An organization that I belong to holds a gathering every July at one of the member’s homes. Last weekend, it was in Pioneer, Ca, at the end of a mile-long gravel road where there is zero traffic and lots of space to roam. Or get lost.
The house had a deep wrap-around porch overlooking at least six garden rooms. I wanted to take more pictures, but the sun wasn’t cooperating and getting acquainted with the members’ spouses was more important.
I can go crazy photographing nature. Photographing nature can steal time from friends or listening to presentations or the heartbeats of another’s story.
I learned from one member’s spouse, an elderly lady, that they had five children and at present, 126 grandchildren. Imagine my response. She talked about the daughter they lost to a brain tumor when she was a young mother of two boys. The soft-spoken lady went on to tell me that one of her sons lives in the small community of Hughson (population currently under 10,000), close to where my husband and I grew up. I remember, as a little girl, going with my mother to the only grocery store there. I was around eleven or twelve when a cute teenage male bagger pushed our grocery cart to the car. I was walking in front of him when a gust of wind blew my circular skirt above my thighs. Already feeling awkward and homely in my gangly body, that unexpected act of nature left me mortified.
It’s good to listen and learn with our minds, and our hearts about another’s life. Everyone’s story matters. Story is the link that connects people. And you never know what memories of your own will creep up. (No pun intended.)
That evening, on the wrap-around porch, I received the story of an elderly woman with compassion and appreciation for the life she lived, grieved, and loved. I’m glad the sun wasn’t cooperating. I’m glad I put my camera down and instead sat with this woman to embrace her story.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25