Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Life in Simplest of Terms...With a Tint of Rose

Loving Life Exactly as it Comes
I never gave much thought to the old song by The Byrds, “Turn, turn, turn…to everything there is a season….a time to every purpose, under heaven.”  It’s an adaptation from a biblical verse in Ecclesiastes, which talks about there being a season for everything.   Always liked the tune, but seldom gave it a second thought.

But as I look back on 2016 and my own changing seasons, I see a lot of truth in the words to this song.  For me personally, it was a time of great learning and growth…sometimes fed by a hunger and passion to do and know more…and still other times in a way I felt was a bit of kicking and screaming, reluctant to accept new realizations and make room for growth within myself. 

And in thinking of those simple seasons, I am reminded of the garden I grew over the summer…a hodge podge of vegetables and fruit…and how it helped me to come to appreciate life in its simplest of terms.

As I have adopted this new lens for living, I am reminded of a very special person from my childhood.  It is actually my mom’s best friend and I have always considered her to be like a second mom to me.  She is the most optimistic and happy person I have ever met, and lives life through the lens of the proverbial rose-colored glasses. 

For over three decades, in every card or note she sends, she always signs it, “I love you, Mary Girl.”  I don’t know why, but that sweet endearment always gives me a warm feeling inside and though its been at least ten years since I have seen her, I feel loved and feel certain that if I were to see her again, it would be as if no time had passed at all.

She is now in her 70s and has never had a driver’s license.  She found that her two feet always took her wherever she needed to go, and she always enjoyed the journey along the way.  She could turn the simplest of meals into the most elegant affair, simply by pouring apple juice over ice into a couple of wine glasses.  She would create an intimate atmosphere and talk aloud of how we would make a dinner and I would hang on her every word…waiting to hear how we were going to finish off the meal with fresh strawberries and shortcake. 

Her mood and attitude was infectious and I loved spending time with her.  She took pleasure in her own garden, a garden full of plump red tomatoes growing from potted plants on her small patio and front porch.  Each evening, as she sprayed her sidewalk down with the hose, she would seem to become lost in a daydream, with a faraway look in her eyes.   Looking back, I think it was just a true and genuine feeling of contentment for every single thing in her life.  She is the kind of person, who treasures every second and never wastes a minute.

And while I have appreciated that unique perspective, I never really saw myself as the kind of person, who had the knack for turning everything into a positive. 

But in recent years, and in facing a few challenges and struggles, I think maybe her early influence in my life rubbed off when I wasn’t looking.  In most of my writing and in nearly every situation, I seem to take on a Mary Poppins-like approach.  Even in my darkest moments, I’m still making sugar cookies out of whatever ingredients life hands me.  And remembering how she always saw things as a positive or as a sign that the path forward was not meant to be.

I used to laugh when I would see the snapshots she would send to me of her garden, flowers, and vegetables…all carefully and reverently posed on a counter or in a basket, with a note written on the back about where she grew them, how they tasted, and who she was with.

Well I’m here to tell you that she was a woman of vision and innovation…and if Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram had been a “thing” years ago, she’d be a media maven to be reckoned with.  Because while many of us live our moments online, one tweet or post at a time, this sweet lady has been living and breathing … taking it all in for her own personal enjoyment, sometimes sharing it with her close knit family and friends…since there was film that had to be mailed away to be developed and printed.

So when I think about my own sharing this past year…through I-phone pictures and via Facebook, Blogger, and Instagram, I have to smile at the thought that perhaps I was a late blooming protégé for this wonderful and inspirational woman.

I now see my life in the simplest and most rewarding terms of measure …my life is a garden, subject to those changing seasons we all go through.

And in 2016, there has been a time to weep, heal, break down, and most importantly, a time for peace. 

And to my dear friend, Gail…thank you for teaching me how to make every moment in life special…with wine glasses, candles, and rose colored glasses!   May happiness and positive momentum follow us all in 2017.  And may that special lens help adjust the view for times less stellar as we all move through all the seasons of life.

Your Mary-Girl
Taken from my Christmas letter this year...

Lyrics to “Turn, Turn, Turn”

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