We are heading home to Florida from Christmas in North Carolina and I am reflecting over the weekend. So many moments I stood back from the hustle of the day and was full of thankfulness for what I’ve been given. Places and things of my past bring back floods of emotions, good and bad. But what I am noticing more and more is how God was speaking to my heart in ALL the memories I have. Possibly moving far away has been the best thing for me because it has allowed me to truly SEE that where I come from was exactly the best beginning He had for me. Perhaps, I needed to be stirred in a way of my uncomfortableness to truly appreciate all of my many seasons that I’ve had in this life.
We went to Murray’s Mill where I remember racing our cars (playing chicken) over the skinny bridge. Late nights after away football games seeing how fast we could go around those curvy roads without tipping my candy apple red, Chevy Cavalier over. I could remember the roaring crowd over those Friday night lights and the fulfillment I had cheering for our home team on the Varsity Squad. Changing clothes after the game, meeting up in the parking lot and heading out to whatever small town gig we could find. In a small town, it was usually a house party with beer or a late night diner for a milkshake. No in between. As long as we were together, life was good. Kissed our mommas and our daddy’s goodbye and piled up in whoever’s truck was the loudest and biggest. I stood on that bridge and I thought how quickly those high school days had come and gone and how thankful I was for the character it had built and how small town living had molded me into who I am today.
At my childhood home, I watched my big girls drive my Pappaw’s truck (that used to belong to Harry Gant) down to the river. I did the same when I was a kid with my daddy. Except it was a 50 something Rambler with torn leather seats and a stick shift. I watched my daddy be a whole lot more patient with my kids than he was with me. Even when my second born steered his golf cart in the old cedar pine, he snickered and laughed. But as I watched him patiently teach and correct my own, I thought about how thankful I was for his correction in my life. That even when it came with emotion and some definite short tempered moments from the both of us, I felt so loved by my daddy. Knowing that he gave his all to parent me, love me, teach me and correct me. Knowing that he had given his all even in his own short comings to bring me the best life he could. I sat and I watch my momma and daddy come to life as they embraced their new chance to love on their grand babies they adore so much. I stood back and saw why they say grandchildren are the best. It’s a do over for many and it’s a time of reflecting on a season that comes and goes too quickly as parents to young children. It’s a time of embracing knowing that this too shall pass as quickly as it came.
I hugged my Mammaw Carpenter for a long time on Christmas Eve. Her frail body enveloped mine as she wiped the tears off of mine and her face. Knowing this is possibly the last time we may see each other, I could see in her eyes that she too, was reflecting on the life that He has given her. Thinking of the past time when I was a kid running and skating in her drive way. Knowing good and dang well how fast life goes.
We visited my Pappaw’s grave and the site where he lost his life on a motorcycle. I was the one who brought my Mammaw to the site where I watched her lay her weeping body over his in the middle of the road. Knowing that this was possibly the very last hug she would give her husband on this earth.
There standing in my parents garage, I felt that same resignation that home for her was near and that she was embracing me with the same intensity that she embraced her husband that fall October day, almost 20 years ago.
She hugged my children and she said I’ll see you on the other side with complete confidence that her life was marked with a job well done and completed check mark by God himself. I knew that the moment was significant and as she walked away gripping her cane, I saw a vision of her running to Heaven. Arms open, Jesus smiling and family reunited.
So as I sit here today in the minivan that is piled high full of stuff, I look at the faces that fill these seats and know that the very best gift I am leaving with is these people in THIS season. That being a mother and wife in my thirties is truly some of my best days and that because tomorrow isn’t promised, I must CHOOSE to maintain this perspective that today is the best day. That no matter what life brings in the future, I can find joy in the focus of today. To wake every day and breathe in the courage to accept today is the only thing God has asked me to focus on.
As we enter the New Year, I will approach life with a new set of eyes. Ones that can take what I’ve been given in the past and allow those memories to remind me that today is ever so fleeting. Today is the day that He has given me and I shall rejoice.
Too easily I find myself waiting for the next weekend, the next vacation, the next fun thing, wishing away the mundane. But the reality is, that if my Mammaw could cook one more meal for my Pappaw here on this earth, she would.
So as I reflect on my life, my past and my future…
I want to appreciate it all. Every frustration, every chore, every person, every day.
To live my best life, I must live my best today.
Merry Christmas from ours to yours. May 2019 bring everything you hope, but mostly I pray for your TODAY. That today would be everything you need.