A Lesson in Goodbyes

Today was James the Maintenance Man’s last day. If you don’t remember James, I mentioned him in a previous post when he dropped some serious knowledge on me. Today, with his goodbye, he managed to do so again. He always says the most beautiful things. They are simple, true, and spoken in a blues like rhythm. I’ll miss his life advice, which always seemed to find me at the perfect times.

“They said you had some pretty big shoes to fill, but you know what? Ya brought your own shoes to the party.”

“God said, ‘Stop working on everybody else! Stop tryin to change everybody. Let me change you, and then other people will see, and they’ll change too.”

“Some of the most beautiful flowers grow in the ditch.”

“I hope you can use your creative juices here. If not, they’ll get so heavy and you’ll have to go. And that’s ok.”

“When you fall in love and get married, you think you gonn wear it like a crown. Oh, you gonn have a crown, all right, but it ain’t for you. It ain’t never for you. It’s for him. And Him.”

“I got to tell these boys. You got a great woman? Serve her. Serve her and you’ll always be happy. Your the server and she’s the customer. If you start out with a bad attitude, you’re not gettin a very good tip. But if go above and beyond, see, you’ll get the reward right back.”

Madly

At 2:00am today, Sarah had Isaiah. I can’t stop staring at his little photograph. It’s like I’m glued to it. I can’t imagine how she must feel, this same feeling times a million, with him making sweet, helpless noises from her arms.

I’m so overcome with how full life is in it’s circular nature, and how beautiful. To think that we, we girls are becoming mothers. We girls who would muddy our tights up and dig traps for robbers with our tiny fingers. Who would squash berries from Gran’s garden and argue about who got to be which boxcar child. ( I always wanted to be Violet, even though I had never read a lick of the books.) The girls who grew up hundreds of miles away, but always stayed sisters, through handwritten letters, plane trips, and week long visits that always seemed to get sucked up into some time vacuum.

It still baffles me that the girls have grown up. I remember when I first began to feel it happening, small shifts in our little world that signaled to us: adulthood is coming. “I wonder what it will bring,” one of us said one year on a beach.

I never realized just how beautiful it would be, adulthood with you girls. And I never thought I could love anything the way I love your little ones. It’s so inexplicable the way you can instantly love someone to death, through and through, that you would do anything for them. It’s a love so innate, that begins the moment you hear that, finally, after nine long months, they are here. 
And just like that, without another word, without meeting, without any of it, you love them madly.
Madly.

Johnsons to Johnson

There is a voicemail flashing red on my inbox.

I dial 500 and a weak voiced, old woman comes on. “Please have Mr. Felix Johnson’s name taken off your televised prayer list, as he recently passed away, and please replace it with my name, Mrs. Peggie Johnson. Thank you.”

In an instant I can feel your hand in mine.

I wasn’t ready for marriage

I’m reblogging this not only because it is something I’ve always agreed with, but more importantly, because it is something that I’ve heard SO many times from older couples who are married. That there is no perfect moment, you’ll never have the right amount of money, or the right house, or the right job, and if you wait for all those to come along you will never do it.

And while goals are great and it’s good to eliminate any speed bumps you can from your future, it really is important to struggle together. I’m not suggesting you start burning half your life savings and quit changing the oil in your car. But if we know that overcoming struggle builds character, wouldn’t you want to build character as one unit with your spouse? My Gran and Grandad are comfortably retired, travel, and haven’t stressed seriously over money for a while. And yet their favorite stories to tell aren’t about their trip to France, or the last bed and breakfast they stayed at. It’s the one when they were living in a train car that had been make-shifted into a house in the middle of a field. It’s the one about driving through the night with a one week old when my grandfather got stationed in Kentucky, and the baby spit up on my Gran’s only dress she brought with her.
Perhaps we have such a hard time struggling *with* one another because we have been conditioned to struggle alone. And if we are going to go through these trials, these spans of no money, apartments with leaky faucets and loud neighbors, the post college jobs, wouldn’t it be better to have that partner to turn to and say I don’t have this, but I’m sure glad you’re here.

