A photo I snapped with my phone this week, from my backyard when there was actually a little bit of sunshine. 🙂
I attended a funeral this week for one of the heroes of my youth, Rosemary Neider. Love flowed out of this woman and wrapped itself around every person privileged to be part of her life. If she knew you, she loved you and made you feel wonderfully important. She was my Young Womens (church youth group) leader and dear friend to my mother. I grew up along side her children, which was a blessing to me in many ways. Her funeral was packed to the brim with over 1,000 people whose lives she had influenced for good. Many friends and loved ones from my childhood and teenage years were there, and as I sat next to my good parents, listening to the service I was filled with gratitude for the opportunity to grow up seeing so many wonderful examples and with so much love offered to me.
I didn’t have what you would call a fancy childhood. I didn’t grow up in a wealthy neighborhood where women wore expensive clothes to church, teenagers drove shiny new cars and families went on extravagant vacations. We weren’t poor, but we weren’t rich either…at least, I should say we weren’t rich in terms of money.
We were rich in a different kind of way.
We were abundantly fortunate…rich… with good, hard-working, kind, loving, supportive people surrounding us. I always felt loved, not only from my parents and family but from the good people in our community. They helped to shape me into the person I am now. Not through any huge, news-worthy event or undertaking. But by showing a good example and offering kindnesses, in small ways.
A pat on the back after I’d played at a piano recital with a smile and a “Boy, you are sure getting good, Jamie!”
A sunday school teacher putting her arm around my shoulder and asking “How are things going for you at high school this year?”
Youth leaders who planned activities that built strong relationships and testimonies.
My YW leader (Rosy, whose funeral I mentioned) visiting with me for a long time, at a YW retreat when I was worried about pulling a good grade in math (never has been my strong suit). “What is the worst that can happen?” she said. “Think of what that could be, if you can deal with that you can deal with whatever happens.”
School teachers who inspired me to read great literature, and appreciate beauty in the written word.
Friends who invested in long hours of talking and laughing and talking and laughing. (You know who you are…)
I was loved simply, and I was loved well.
These wonderful words were referenced many times during Rosy’s funeral. I love them. They are a relief to me. We live in such a Big Fast Bold World, these days! There is so much pressure to do grand and momentous things. Plan fancy birthday parties for our kids, immaculately decorate our homes with DIY projects while spending only 75 cents, run 2 or 3 marathons a year, enroll our children in music, dance, art, acting and karate lessons while they play 59 team sports to be sure the can “recognize and reach their full potential”. The busier, the better…right? Just try taking a 5 minute stroll through Pinterest and you could walk away with an anxiety disorder, truly. At least I could! That place gives me heart palpitations lately.
I’ve been grateful for the reminder this week, not to lose sight of the simple things.
It’s how we love each other that matters most, isn’t it. How we carefully, and kindly look after the people in our lives.
A special shout out to those of you reading this who were part of my growing up years. I love you. Thank you for treating me so well.