While I was away, I finished a book entitled, "Slowing Down to the Speed of Life." With all that we have available, I-Phones, I-Pads, laptops, dishwashers, cars that can park themselves, it seems that rather than our lives being simpler, they become more and more complicated. With each new time saving device, more and more of our time seems to be demanded. The book is about creating a simpler, peaceful life from the inside out, and it all begins with how we think, or how we allow ourselves to think.
When Little Bit died, I was so very heartbroken, and I felt that I could not endure any more pain. My mind began to race with thoughts of, "what if something happens to my husband, what if something happens to my other dog Gracie?" As I sat crying, I heard in my soul, "My grace is sufficient, for today." The portion of that sentence that really struck me was "for today." Today is really all we have. What has passed is no longer, and tomorrow is only something we hope for. Today...this moment is really all we have. Rather than worrying about what may or may not happen, isn't it much more important to focus on and embrace what I truly have at this moment?
While I was away, I did quiet my life. I turned the radio off in the car, and watched only a minimal amount of television. The quiet was bliss. I did my best to quiet my mind and truly enjoy each experience and be open to seeing all that was around me.
Last Friday, I drove to my hometown, Port Arthur, Texas. Rather than take the main highway into town, I decided to come in through the refineries, basically the back door. I drove by my grandmother's house. It was quite sad as it had fallen in, no longer habitable. The land is worth so little, so I am sure that to tear the house down and remove the debris would cost more than the land is worth. As I sat in my car and looked at the house, I felt sad, but I also thought of the how often that house had offered a safe place to be. When my mother was an infant, her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and died when my mother was only 15 months old. Before she died, she asked her sister-in-law and best friend if she would raise my mother. She agreed and my mother was brought to live in this house. It was the only home she ever knew, and that woman became the only true grandmother I ever knew.
From there I made my way to the cemetery to find my great-grandmother's grave, the grandmother of my father.
When my father was born, he was given the name of the doctor who delivered him. Even as a child, I thought that to be so very strange. Why wouldn't you name your first born male child after his father? When I asked his mother this question, she replied that the doctor was a close friend of the family. It still seemed odd to me.
Soon after my father was born, his father left, never to be heard from again. Before he left, a picture was taken of my father's mother holding him, his father by her side, his parents next to him, and my great-grandparents by their daughter. I often wondered why it was that the paternal grandparents didn't remain a part of my father's life after their son left.
We had a close family friend who had gone to high school with my father's mother. They knew each other enough to speak, but were not friends. Later on this woman married and she and her husband became my mother's Sunday school teachers. Once my mother married my father, the couple became close friends of our family and remained so until both died. Not long before she died, I had the opportunity to visit with her, and it was then that she said, "I have something I need to tell you." She went on to tell me that she could not prove it, but she believed that the doctor who delivered my father was his biological father. With that, everything finally made sense.
When I arrived at the cemetery, I couldn't find my great-grandparent's grave plots, so I went to the office to get a map. As it turned out, I had been in the right place, but just couldn't seem to find their plots. I As began to walk around, I suddenly tripped over a headstone. When I looked down, I was shocked to see the headstone of the doctor who delivered my father. I later told my husband that I felt that I had been grabbed from the grave. I stood there for quite some time. It look a bit to actually believe that what I was seeing was real. As I stood there, I felt in my soul that what I had been told was true, this was the grave of my biological grandfather. There was some debris on his headstone, but I just couldn't bring myself to bend down and brush it away.
On the other side of this same section, I found my great-grandparents grave plots. The near by pine tree had shed so many needles and their stones were completely covered. Here I knelt down and brushed them all away. As I sat and reflected, I felt their spirit there with me. I could feel my great-grandmother telling me how proud she was of who I became. It wasn't an audible voice, just the voice you hear deep within. The moment was so sweet. After a bit of time, I knew I had to leave, but I didn't want to leave them behind. It's not that I feel they are really there, I think that it was the moment, the experience that I didn't want to leave behind.
I went to see a headstone, and I walked away with so much more than I could ever have imagined. It was a very overwhelming, emotional experience, and one I will never forget.