Just a short greeting this evening–to all my family, friends and the new friends I’ve gained over the last couple of years. Thanks for sharing and making memories with me in 2014. It is my hope each of you will reflect on the events of 2014 and as you ponder the good memories, to also think about the lessons learned. Then while looking to 2015, think about how those lessons will be applied to the goals and directions you plan to take.
Recently we visited the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado. What an eclectic collection of old motorcycles we found. Many of them were old Harley’s. There were old photographs and articles of motorcycle events.
I don’t have many positive memories of my father, so I was surprised at all the memories of him, this place evoked within me. I had the last ride on his Harley before he sold it when I was 3 or 4. I had forgotten about all the motorcycle hill climb events he took me to as a child. I seem to recall those events were either early in the spring or late in the fall. I remember being chilled at most of these events, and wondering why anyone would want to ride in such mud. I was a girl after all. But I also remember how excited my dad was at these events. When I think about that now, I realize he was sharing one of his passions with me. It was nice to have a memory about him, which invoked smiles and happy emotions.
Yesterday we were motorcycling in Alabama. Thanks to the generosity of a fellow biker, we were able to ride a Triumph through some of the hills and back roads. Few of the leaves have changed colors, so we were met with lush green most places we went. I kept thinking how much I always enjoyed the verdancy of the mid-west and southern states and realized I had been given my “green fix” on this weekend ride. It was a great day!
I thought I gave birth to a baby girl. We were to live as a family, on the land. I thought she was mine. I soon learned this was not true. This child displayed a rebellious and defiant spirit as out of control as the ocean in a huge storm, against anything that had the scent of tradition, authority or rules. Occasionally, I would have fleeting glimpses of the daughter I thought was mine. And then they would be gone! Hers became a dance of seeing how far she could stray from the line. The collateral damage and destruction of those she either hurt or destroyed in her dance of defiance is huge. Every time I look, the circle becomes larger. It includes people both close to her and those just touched by the fringes of her life, and people whom she once charmed and has since grew tired of. Then awhile back we vacationed with her at the beach. Those few short days were a gift. Time spent together was pleasant and devoid of the stress I associated with her. I’ve come to realize there is something about the ocean that seems to calm the rage she has against life and civilization. She is back inland again, and the glimpses I saw of her at the ocean have vanished again. Is the ocean her true home and not this land the rest of us live on? Perhaps she was not a baby girl, but a baby mermaid instead.
These thoughts have been triggered by both a conversation with my local pastor when he asked me to think of a time when she was innocent before all the problems began (which brought to mind a photo of her sitting on the beach when she was about 3 or so with a white suit with red and blue polka dots) and a conversation with my husband pointing out the vacation trip we took with this child was really a gift. We spent almost a full week together and it was no stress, no drama, no difficult times, just a very pleasant time together. I’m glad I was allowed to frame this vacation into the thought of a ‘normal gift’ with this child because my life history with her does not allow me many of those memories. Somehow those two images merged into the Mermaid Girl – I think that may be her!
Today is a special day in many homes in America, mine included. Be it tradition or faith — this holiday calls me to deeply reflect on what I’m grateful for. As I’ve grown older, learning to live with gratitude and appreciation daily have changed my life. I’ve become a happier, more settled person. I believe that has allowed me to have a positive influence on other’s lives.
Your list of gratitude may be completely different than mine. Yet it is my hope you will have time to reflect on things to be thankful for today and enjoy those around you.
For those interested, here is my partial list: I’m grateful for the life I’ve been given and deeply grateful for the people who are part of my life. I’m grateful for the beauty of the physical world and how varied it is. I’m grateful for the family I grew up in and the things I learned there. Some of those things were not easy, but each has contributed to who I am today. I’m grateful for the children and grandchildren who are part of our family. I’m grateful for the family of faith I can call my own and the love of God so richly bestowed upon us.