Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Good Ol Days

I MISS THEM!!! Yep, I miss "the good ol days"! As much as I love the modern conveniences of life as we know it, I miss the days of my childhood.  I miss having one phone in a central location, "rabbit ears", the singing of the National Anthem at the end of the television broadcast day, no answering machines or cell phones. I miss that simpler time. The days before social media...ya know, when people thought you had money if you had an electric typewriter and that you were a millionaire if you had a computer at home! Yep, those days are the ones I miss!  Don't get me wrong...I LOVE reconnecting with friends and loved ones via Facebook and email but wasn't life just a little less harried "back in the day"? Sure, we were busy - out and about but if we were out and about we were untouchable to a degree. Anyone who needed us would have to wait until we got home to get us.  There wasn't a constant state of "connected-ness".

I'm forever watching "retro" television. It drives my tribe NUTS!!! My husband constantly ribs me about watching "old tv" and asking me why I want to watch those shows. I think it's because while I'm watching Match Game, The Carol Burnett Show, Gilligan's Island, All in the Family, et al I transported back to that simpler time...the good ol days. A time in my life when my biggest concern was passing an English test or wondering if my high school football team win that week. In reality, I think it mostly revolves around the fact that while I'm watching The Carol Burnett Show or Laverne and Shirley I'm transported (mentally at least) back to my childhood. Back to the days when my "original" family, my first family was intact and life was simple (for me at least)...a time when all three of us were all still on this big blue planet - present in the body. In my mind's eye, I can see my Dad standing at the stove shaking that big stock pot with oil, salt and kernels in the bottom to make popcorn. No microwave or air poppers back then. I can see my Mom laying on the floor in the den with her "husband" pillow; blanket thrown over the vent in the floor to capture all the heat blowing up from the oil furnace. I can see (and sometimes even smell) the live Christmas tree we had every Christmas with the big multi-colored bulbs and the silver tinsel topped with snow from a can. I can see it and smell it and it makes me smile and ache all that same time. It's weird because I'm so blessed and happy in the present...but sometimes I just long for a few moments of the "old days".

I hope that at some point my children, when they are grown and living on their own, they will look back at this time in their lives, their childhood, with the same fondness that I have when I look back on mine. I hope that they see their dad and me "doing" and "being" and I pray it makes them smile.

I think after you release a parent into eternity, the "old days" take on new meaning. As an adult, I've always cherished my childhood and the days at home with my folks. I didn't cherish them while they were happening...I was too busy growing up and too young to realize how absolutely magical those moments, days, weeks, months, years really were - how I wish I'd known!!! I'd have made a point to soak up every hug, smile, laugh, joke and yes even the moments of being disciplined (Yes, even I had to be corrected and sometimes it even required a spanking!! SHOCKING, I know! LOL)

I encourage my children to soak up every moment and to be present in every moment because moments only happen once. It's hard for kids to be present in the moment...but I continue to encourage them to do it. There are so many things that I can only vaguely recall from my childhood and young adulthood...I know there was so much FUN but I can't remember the details. I often have people ask me, "Hey, do you remember when we..." or "Do you remember the time we..." and it makes me sad that I can't always say yes.

I really can't explain the ache or longing that sometimes creeps in but I do know that it brings a beautiful mixture of laughter and tears. Laughter because it all happened and tears because I'll never pass that way again. Make the most of every moment and BE ALL THERE!

Holidays past

NOTE: I started this post during the holidays this year but never here it is.

I find myself a little more sentimental this year than's interesting. Interesting because I keep thinking that it'll get better, that the tears won't be so close and the longing won't be so deep but it doesn't...get better. I had a very dear friend tell me it doesn't get better, it gets different...not better ` we get stronger but it's never better... just different. She's right! I do find that I'm stronger (most days) but that feeling never goes away...never gets better. As the days pass, it just feels different.

The last few weeks, I find myself remembering. Remembering holidays past and it makes me smile and it makes me cry but mostly for that moment the longing seems to ease if only for a moment. I hear an old Christmas tune and I remember Christmases spent at Fincastle in the parsonage. The smell of the real Christmas tree and the oil heat. I can hear my Dad popping popcorn in the metal pot that he had to shake back and forth over the eye of the electric stove.  I can see my mom in her spot on the floor - blanket thrown over the vent to catch the heat as it blows and inflates her blanket (that was a coveted spot, by the way.  I remember Christmas programs in the sanctuary at Fincastle. At the end, Santa would come down the center aisle and all the kids would go home with brown bags full of fruit and candies. I remember big coats, snowy nights and dinners at my grandparents. Nanny Ross' homemade chocolate pies and the coleslaw and ham and Nanny Bruce's. I remember the coal burning stove that heated Papaw and Nanny Ross' house and the buckstove at Papaw and Nanny Bruce's house.

I look back fondly at the holidays I spent with wonderful friends who were more like family while I was at Lee College (University) and at Disney and couldn't get home for the holidays or had to go a little later due to work. Those are still special times and bring a smile when I recall them.

There are so many memories and they are so vivid that most of the time I can smell all those smells. Occasionally, I'll get a whiff of a scent and I'm suddenly 7 years old all wide-eyed with Christmas wonder. It's not that I miss being 7 years old really but I miss that time. A time before smart phones, personal computers  and cable TV. It really was a kinder, simpler, "gentler" time. I miss the faces that sat around the table and those smells and that feeling of excitement. Most of all, I miss my Dad. I know that for the last 3 years, Dad has had a seat at the best banquet and he is surrounded by those faces that I miss. He is happier than he could ever be here in this world...but I miss him. I will miss him for as long as I'm in this earthly vessel but I know where he is and that he is happy and well and safe and I find comfort in knowing this truth.

When God is silent.

NOTE: Another started but unpublished until now post. I've come a bit further in the journey since I initially started writing this post.

Over the last 2 years I've heard a lot of things. I've heard my children laugh, cry and argue. I've heard my husband tell me he loves me and heard him cutting up with the kids. I've heard a lot of sermons, scripture, encouraging words but one thing I haven't heard the voice of God speak to me. He's been silent.

I can say that I've felt His presence, while not necessarily realizing until later that it was indeed His presence in the form of a friend hugging my neck, sending a note, or giving me a reassuring look...I know that it was the Heavenly Father working through folks to minister comfort to my broken spirit.
So, when God is silent is it because He really isn't talking or is it because I'm not listening or can't hear Him because of the chaos in my mind and heart? Let me tell ya, there's been A LOT of that in the last 2 years!!! I have struggled with trusting God and feeling like my prayers are effective. It has seemed to me that the things for which I've prayed have gone the opposite way.  Well, opposite of MY will...there's the rub. Why is God's will not my will and visa versa?  My will should be that God's will be done in my life and the lives of those I love...right?