Friday, July 21, 2006

A Life an Igloo

I meant to write this on July 14--so back up a week in your mind as you read this post.

I drove to Mississippi alone this time to be with my grandparents and my aunt on what would've been my dad's birthday. It has been six years, but sometimes it is like it was yesterday. Only I've cried enough tears for it to be twenty. My job on this trip was to visit with the relatives and spend the day with my dad's sister on his birthday. This time of year is hard because July 15th (the day after) was the day her other brother died a few years ago. And last year, her final brother passed away as well.

So, my grandfather's wishes are to have all 3 of his sons buried with him, so it was my job this year to "pick out my dad's box" for his ashes. I was sure that I would be fine, seeing as how I cried an ocean of tears on the beach in Nice, France last year. Side note...Bastille Day in France shares the same date as my dad's birthday, so it felt wrong to celebrate last year on such an emotional day. It was a huge release. So, I was up for the task this year, especially if it meant that my grandfather didn't have to do it himself.

My aunt and I started the day by eating at the Carriage house of an antebellum home in Natchez, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Southern meal (you know...a fried green tomato, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, greens, buttered biscuits, custard with praline sauce, and a chocolate tart--yeah, it's alot of food). I then toured another antebellum home and it was my favorite that I have ever seen.

When we finally went to the funeral home, we asked the husky southern man if they had any boxes to hold ashes. He said, "We have urns." I said, "Well, we really don't need an urn, just a decorative box." He said, "Well, I'll tell ya what works waell...some people have used dem igloo ais (ice) containers ta hold ashes een (in)...they work really nais (nice) for dogs an' cats an' such..."

I shot a bewildered look at my aunt and she read the words before they had to grace my lips. I was thinking, "Should I tell him that this box is for my dad and not for Muffy the cat or should you?" My aunt plastered a huge smile on her face and held back her chuckle as she blurted out, "Thank you sir, we will look elsewhere. Have a nice day!" We got up to leave and you could tell he thought the world of himself, thinking he had just saved us a ton of time and money. It was downright hilarious! My aunt and I laughed for the rest of the seemed appropriate on my dad's birthday.

He was one of the funniest people I have ever's to a life remembered. (With or without the igloo ais chaest)

Monday, July 10, 2006

28...or 8?

Well, I just celebrated my 28th birthday last week. It was good, but like any other day, I suppose. The main difference is that you don't have to feel guilty about wanting to be the center of attention. It's allowed (even encouraged without question or ridicule for this one 24 hour period)...

My sister has been in town and I haved loved every minute of it! I adore her and she "gets" me completely (she better, after 28 years!). She even made me my favorite cupcakes--strawberry cake and strawberry icing--for those who care to know. I felt like I was 8 again, actually.

But there is another reason why I felt 8 again instead of 28 and it all came rushing back to me when she came to town. For some reason, sisters so close in age bring a huge amount of insecurity with them. If you don't believe me...ask the group of women who have sisters that I have talked to lately . I am even considering starting a club--maybe we could call ourselves "Sisterhood of the Time Traveling Insecurity"--cuz that's how we feel. For those of you who have been hanging out with us, don't freak. It's not something you said or did--it's me and it's history. All the 8 year old competition comes back, rearing its ugly head to ruin our sisterhood and friendship. I fight and fight and I feel that the Lord protects my favorite relationship on earth, but I have to constantly fight for it nonetheless. I won't go into detail, but it stems from years of looking like someone, having a similar sense of humor, and having them shine in the areas where you are weak. It is a natural insecurity vacuum...I would even say inevitable. But, as I get older, it is almost harder to fight against and I'm not sure why. Anyway, as I was bawling my eyes out this week about it, the Lord spoke to my heart through a decal on a car window in front of me. Stay with me here...

The image was a semi-normal outstretched hand that was reaching toward me. As your eye traced up the arm, you noticed that the hand belonged to a faceless "devil" with a black crow on its shoulder. The image invoked a little fear, but mostly curiosity. Why didn't it have a face? The following is what I later wrote down in my journal about how God spoke into my insecurity:

"It was at this point that I realized what I have been following. By looking only at the hand of temptation [insert your own here--mine at the moment was insecurity, but could be something else on any given day], I failed to see who's hand it was that I was taking. I am walking right into the grasp of evil. He [the devil, Satan, evil...whatever you call him] does not snatch us up like we'd love to believe he does, but we willingly go. Taking his hand, we are easily led astray like a naiive child to a stranger dangling candy--a tangible representation of temptation. I always wonder how a child can be so blind to not see the danger. Am I any different? Only difference is that my stranger has many faces, but his spirit is a familiar one, almost like an old friend you know you should stay away from. Every new face of my old "friend" fools me because I look no further than his outstretched hand at that moment of weakness. Currently, I'm listening to Caedmon's Call's, 'We must dance, dance, in God's honor/We must yield all our steps unto the King.'

I think this is the only way I can throw the candy back into the stranger's face...scream, and run away."

Anybody else feel this way?