Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What We Keep

This afternoon I drove to Hendersonville with Philip and my dad. A dear friend of my parents (their best friend), Ruth Ann, died recently.  Her family is selling the contents of her home, and selling the home also. My parents bought a mattress set from them. Ruth Ann had a lovely home, full of many lovely things.
The house was built by her parents in the '70s. The three daughters of the family had no children. As we loaded the mattresses, I could tell the visit to the house was a sad one for Ruth Ann's sister, who met us there. They'd had a large yard sale, were selling her furniture, and as we stood there we looked through the family quilts. Ruth Ann's baby quilt was there. I was filled with something not quite like sadness or regret, but strong emotion. There is so little, so little in this life, that we keep. Who now will remember her infancy? Her first steps?

Philip and I had plenty of time to talk as we drove there and back home. I enjoy those times. Why is it that, when our children go off to college, they are at just the age when we will miss them most, when their company is so pleasurable, when it's a joy to watch them stepping into adulthood?  I'll miss him when he leaves again next week.

The sky was stunning as we drove.  He took these shots of the clouds and sun, as it settled toward the horizon, a type of death, and tomorrow morning a type of resurrection.

Layers upon layers of clouds. Such beauty.  Isn't beauty something we long to keep, in this world?  Memories of happy times with those we love? Sights of beauty that stick in the mind and are drawn back out in later years, as we extract the tangible joys from those days, long gone. Those friends, long gone.  Yet Ruth Ann is rather close. We'll see her again (she is such a kind, loving woman) in only a few years. Why do we feel it is a gaping chasm between? I believe it's the uncertainty we have toward heaven.  If only we had a place, a location to visualize, in which to put her? But without our own memories of heaven, how can we do that?

I saw a lovely footstool at Ruth Ann's house, and bought it. Each time I look at it, I'll think of her.

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