The older I get the further I am from it.
The sounds of my stories from years past, the kind that tell much more meaning because time told its ending. Time gave us the ability to see the end result. I think as I think on times that have passed and what I see now, I see a new picture unfolding for myself. How to handle pain, how to approach frustration, how to engage holidays with joy and no stress.
I see how to uncover the truth even when the moment won’t paint the whole picture for me.
But I listen to stories too. The ones where time told the ending and I use those to engage in my own life. To release my frustration or forgive myself for mistakes I’ve made. I realize there’s always much more to the story than what’s initially being told in the moment. But I think not knowing the ending makes the process an even better story to be told.
My Dad didn’t grow up with much.
I wouldn’t go as far to say that they were impoverished, but they didn’t have abundance, but there was enough.
My grandfather used to say “we ain’t poor we just don’t have any money.”
If that isn’t a powerful perspective, I don’t know what is.
But my Dad always shares a story of one particular year in elementary school. There was a boy in his class who didn’t have as much as they did, if my memory is correct, this boy’s father died in a farming accident and my sweet Grandmother worried herself to death over that child. She would pack my Dad’s back pack with extra snack change to share with him, told my dad to split his “two stick popsicles” (y’all know the ones I am talking about? like a two sided popsicle in one?) in half so that little boy could have one at school, she made sure that child had something everyday at school through little ole Grover Plunkett.
My Dad was obedient, his compliancy is one of his best attributes, and he never really thought anything of what he shared.
He shared his snack change, he shared his popsicles, he shared his toys, his lunch… everything.
Decades have passed since those days, Dad hasn’t seen that little boy since those days on the playground. He moved 3 hours south to Montgomery to be with the love of his life, my mama, and spends time “up north” just to see his family.
I can’t tell you the amount of trips he’s made to his hometown since he moved away, the land of cattle and chickens.
But one particular trip he had to stop at a service station to get a little gas for the ride back to South Alabama when a man approached him. He was staring strangely, carrying an urgency with his eyes to speak to my Dad. My Dad did the southern thing, nodded his head down and said “how are ya?”.
The man with urgent eyes finally said, “are you Grover Plunkett?”
My Dad nodded in agreement and a little bit of discomfort, not knowing the stranger approaching him.
Within moments of barely nodding his head, the man leapt forward, wrapping his arms around my Daddy. He yelled out to his kids who were sitting in his car and said , “Kids, come over here… I want you to meet the man who always gave me half of everything he ever had.”
I am pretty sure in those elementary moments, my Dad didn’t think he was making a difference in someone else’s life. I am almost certain he never expected someone to thank him like that three decades after it took place.
I love looking at a new year and planning new things or amplifying what’s already present.
2017 carried a lot of weight in my life. Weight that I prayed for and honestly never believed would happen. Some prayers haven’t had their full answer yet, but it’s coming. But the best thing about a new year is that it allows you to see the stories that unfold in your life. They help you see how the hard places turned beautiful through the people you met and encountered along the way.
Tell me, who in your life touched you in a capacity that can never be forgotten? Is there someone you’d like to bless and thank for who they are in your life? Maybe leap across a parking lot to wrap your arms around them? I’d love to hear from you and the stories that your life tells. Maybe tag those people to this post so they know their value in your life!