Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pensive Ponderings

So much of this blog is quickly written, copied, and pasted to act as a journal for my life.  Memories for when the Alzheimer's kicks in, for when my life is aged past the point of telling my life with efficiency and thoughtfulness for future generations.  It is the banal daily happenings and the contemplative evening moments when my mind slows down and my thoughts deepen to what really matters.  This post is one of the later.

Tonight I can't help but think of three major themes and how interwoven and consistent they have been in my life.  This weekend I have played single mother to four kids.  When Travis is out of town there is a sense of freedom from my more ridged schedules and strict discipline.  Often times, it is a time where some of my most profound beliefs are shared with the kids through this glimpse of shapeless living.  This weekend I felt myself once again telling the kids about the importance of good tools, their proper care, and their many purposes.  But surprisingly it wasn't the wood and metal of a craftsman's tool that I referred to.  It was words of which I spoke to them about.  I emphasized that each tool has a purpose, that finding just the right tool for the job often makes it easier.  They can be sharp, blunt, build or destroy, and they have the power to rev up or to retard. But that with proper construction the end result can be more powerful than anything you can imagine. 

As I listened to Bella talk on the phone to Travis tonight sharing her thoughts about the weekend without him, she uttered one phrase so perfectly spoken with absolute clarity and precision to perfectly illustrate her thoughts and feelings on a particular subject. It was so perfect that I looked to my cell phone resting against Bella's ear as if Travis were there so that we could exchange an unspoken acknowledgement, through our eyes, of the most serene happiness we feel when we watch our children blossom into adults who have exceeded our every expectation and reminded us of the perfect healing power of the Atonement.

This weekend Travis went to Texas, to his childhood home.  His grandfather passed away at the age of 95; it was expected and so free from some of the more intense grief that can come at a sudden loss.  His life was long and well lived.  And as Travis and I spoke tonight on the phone for over an hour and a half during his airport layover he filled me in on all the details of the weekend.  I remembered why he is my very best friend.  He spoke lovingly and sometimes tearfully of the viewing and funeral, of the numerous family gatherings that took place and the story telling his cousins and he shared about their memories of their grandfather's life -their last living grandparent- and their memories with him. 

I can't help but consider repeatedly the legacy of this man.  It is something I had considered numerous times while he was still living.  His life was rich and colorful with stories that even I with my wild ways can't compete with.  Most notably he ran away from home, seeking relief from horrific abuse, to start a life of his own starting with the lifestyle of a bum hopping on trains to live.  Within that one story lie a thousand stories and tales of the ways that God intervened and had preserved his life for some reason he hadn't at the time known.  Eventually he found his way to Texas where he worked from a homeless, penniless, abused childhood to a landowning, modest, Texas rancher.  He was father to 4 natural born children, several foster children, and a religious and community icon.  And throughout the services held for him all who knew him spoke of his legacy, the lives he changed, the man he was, and the lessons he taught.  He is a man who will be missed, but joy cannot begin to describe how I feel when I consider that this is now my and my children's legacy to carry on.

I wonder what that legacy will be.  I am not the wordsmith I wish I were, despite my love for the spoken and written word.  I without morbidity think what people will say about my life when I too have passed on.  I first and foremost echo the sentiment Grandpa made when he said, "Dorothy (his wife) and I just wanted to raise a righteous posterity."  But what character traits will people attribute to me?  Will it be the flippant attitude with which I sometimes approach life, or with joyfulness and silliness with which I draw people to me?  Will it be for the deep spiritual wells I hold further within for those closer to me to actually see?  Will I be known for my work ethic, honesty, intelligence, pretty face -I can't help but throw that in there- or my non "shrinking violet" attitude?  I have heard each of these things to describe me within the past month.  I am not really sure what one fundamental trait I want my legacy to be, but recently in my life through many experiences I keep contemplating honesty, not the hard, sharp edged, brutal kind.  But the truthful, authentic, equitable, virtuous, open, free from deceit sort of honesty where words matter and mean something and that perfectly crafted sentence is exactly what you wanted to portray and that one character is the foundation for which all others can be built.

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