My maternal grandmother was known for her “quips” and “quotes”. Just now I could hear, in my mind, her stating that a rolling stone collects no moss. She was notorious for disposing of many things, including mementos; a fact I was reminded of while just now thumbing through a file containing long forgotten mementos of my own.
My task at hand is to load files into plastic tubs for later sorting; I’m emptying a large four drawer file cabinet we no longer wish to have taking up valuable space in our home. My spouse and I are both in agreement we have kept too many unnecessary papers. However, the first file I came upon is going to have to be the exception of the rule.
Before loading this file into a box I began thumbing through its contents, curious what the file contained. I was surprised to come upon a letter I’d begun writing well over 30 years ago—a letter that was never completed. In reading I was reminded of long forgotten details from the month prior to my (fateful) first marriage.
Upon further inspection I came across a loving, supportive letter, dated 1995, written to me by my brother Greg. I was touched again, in reading his long forgotten words and found I wonder if he still feels the love for me he long ago expressed.
I smiled and my heart was warmed by a sweet home made card from my, then, elementary school aged daughter. In it she promised to love me forever– even after she’d left home. I’m blessed in that I can say, despite some rough spots, those prophetic words have proven true.
But it’s an item that moved me to tears that prompted me to sit and write. I just held in my hands, and read once again, a long ago forgotten hand written letter from my paternal grandmother; a note I found tucked snugly between the folds of a congratulatory card she’d sent in honor of my high-school graduation.
While I’m sure I appreciated her note upon receiving it, I could not have known then how I’d be moved now to read her words and thus feel her love these many years after her death; when she left behind this world to journey onto her next destination. I couldn’t have known then how much I would miss her presence; how I’d miss the opportunity to bide time with her in the simplest of life’s tasks.
It wasn’t so long ago, lying in the dark about to go to sleep, I had a visual memory of sitting at my grandparent’s kitchen table for breakfast. I can still smell the coffee brewing, hear eggs sizzling in bacon fat, and see the pink tint on the off-white porcelain dishes from which we ate. At the time of these occasions I was clueless as to how deeply meaningful this simple act of eating together was. Now that the option is no longer mine, the loss therein brings me to tears.
In this note from my beloved grandmother, she expresses her wish I was there to help her with some needful cleaning. While many of my memories involve sitting: eating; watching TV together (think old fashioned console, sans remote control watching He-Haw, the local news, and the like); or simply to chat, conversing about life, her words reminded me I also spent time assisting my grandparents with chores. I’d forgotten to think about the times of collecting eggs from big brown chickens, pulling beans off vines, picking up hazel nuts, chatting with grandma while helping her pick blueberries, and talking while we hand washed dishes. Were I to sit and think on it, this list would grow.
At the time, I had no idea these simple life tasks, in doing them together, were creating what would one day become cherished memories of time shared with people I would one day miss so much it would hurt.
For this I am thankful, to the depths of my soul that: “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Because I believe in Him, and I know my grandparents believed in Him, I can trust the time will come when I will again be able to spend quality time with these people who have meant so much to me in this life.
The beauty is that then we will be together with no pain, no sorrow and no fear of death. Oh, how to do long for that, and I truly thank God for it.
In the meantime, while I do think I’ve too many unnecessary papers in this old file cabinet, I also believe there are some items that are completely necessary for saving. I’m truly thankful I’ve hung onto them but I don’t think they belong in this file cabinet anymore. I’ve determined they deserve to be elevated to a higher status. I think it’s time I make time to create a beautiful memory book.
I think perhaps, some “moss” on the stone of my life is actually a good thing. It’s good for my heart—and soul.