I had a great day yesterday. The sun was shining and the temperature warmed into the 50’s.
It was good to go to church to be with the family. It may sound cold to say that because there are so many people in the family having problems right now. There is serious physical illness with so much uncertainty and unknown. I hate it for everyone and it messes with my own levels of grief, but I know that people will work through it. I saw hope there and it gave me strength. I still struggle with things people say about God – attitudes they say He has and human-like qualities they attribute to Him. I see HIm best in the hope others have. But that is enough about that – let me tell you about the rest of my day.
I went out in the afternoon with one of my friends that you never got to meet. I hate that for both of you. You would like her. She is from Haywood County having grown up there. She knows the area and she has relatives and friends scattered all over along those mountain roads. We were down by the Pigeon River and Jonathan Creek. We traveled along route 209 toward Hot Springs – the route you used to take when the landslides happened on I-40.
Along the way we met so many people. My friend can talk to anyone so she would strike up a conversation and end up learning how she was somehow connected through a relative or a mutual friendship. And there was scenery and the animals! I carried you and your sister with me during every moment. I felt like you were both beside me and in me and we were looking through the same eyes together, sharing our mutual love for this place.
I saw lots of rocks. I thought about how you would like to hike up and check out those rocks. I let myself think about that just like I stood close to the edge to look over the steep embankment to the Pigeon River below. It was deliberate and creepy.
I took lots of pictures and I catalogued how it felt in my mind. I will keep them all the photos and the feelings as reference for paintings – or not.
It is no use to try and avoid tears. I’m done with trying. Grief may dampen my days but it does not stop me from getting done the things that need to be done but moreover it will not stop me from being with the people I need to be with.
We ran into one person that puzzled both my friend and I. We met her first thing on our excursion. She owns a business in the area that does organic gardening. Apparently at times they rent a room or two like a bed and breakfast. They also do landscaping. The house had signs that said parking in back so we drove to the back only to find that the drive circled what appeared to be piles of mulch. The woman met us in the drive. My friend got out to talk to her. I didn’t hear everything she said but basically she ordered us off her property. She said we should have made an appointment and thanked us to leave, turned and stalked off. The incident tried to color the day, but was not successful. The countryside, scenery, people and farm animals swept her bad attitude away. I do wonder what her problem was. Apparently she has gotten a reputation for being sour and that is really sad for her business and the community. Later a thought occurred to me that maybe she just doesn’t belong.
I belong to my family and to my church family. I belong to my friends and to the art community. I belong to God – whoever He is – and I belong to this life as long as it lasts. It is not a passive act – belonging. It is something you choose and have to work at. It is something that comes with bumps and bruises and pain. It is something that comes with indescribable joy.
Don’t worry, that woman is not going to become my project. But I pray that somehow she learns to file off those barbs and allow her puzzle piece to fit in with some of the rest. She doesn’t have to be one of those pieces in the middle of the puzzle that has to match up with everything around it, she can be a corner piece. Maybe yelling at us made her feel better? I doubt it.
You belonged to us and to your friends and to strangers in need. You were a good fit.
While your sister was working on her Christmas jigsaw puzzle this year my dog ate a number of the puzzle pieces! Why you sister decided to work the puzzle on the floor I’ll never know and the temptation was too much for the dog. I hope that lady was not one of those pieces!
There is not enough time left in this world to tell you how much I love you. I sincerely hope that I never forget to tell the people I love how much I love them. It is the least I can do.
I love where we live and I love the community that embraces us.
I love you son. I miss you all the time.