Like Him

Our parents let us play in the woods, made us eat our vegetables and took us to bed and breakfasts on vacation.

One of these places was nestled in a New York state village, few minutes from where Almanzo Wilder grew up. We picked apples from his orchard and the next morning woke up to breakfast in a white kitchen.

The B & B owner was chatty and despite her intentions to leave us be, she ended up sitting at the table with us. She was unaccountably enthralled with our life, where we lived and where we were going.

She told Millie and I that we were such strong and healthy looking girls, which I didn’t think was complimentary then, but now I know better.

And near the end of our meal she leaned forward and said, “Girls. Make sure you find a man who treats you like your dad.”

We felt embarrassed and squirmed at the urgency in her voice. She didn’t say it because it was a nice thing to say. She said it out of fear and experience, knowing that kindness is special.

Years later, when my sister’s co-workers were amazed by a man that would wait and listen, I thought about the B&B lady’s words.

And when Dad put my hand in another man’s open palm, I thought about it again. How one had taught me to inform an opinion, and the other loved to hear them.

How Dad modeled analysis over drama. Forgiveness over gossip. Reading a book over seeking greener grass. How to enjoy Jim Croce, hugs and coffee ice cream and how to suck it up and do your taxes.

And how the man I married cherishes who I am and when I figure stuff out by myself and how excited I get about making things from scratch.

Shoes are always too big to fill and some are meant to stay on a person’s feet forever. But my dad’s worn out dress shoes made a straight path that showed me how a man is meant to love.

So to that lady somewhere in New York, I didn’t marry the same man as my father, but I married one who lives like Him, the one Father. And that, it turns out, is kind of the same thing

Thank you, Dad.

 

Where Did You Come From?

When I miss you most, I’m driving down a strange split road, where people drive 65 mph and stop at lights on a dime.

I miss you when I’m paralyzed with indecision about whether this store, an unfamiliar sign and front, will have what I actually want.

When I get in the car and just circle aimlessly, wishing I knew where to find the green space that I’m craving.

Where to find the friendliest librarians, the freshest produce, the cheapest thrift items.

All the things I took for granted when I knew every route like the back of my hand, when I could expect the rhythm of every restaurant and hiking trail.

I miss strangers knowing exactly who my parents are and the trust that extends from familiar face to familiar face.

A warm sweetness of blossom and asphalt hang around my door now, interrupting the crisp apple of a memory. Fresh bread greets my mind when I walk through the doors of my hometown and I’m hungry for it.

Hungry for the comfort of knowing and being known. Wherever we are, this is the human search in our food, our hobbies, the places we go. Doesn’t a baby know exactly where it belongs because that is where it finds comfort?

You can love something new, while still missing the old and that is my constant balancing act, my privilege, challenge and bitter sweet joy in this season.

And I have to ask. What do you miss the most about where you came from?

 

Dear Little Lippy

To the girl you are and about to be, learn to laugh. It will help.

Those excuses you make? The verbal twists and denial? Just shake it out in the wind and while you’re at it toss the temper next. Slamming doors will never make you feel better.

Learn to apologize because you are grieved with your wrong doing, not because you hate conflict. Ride out the silence until you can say the words right, to God and your friend.

Waste no time wondering if you are pretty or have personality. This is only obvious to the people around you and seeking reassurance will interfere with the business of actually living.

Kill worry and turn it into prayer. Every time your sensitive stomach twists for the people around you, beat Heaven’s gate in confidence on their behalf.

Trust God. That what He says is truer and better than you will ever know. Trust that He does not hold secret suffering to tease you with and believe that His kindness will never stop.

Thank the people around you. See the world through their eyes, the brother, sisters, parents, old man and don’t be afraid to acknowledge their quiet greatness.

Play as hard as you can. Don’t be embarrassed by your own imagination. Eat popsicles and rhubarb pie. Hold lots of chickens.

And in awhile, you will grow up.

 

 

NaPoWriMo: Trimeric

This time, (in honour of the last few days of National Poetry Writing Month) I wrote a trimeric.

come with me for the evening

to calm quiet woods

eyes ahead to the dusk

while our world fades to dark

to calm quiet woods

where tall trees still prove

that deep roots take flight if given the room

eyes ahead to the dusk

where the water invites

 bold chorus of peepers, brassy song in the night

where our world fades to fuss

a forgotten stale anthem

for here there is nothing but him, i and love granted

Five Minute Friday: Sing

I’m shy about singing when I know people are listening. I don’t want them to think my private enjoyment is actually meant as performance for them.

I remember Mom once telling me that I didn’t sing as much as I used to and that she missed it.

We second guess ourselves too much.

I try to shake off the self conceit from time to time. Perhaps with practice it will become second nature and recently I caught a glimpse of that.

Walking through the store I sang to myself, not realizing it and when I did, not caring.

I know people who will burst out anywhere at anytime and I hope to become that someday. Less worried about myself and simply glad to give voice to what’s on my heart.

To sing is a deep expression of attitude and choice, deeper than I realized as the child that my mother heard from her office chair.

And now, choosing to find my way back to that girl, I’ll give voice again to those watermelon sweet days.