Friday, May 28, 2010

Inheritance

Knock, knock, knock; the door being knocked on was my alarm yesterday morning. A small Jack Russell Terrier came up to join me on the bed for a morning snuggle and rub. She is a sweet pup and gave me a good excuse for not jumping right out of bed. I was tired and struggling to get moving.
Finally convincing myself, and the dog, that we really should get up and face the day; I donned my work jeans, an old t-shirt, and pulled my hair back into a somewhat short pony tail. The idea was to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s house before the heat of the day really set in. My grandmother has had so many beautiful plants in her yard over the years that I think her whole hand must be green, forget just the green thumb thing. As a child, I remember leaving the kitchen and walking onto a concrete porch and the snowball bushes greeted me. Big white fragrant blooms and glossy dark green leaves were the gateway to a botanical playground. This was where I was headed, though it is not the yard of my childhood. It has been several years of poor health for my grandparent’s and the yard was showing the loss of energy that occurred as a result. Weeds were poking through, but the flowers were still there and still strong. My mother and I came with coffee cans, the plastic kind, rooting hormone, and trash bags. You see, these plants are in a way part of my inheritance, my legacy from this grandmother. She loved the beauty in the hybrid roses just as she did the wild roses, the weeds others threw away she could still name them and see them as beautiful.
“Now, try to get some with the roots on it,” Grandma said as I would dig. My mind drew a connection as I traced the roots to the dirt and dug deeply around them. Our inheritance, our legacy is something like that. It is a long rooted thing. By the end of a hardworking, very hot, couple of hours, the coffee cans were full of starts. Roses, snowball bushes, lilies, and other plants were tucked in with their native dirt, deposited for the day and night on an aunt’s shady porch and watered. My grandmother sees beauty in things others call weeds, potential in what others call hopeless. It is a beautiful inheritance that she has given and is giving her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Then, leaving there and after a much needed shower, I headed to a friend’s house. There are some friends if you are fortunate enough to find, you must tend and maintain the friendship because it is truly a priceless and precious part of your life. It was to this friend’s house I went next. Immediately surrounded by a comfortable place, where I feel welcomed so much by the fact that she doesn’t have to rush around like a mad woman trying to pick up. Isn’t that nice, when you are comfortable enough with someone to not have to do that on a very busy day, knowing that they didn’t come to see the house but you? This is a very special family, a husband and wife and son. The little boy is also receiving an inheritance. He can’t trace it back to a rosebush that his grandmother’s grandmother had at this point, but he has an inheritance nonetheless. It is one that his parents and grandparents are building for him, with their love, attention, instruction, teaching, discipline, joy, and care. I love to watch these two in action, because they are intentionally parenting. In other words, they are intentionally and continuously examining their role as parents and seeking to do their absolute best.
Intentionally looking beyond the names others attach to “flowers or weeds”, intentionally parenting and modeling behavior, intentionally seeking out the roots and caring for them and taking the risk of failure for the risk of success. It is a legacy indeed.