Visiting with my sister last night we got to talking about some childhood books.
These are ones that were read to us – as well as a set of books that we got to see once a year when we went to our Great Aunts’ house for New Year’s Day dinner.
Funny – it’s the illustrations that I remember most clearly, not the stories.
The images evoke times, places and people long gone. Other voices, other rooms.
So now I’m here in this old house while the wind whistles and sings as it comes off the lake, tending the fire and thinking about those books and the humans who held them.
Guess I’m thinking about legacies, ultimately. Reflecting on how complicated they are and how, as I get older, I find myself coming at my history with more compassion for (most of) the players – and more of an appreciation for the mysteriousness and the daily-ness of the lives we weave.
I mean, looking back there was drama and fear and hurt – things that go to my core – things that shaped me in ways I’m still exploring. And at the same time there were laughter and happy surprises — warm times.
And there were hundreds upon hundreds of bills paid, sandwiches made, diapers changed, lessons checked, stories read, appointments made, appointments kept, shoe laces tied, waste-baskets dumped, clothes washed, clothes hung on lines … and on and on.
It’s a great big mixed bag and I no longer have one summative idea or assessment of the whole thing.
And maybe it’s not compassion or wisdom that drives that so much as my realization that I really wouldn’t want anyone making any ‘summative assessments’ of me!
Whatever drives it, I think I like that I’m outgrowing any need to make pronouncements.
That definitely leaves a lot more space for the truth to gently emerge and let us glimpse it once in awhile.
Moments of grace – usually they surprise me – always, they are a boon.