I'm so very fortunate.
They're just things really; foolish to worry. Foolish.
Of course I'll wait for you in heaven, of course. Everything points toward God.
Talk about a legacy. You and I will not live and will not die alone, on either side of eternal life. The rest is dust. But I encourage you to write...actually write something on a piece of paper. Someone will graze their hands over your ink. Write something and leave the shiny new computer closed.
Delight in each other...please.
I do not feign my soul to keep
To hide in wiles of the deep.
I do not take my life so vein
Resplendent in the prospect wane.
In urushiol green the tine have passed,
A peaceful breath and natures last.
My eyes have seen the earthen mast
And driven forth in dreams and asp.
I yearn to reach the thinning skies
Where oft the eyes of effort lies.
To be more blessed by sanguine breeze
Atop the billows and swarthy trees.
And yet supine and undisturbed
The skies unbroken, not a word.
Acknowledge me this very night!
And break in veins to know my plight.
Each day I wake my hand is filled,
Each day alive and love is willed.
To till the earth and reach the skies
To greet the young, consult the wise.
If I should die before I wake
I pray your grace before them make.
I pray my soul be laid with thee.
I pray my heart be saved for these.
I believe in blossomed joy,
Of Heaven’s poignant mirth.
And I believe, bereft of she
A blackened hole of frightening girth.
But God dost know my spirit’s whim
Designed by time, willed by Him.
And I believe before I die
He walks beside the fire and I.
On the wall a portrait be
Pride of heaven joined by thee.
The bride and groom and sunlight’s glee
A sign you’re never leaving me.
Before I wake, Christ holds our soul
Our fallow breath, our whisper low.
The morning dew the cock does crow
And life again within us sown.
And so each morn I wake and write
Lest we forget love’s even sight
A story binds my nest to home
I shall not die alone.