|Unconditional,eternal, immovable love...|
August 11, 2004
It's funny, the things that can set one's mind to pondering. Our lawn service...heehee...two semi-hulking, growing-pains-laden, Indiana boys...ran a bit late yesterday. Mostly due to the horror-filled fact that school started today...the oh-so-slightly elder one (hardly ten months his overwhelmed Momma told me) had to find just the right clothes and they got held up in the city. (Lord, do I recall those days...stalking that Oh-So-Elusive prize, ClothesThatWillMakeTheYoungMan and turn the first day of school into a brand new life. I'm being deadly serious here and not making fun at-all.)
Yesterday evening (the hours between four-to-seven) was totally splendid...the deep emerald of the trees, cobalt azure 360 degree skies and dazzingly-white mare's tail unfurling banners to the horizon, I kept bugging everyone that it was only EIGHTY-THREE degrees and oooooh...just smell that air! (Well, it was delightful and I think it is going to take me about a zillion years to stop noticing it anew every few seconds or so.)
Poor Hoosier-Boy...I can tell he doesn't quite know what to make of us...no evidence of kids, (except pictures on the fridge) we act silly in the yard where everyone can see...I give them Coca-Colas without their having to ask, the Texas plates on the truck, the times I've noticed the two of them leave their house after their Momma has headed off for Wednesday night service...all the books in our kitchen, living room, back porch. They break my heart. Their father is in Iraq and has been for ten months. When Himself is out back and they are tossing the basketball around, they wander over every time to just talk with him.
Anyway, 'cause they were so late, we had to take off and just gave instructions and left the cold hard cash (and yep, we're quite generous for well we remember how much walking-around money boys require and we don't really feel like mowing and edging at all right now.) and when we came home, they were just finishing and as I climbed out of the truck, YoungerHoosierBoy came lumbering up, with a funny expression on his face...almost as if he expected me to find fault or something...I couldn't quite read it. But, typical me...I piped up and lavished praise upon his broad slumping shoulders...'cause the yard did look really nice. Typical mom-thing, "Oh, you guys did such a good job. The yard looks really great...etc. etc.)
His face, broad and flushed with heat, still managed to perk up and he stood taller. (I told my husband later, I don't think these two boys get a steady diet of appreciation or praise or notice, really, when they do things right. Or well. Just a feeling I have.) I wasn't pretending either...I have HUGE appreciation for big strong men and their strength comes in mighty handy. So, when his big brother came around the other side of the deck, I praised and thanked him, too...even tossing in a few sentences about how well they work together.
Later, as we sat on the steps, admiring the lighting bugs, I got to thinking about my grandparents...lord knows, in the last couple of weeks, I've been around enough people and heard enough talk of old times, when we were all growing up and when my father and his siblings were growing up and I mused aloud..."I think that was their best gift of all. They just loved us. It was easy for them to find things to praise and encourage because they loved us."
It dawned on me, big surprise...I may be like that, too. It's never been hard to see good things in those I love and it's really natural and easy for me to let those I love, know it. Lavish with adoration...sympathy...patience and appreciation...and it's strange...many people think it's strange. I take all sorts of nagging about how I raised our sons, the way I *spoiled* them and all the children in my life.
I tried, yet again, thinking as I talked, that I recall my grandfather observing oh, say, a two-year old (both horse or human) a puppy, a new employee and with those calm, deep blue-grey eyes, I used to think he was looking into their very souls...then, he'd act accordingly. I know he was a great believer in matching a person's strengths and skills to whatever needed to be done and he always acted as if all you had to do was pay attention, do it a few times, and "Why, you're doing just fine!"
The best, the very best, though of what he showed me by just living it, is how each of us needs someone, at least someONE but as many as possible, to love us just because we are alive and walking around on this earth. (Nope, I don't mean silly, shallow adoration or spoiling.) He saw us plain, he saw us whole and he loved us...why? 'Cause we were his? Perhaps, but he (and my grandmother and yes, their daughters, my aunts) managed to have enough for others outside their family to be loved back by many, many people. As one former employee said to me a few weeks back, "Mr. D. always made me think I was better than I thought I was." And I thought, when he said that..."Ah!! There it is."
Was this the by-product of a gentle, loving, steady spirit? A form of leadership, maybe? Anyway, I know, for myself, it's always easy to just focus on the positive in a person (and it can take a long time before I give up. In case of MeanOldMumInLaw...fifteen years.)and it's never been hard for me to love people.
Because love does that...bathes us in a rose-gold tinted light, I think.
I've lost my thought here but late yesterday, I could overhear very cross words from the side yard across the way, and I winced to hear the fingernails-on-blackboard fury of HoosierBoys' mom. Sure, boys that age are messy, forgetful, at the mercy of hormones and bodies that betray them left and right, stupid-appearing and acting at times but hey! Underneath, there lives the person they're becoming ...and I guess that's why I've been thinking about on and off for a few days.
The power of unconditional, eternal and immovable love. I know it carried me through some awfully dark days, just knowing, out there, were several people who loved me just like that! The best part, the furthest reaching evidence of that sort of love was this: It made me better than I thought I was. I acted better, I refused to slip too far, for to be loved by loving, good people pulls you up, too. That respect and care becomes part of your very blood and spirit...rubs off on you, so to speak.
I just never fully understood how very rare this sort of love is.