Thursday, February 24, 2011

Old Clothes

I am just finishing a french toast breakfast with my two kids. Noelle is sitting across from me in a bright pink t-shirt wearing her mostly empty plate as a hat, and then in rotation a mask. Caedmon is chilling contently in his bright pink hand-me-down bouncer, yes he's man enough to rock the pink bouncer.

I think perhaps french toast is one of my muses. It's my favorite breakfast. Wait, I don't know that I can commit to one favorite breakfast. It's my favorite of the syrup topped breakfasts, at least for now. Even better with this home made blackberry syrup we make. Anyway, the breakfast fare isn't really why I am writing.

I feel like if I had the time and the audience that I would make a new mixed tape CD for my friends on a monthly basis. My Dad used to do this annually around Christmas time, and I would help him with the more technical aspects of CD making, like playlist arrangement and label design. He made 4 or 5 of these during the last years of his life and I still cherish them along with every song they contained.

One artist that made his lists often was Randy Stonehill, he's an old school Christian artist and I have no idea what he's up to now. I am sure that I will google him later to quell my curiosity but if I do it now I will lose all focus on what I am trying to write. One song that Randy Stonehill was famous for, at least in my family, is called "Old Clothes"

Here is a favorite line

Toys from my childhood, old photographs
Left in this dusty old suitcase
Things I once cherished are lost in the past
Seek out the treasure that always will last

So I'm packing up my old clothes
And my old and foolish ways
They just don't seem to fit me anymore
I can see the light of morning
With different eyes today
And I'm giving my tomorrows to the Lord

These lines struck me in a new way this morning, and highlighted some thoughts I have been having lately. I was in Michigan last week for my Grandpa Mac's funeral. He was an amazing man, larger than life, loving and original, fun and friendly. He is deeply missed by all who loved him, and even those who only had casual contact. He was one of those people who leaves a mark on your life quickly which doesn't fade with time. I spoke at his funeral last week and as I was preparing to get up to speak I quieted my mind and stared at my newborn son who was sleeping next to me in Kel's arms. I thought wow, here we gather to honor the closing of my Grandfather's life, and his brand new great grandson sleeps peacefully next to me, with years and years of life in front of him. Life is so precious... what am I doing with it? Look at where I have been, and where am I going?

It's true, I have done a lot of funerals, and I have lost a lot of my family. And as I sat at my Grandpas funeral last week I had an all too familiar feeling. I don't want to lose the past, I don't want to be the grown up, I want to be the kid still, I want my parents and grandparents to protect me, keep me safe. I want to be irresponsible, impulsive, eat the Christmas feast but not have to worry about the cost of the ham or the dishes afterward. I don't want to wear the big girl pants. Usually this feeling is fleeting because I am woken up out of it by one of my two kids expressing a need in a way only infants and toddlers know how: Loud and Impatiently, and then I remember, I'm the mom now, I do the dishes, pay the bills and buy the milk. I'm the safety net for a whole new generation.

And so again I realize that I have grown, packed up the past, the old mistakes and habits, and that I will continue to pack. I will evolve and the clothes I am wearing now will become old, and get discarded as I slowly and steadily grow toward the light of Christ. If you stop learning and growing in life, you become stagnant, moldy, and increasingly useless. None of these are positive adjectives. Life will change and we must grow, there will be curveballs, huge tears and big fat unknowns. So to throw back to the song: I can see the light of morning With different eyes today And I'm giving my tomorrows to the Lord.
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