I’ve been sorting through some plastic bags full of loose photos that my sister culled from my parents’ collection, trying to get them labeled and put away. It’s chaos in those bags, let me tell you. It’s as if a time machine barfed out 50+ years of this and that, and only a small portion of it labeled.
I found this:
I can’t tell if I was picking dahlias from my mom’s garden or my grandpa’s, but I must have had permission or else nobody would be taking my photo. They’d be searching for a switch to tan my hide.
I also found this:
That’s me and my sister. We are obviously thrilled to have this moment recorded for posterity. Maybe we knew we’d one day look back and be horrified by how we dressed in the ’80s.
And then I found some things that weren’t photos. Copies of my kids’ birth announcements. Copies of some of the Christmas letters I used to send, back when I was willing to freak out over getting them done. And then this:
It still has unused rations in it. The back of the book encourages people to not buy anything they don’t need and reminds them that this is their part of the war effort. There is a sense of “we’re in this together” in that little book.
I held that small ration book in my hands, aware that my Aunt Lenora, now with Jesus, once held it in hers. She was only 21 and it would be decades before I was born. Her world was so different from mine. And yet, who I am cannot be separated from who she was and how and when she lived. She began speaking into my life before I ever took a breath on the planet, and she didn’t stop even when she drew her last one.
I love that I have this little book of hers. I don’t come from money. The few things that have been passed to me from my family are of practical use: a rock maple rolling pin, a couple cast iron chicken fryers, some hand-embroidered hankies. No fancy china, no jewelry, no trust funds. I don’t mind. I love knowing that I’m eating chicken fried in the same skillet that fried chicken for my grandmother when she was a little girl. I love rolling out Christmas cookies with the same rolling pin that rolled out biscuits for my mom and her siblings. It reminds me that heritage and legacy are about so much more than money and stuff.
Sometimes I consider that future generations may once day sort through my things. Maybe they’ll sift through old letters (remember those?) or rummage through my jewelry box, which has only a little jewelry and a lot of mementos tucked away in it.
Maybe they’ll find this blog. What will they think of what they read here? Will they wonder why I didn’t use spellcheck more often? Will they think I’m a broken record, saying the same thing over and over again in different ways? Maybe they’ll think I’m totally lame and sooo last century.
I hope that in the end, there will be no question about a few things. Like how hard I chase after the God who never fails to catch me. And how much I value the power of love and creativity. And how little I know, but how much I hope.
And I hope it will be enough.