*Today’s post veers off the path…. pun intended…. of letter writing just a bit. I’m always grateful when my friend and guest writer Debra Dickey emails me and submits a post. This one is beautiful, and I know you’ll appreciate it, too.*
I drove past a ramshackle old house the other day, overgrown with vines and saplings almost to the point of obliteration, untended, practically swallowed into disappearance by the landscape, and I just thought about all the life and children, and cooking and living that had been part of that home, the days and nights of work and rest and care and meaning and faith – the life that the family that once lived there had created in that once well-lived-in house.
I knew them. I remember being at that house. I remember the good people, the food that they shared, the time they carved out for their family and other people, and the goodness that once abounded in that dwelling. I remember a plaque on their living room wall that quoted, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference”, and thinking ‘wow, how perceptive!’
I thought about the friend, who actually still lives nearby, who called them Aunt and Uncle, and who loved them and the cousins very much, as they loved her, and how generous she was to include me on one of her visits. Life, being lived, at its fullest possible at the time.
I pondered how we consider ourselves to be the superior species, yet our time here is ‘but a vapor’ and it’s done, and still the grasses and trees and undergrowth continue on, growing and expanding and covering over all that our human efforts and hard work made so important for such a short time, and then poof, it’s no longer visible. Almost like it never was.
And what, I wondered, is it that we actually leave behind, if anything at all! Eventually the roofs cave in and the houses fall down, our landscaped spaces become overgrown and unsightly, and the previously well-tended dwelling becomes desolate with no welcoming lights in the windows or inviting signs of life. Only the still beautiful well-worn jonquil-lined front door paths remain. Everything goes back to the earth, the way it began.
So truly, our only ‘legacy’, all that we are allowed or even required to leave behind is a memory of love. Your family will know your love, your children will know your love, your friends will remember your love, and if we are truly fortunate, we may leave this timeline with a little less darkness in our village than at the point where we began our portion of this journey. And perhaps a jonquil or two. Nothing more.
We, and our ‘houses’ are soon forgotten, as it should be, to make way for those of care, faith, meaning and life still to come. How evanescent of us.