While driving back this afternoon to East Tennessee, to attend the wedding of a sweet young couple, I was honored to witness the beautiful fall trees. The color was only really pretty at the highest point, the plateau, between Cookeville/Crossville but for a few miles it was a real treat.
Crimson red, auburn, fire hot magenta’s, golden rod and butter yellows, all the brilliant hues that make fall my favorite season. I caused me to ponder (for which I do way too much!) about my life and that at my present age it feels as if I am in the fall of my life. Since this is my favorite season I am not so upset…..with the exception of the season to follow(I will not think of that now though!)
My drive was so nice…bright sunshine and clear blue skies, a great afternoon for driving. The trees were a great bonus to a day filled with happiness for this sweet couple. Their life is only beginning, many days ahead for them making friends and memories. My life has been so much richer for all the people I have met and who I have loved and been loved by over my life.
I was honored to be with some of my old friends on this “sunshiney”wedding day and I have to say it nourished my soul in a way they will never know. It seems that we live so many lives in our one lifetime. As I sat there taking in the joy of fellowship with my posse of friends, I was overcome with the knowledge that I have been so fortunate to have been a part of their lives also.
We talked about funny stories of past experiences and concurred that the funniest things happen in church….seriously if you don’t believe be I have some doozies! The (MY)preacher-mans grandfather always said…”give me my flowers before I die, they do me no good then!” He was the funniest person ever and was so right and I try to follow his pattern. He was a person who did this to those of us he loved. He would always remind me of the first time he met me and that he loved me from the start. Sweet man!
So today I sat with Ed and Jane Hardin, people who nearly raised me and my preacherman, in ministry…they were our most avid supporters, friends, but more like parents. Our lives were crisscrossed over and over, their love was not lacking to us and our children, we were their family, one of their own and they were ours. They made an impact on our lives and will always be Elders in our lives. I honor them and pray blessings on them and all their children and grand children. They also make the best New Years Day feast of anyone I know. I miss that gumbo and boiled shrimp and think of it often…maybe even more than my dear friends….ha ha sorry, I do love my seafood!
Then there is Mike and Denise Yannacone….these two have kept our kids for weeks on
end)and taken our mutts(dogs not kids!) after I kicked them to the curb (avid animal lovers…suckers in my book! ha)They are our mountain vacation buddies…any one ever seen a Zonkey? They throw great farm parties…skeet shooting and cookouts. They have been friends of great measure, always loving us and standing in the gap, prayer warriors and just a whole bunch of fun. She always remembers my birthday…every year (I am very impressed with that) (because I am awful at that) and someone who I know loves me like a sister. They are good people and I am honored to know them.
The wedding was for the daughter of our most dear ones….not playing favorites, but that was already mapped out before the earth was formed or …at least before I married the preacher man. Wendell has been the preachers life long best friend. They grew up side by side in that tiny town, he was Johnny Paul to my husband’s Opie…. so to speak! It is a toss-up which one of them had the more mischievous mind and probably equal by comparison. Wendell had the good sense and fortune to marry a beautiful woman after being left with four kids in tow. Cheryl was the bright spot for a family who needed loving.
She has been dear to me since I met her. She came by good referral….Wendell’s preciousMom picked her out for him and on a fluke it worked out. I say this because he ain’t that good…..but she is!(ha ha)She was the best step mom any kid could ever have and the best friend I could ever have. She has been a better friend to me than I have ever been to her.
She has hauled my sick gall bladder to the hospital, fought to have me thoroughly checkedout….thankfully because they were going to send me home, cleaned up probably every one of my kids puke…on her floors and furniture to make it worse, helped me with every crazy adventure I have ever gone on, prayed with me, walked with me, held my hand and held me up during the best and worst of times. She is my sister as much as my blood sisters, she even cleaned out stinky rotted fish from my freezer when I had moved away, which I don’t think my blood sister would have done and I know I wouldn’t have done. I am not as good a friend as her nor person.
She is my family! And in many ways all the people I have in my life are too. If I am allowed to be your friend I will be; I don’t allow miles to stop that. My friends have impacted me in ways they never could know and I have learned so much from them all. There are more in my heart near and far, all of which I value and cherish.
Today was a good day for me, I wanted one thing. To be there in some small way for my friend, like she has always been there for me. I didn’t really help her much, did little this and that’s but I showed up and was blessed with a bounty of love and adoration from my peep’s from the past thirty years. My friend Debbie who was a lifeline for me in a time of transition, she was an anchor and the best haircut ever…but more than that she loved me and never judged me as well as defended her friends on every front. I value her and love her. Then, our whole gang who took us in when we were lonesome and in need of a home, a church family and Pastor who too, loved us and let God be God.
That is how it is with people who have a love for God that is real and alive. People who give their hearts and hugs and time and gifts to build up and not tear down. There are too many to name; our lives are so inter-twinned over the years, people have come for a season, some have stood the test of time. All have been cherished and my life has been more rich for knowing them all.
I think I do like the “fall” of my life, I feel more settled and sure of myself. I have been there and back and survived. A bit more wear and tear than I wanted, I meant to take better care but ya know I have had a blast! At least most of the time, the good always out weighs the bad. My fifty-three years …I mean forty-three years …..oops! I forgot I am in the going backward stage! Actually, I don’t fret my age it’s more my over-all breaking down, limb by limb. Now that’s a bummer! Should have been more of an “outdoor Person!”(thanks for that observation Ellis kids…grrr!)
SO…..thank you Lord for my long life of ups and downs and please allow fall to hang around a little longer!