Fear seeks safety. Love seeks Truth. Please read and enjoy. Productive, truthful feedback welcome.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Spoil Each Other

Spoil Each Other

You remember my grandparents from last week, right? Gale and Mabel. In case you missed the post, it was about kindness. Theirs. And how they delighted in sharing it with others. (You can read it here if you’d like.)

This week I want to tell you how he delighted in his bride of 65 years. I missed the first 40 years of their marriage due to the fact I was not on the scene yet. It happens. Then I missed the next two or so because I was focused on other important matters: eating, sleeping, and filling diapers, so I am told. (I have since learned by my own parenting experience that these three important matters can happen in any order and often simultaneously. But that’s too much information and beside the point.)

What is not beside the point is that I got to be around them for over 20 years, initially a month at a time, then six months, then year round. We lived on the west coast, they, in the midwest. Once a year they’d come visit their only child and park their Avion trailer at our house, adding more and more time to their stay as retirement approached. Eventually they bought a lot just down the street and settled in.

Over the span of these 20+ years, I was witness to their love for each other; my wife Marcie witnessed their last four. The picture above was taken about 10 years into this 20 year window, after Mabel had a stroke which means I saw them together and fully active for the first 10 years, then much less active over the next 10 when the lifestyle change was necessitated. What I did not see was any change in their love for each other.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I actually did see a change in their love: It grew.

Gale cared for Mabel, willingly and with tenderness. He helped her in and out of bed, in and out of her chair, and in and out of each passing day until the chair was not enough and she was moved to a nursing home.

Though crestfallen from not being able to care for her personally, Gale traded in his twice daily walks, wheeling her the quarter mile from their house to ours, for longer walks alone to visit her in the nursing home. Each day, sometimes more than once, he’d walk the two miles to mindfully spend time with his bride. Mentally sharp, but physically confined, Mabel maintained her sharp wit and twinkling eyes. Gale, his loving and focused devotion to Mabel.

Little did we know this included him picking his way across a busy four lane boulevard to get to her nursing home. That is exactly what I found him doing one day during my summer job while I was driving a Pepsi truck. I pulled over, hopped out of my truck, and ushering him the rest of the way across. When we reached the sidewalk, I pointed out the crosswalk 50 feet away.

Me: Grandpa. You gotta use the crosswalk over there.

His reply?
They’ll stop. They always do.

His focused devotion to arrive at his destination was so acute, he’d eschewed the crosswalk detour in favor of the more direct and shorter route straight across traffic. And since he’d been making this walk for a couple of years, I figured he knew what he was talking about.

He had a wife to see and I had Pepsi to deliver so I begrudgingly bid him adieu. As I climbed back into my truck, I realized two valuable truths and smiled: One, come hell or high water, Grandpa was going to be with the one who made him whole. And two, when they gave Marcie and I advice just before we were getting married, they meant it, and they lived it.

Their advice?
And, inspired by their example, to the best of our ability combined with our own share of bumps and bruises along the way, we have.

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa.

Thank you for reading.

CHECK OUT The Bottom Turtle ~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Garlic or Kindness

My role models, Gale and Mabel

Do you have a role model? A heroine or hero?
I do. My grandpa and my grandma, Gale and Mabel. I have others but they are the first people I remember admiring. The first people I wanted to be like.

And I still do.
Remember them.
And admire them.
And try to be like them.
Even thirty-some years later.

I remember her subtle wit.
During her last days this side of heaven, she was asked why she didn’t just let go.
I just want to see how it all turns out.
A logical impossibility but spoken with a twinkle in her eye.

I admired his penchant for answering questions with humor.
At 78 he water skied.
Behind a boat.
On a big lake.
When asked where on the lake he’d like to go.
Why don’t I just follow you guys?
A spot on answer, but clearly not what we were going for.

And I especially liked their kindness.
Oh, the kindness.
Freely given.
To everyone.
At all times.
Oh, the kindness.

The thing is, I don’t recall specific examples. That’s probably because they weren’t merely being kind. They had in fact become kindness itself. It was in them. So much so that it seeped out. Oozed out, really, kinda like someone who had way too much garlic, except kindness smells better. And not everyone likes garlic, but who doesn’t like kindness?

So during the 20 or so years we shared time on this earth, I got to watch kindness. I got to experience kindness, their kindness. I believe that's why they became my role models.

Their model profoundly shaped my choices as I navigated this thing called living. And for the nearly 40 years since, based on their example, I have chosen kindness.

Am I kind? That’s not for me to say. What I can tell you is that I try to be kind. And not only do I try to be kind, it is my goal to become kindness. Like they became.

Garlic or kindness? I am a pretty big fan of garlic, but kindness is even better.

Who is your role model?
Whose past has profoundly shaped your present?

Perhaps more importantly, whose future are you shaping today?
We may have no idea, so just for good measure throw in a touch of kindness.


Thank you for reading.

CHECK OUT The Bottom Turtle ~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.