This post also rings true on living together before marriage. So many people my age are absolutely SHOCKED when they learn my boyfriend and I have dated for almost 3 years and we still don’t live together. And I hear the exact statements this author is referencing, “I would need to know if I could live with him before I married him.” Or, “what if the two of you have completely separate living habits? That causes a lot of divorce.”
Incorrect. People cause divorce. This whole “try it out” mentality is so much of what’s wrong with how people view marriage today.
1. It shows selfishness. If he can’t live how I live, maybe we shouldn’t live together.
2. If we live together and I don’t like it, it’s still ok to back out. Yeah, THAT’S the attitude you should have when it comes to someone you’re dating seriously enough to move in with.

We live in a throw away society, from food and material, to marriage, unborn children and the elderly. When minimized, this often boils down to a very “me” oriented mindset.
Whether you’re in favor of it or not, the reality is that marriage is a core concept of society. It has been a part of society since the beginning, across cultures and countries for centuries. We are so quick to dispose of something that has been an integral part of this country’s backbone for so long, and this is a bad habit we are passing on to our children. Do us a favor, skip the “take your elbows off the table” lesson, and put “marriage is a vow that is FOREVER” at the top of the list.

Happy readings.

The Matt Walsh Blog

I met my wife on eHarmony. I was a morning rock DJ in Delaware, she was living in Maryland and finishing up her degree. I drove two and a half hours to pick her up for our first date. I spent most of my bi-weekly paycheck on tickets to a dinner theater in Baltimore. The rest went to gas and tolls.

And that’s the way it would go for the next year and a half (minus the dinner theater part). Once a week, I’d spend money I didn’t have and drive the 260 mile roundtrip to see the love of my life. Sometimes I’d sleep for a few hours in the guest room at her mom’s house, waking up at 2AM to head back to the coast for my 5:30AM radio show.

I was very tired back then.

And broke.

Lord, was I broke.

She’d take turns driving my way, burning gas she couldn’t afford to burn and…

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My kids don’t make me happy

Spending this past weekend with Jessie, a newish mom, (she’s been at it for a little over a year now, none of which we got to be near her for) was so enlightening. No one truly close to me had gone through pregnancy and motherhood until now. And it was mesmerizing to watch Jessie, this girl I would dig mud pits with for potential robbers, be a mother. She really did exemplify the glory of parenthood. However, when she was finally able to pull herself away from baby, as her husband sweetly took care of the toddler and a research paper, us girls were able to really pick her brain about the past year. And she shared honestly, about the incredible parts, about the really hard parts, about identity, and expectations, about the things you THOUGHT you could ballpark about parenthood.

So it was really interesting to get back on this thing after a nice long break, and find this post. I know that I so often have moments where I could kick myself for things I did or didn’t say. I’ve pretty much mastered the conversation where you drive away spewing perfect knowledge at your windshield. So I can empathize with the author on this one. And how perfectly he says it all.

I’d also like to share a comment that was left on the author’s blog. The comment describes a man interviewing an elderly lady about happiness on TV. Her response was, “My generation was never focused on happy. We were focused on honesty, hard work, ingenuity, etc. But we never thought about if we were happy or not. I suppose we were, but we didn’t chase it all the time.”
There’s something to learn from that.

The Matt Walsh Blog

“Kids won’t make me happy.” I’ve heard that statement, or statements to that effect, thousands of times. Enough that I should, by now, have a response prepared. But when a guy said it to me a few days ago, I fumbled the answer. I failed him.

“I don’t know, man. Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s cool that you’ve got kids and everything. But, personally, I just don’t think kids would make me happy.”

That was his comment to me as we stood out in the cold, him smoking his cigarette, me secondhand smoking his cigarette. Maybe I just wanted to go back inside. Maybe I didn’t feel like having this conversation. Maybe I judged him for his selfishness. Well, I did judge him for his selfishness. I shouldn’t have — it was pretentious and arrogant of me — but I did. Whatever the reason, I offered a nonsense response…

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