Four plus decades. That’s what I am today.
On this birthday I will pack up a crew of six and prepare for the cross-country journey – back to the place this life’s story began.
The same house, the same streets, the same small red church that marks the turn.
We’ll load up our six pack, and my warrior and I will travel to the place it all started.
This time I am taking two small items I plan to use to capture memories in motion. A video and a voice recorder.
My parents, they have a million stories – about war-torn youth, Nazi evil, and the ravages of cruel governments. They have stories about siblings, and families, and grandparents. They have stories about all the people I never knew… or have only met a handful of times. These stories are the roots of us. I suppose at some point in time we all want to see our roots…
I listened to them when I was just a kid, but who really pays attention then?
And, now, I hope the memories return to a fading mind.
I want to capture every word. Wrap the words in writing and pass them on to my own little ones.
We really shouldn’t ever forget where we come from. No matter how pretty, or heart-wrenching, the picture.
It’s our stories that bring Him glory – in the end. Our stories are His story – from the very beginning. Even when we don’t see.
Their story will come… I will take the gray shades of life and etch them into black and white. The words will never cover a life, but they will leave a map.
A map for my own to follow – tracing back… in order to move forward. Never forgetting.
But, today… well, it’s my day. It’s my birthday.
And sometimes the details don’t really matter all that much. Sometimes there is just one thing you want to leave behind.
Sometimes it only takes a few words to cover a lifetime of things we wish we could do… or undo.
Sometimes it’s just one word that we want to burn into their hearts.
Sometimes the words we write… are the words we need to read.
This… this is what I want to leave with my children.
A Letter To My Children
I want to tell you it’s ok.
It’s ok if you forget. It’s ok if you don’t understand. It’s ok that you said what you said that time.
I want to tell you that I know.
I know how much you love me.
I know how frustrated you were sometimes, and that you wondered if anyone- especially mom -understood.
I know that you didn’t mean what you said that time. Or the other time, either.
I want you to see that I have felt the same way.
I have thought the same thoughts.
I have made the same mistakes.
I have wished my youth away… and then wished I could go back.
I wish I could go back.
I wish I could go back and listen to my parents all over again.
I wish I had paid better attention.
I wish I had asked more questions… and listened to the answers.
I remember some of the stories and wish I could listen to them again.
I remember the places we went.
I remember the meals Mom cooked.
I wish I could remember more.
I wish I knew where those places were.
I wish I knew the recipe for that one meal… and the other ones, too.
I wish I could sit in Mom’s lap, and listen to Dad’s stories.
I know what you are thinking.
You wish you could go back, too.
Here is what I want you to remember.
This is what I want you to know.
I love you no matter what has happened.
I love you no matter what words and deeds you have thrown out there.
I love you even if you don’t come home enough.
I love you even when you are too busy.
This. This is what matters.
No matter what people say to you.
No matter what they say about you.
No matter if they call you delusional, or gullible, or foolish, or wrong.
They will, you know.
They will make you doubt.
They will make you wonder.
They will tell you that God is a fake.
They are wrong.
I have heard His voice.
He hears mine every time I place your names in His hand.
He hears you.
Stick with the ones who believe with you.
You need each other.
Be kind to everyone.
Even when they are not kind to you.
You represent Him.
It’s a big job. He is a big God.
He can handle your doubt.
Your mistakes. Even the ones you make again and again.
He has you in the palm of His hand.
So, when you begin to regret, and wish, and want to go back.
Time here is brief.
Make the most of it.
We, my babies, have forever.
Love ~ to infinity and back,
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.