It’s not the only one treasured and saved. There are others such as the one of Grandma and him in their “younger” days. Yet, true to how life brings the messages needed at the right time, it was this picture nearing day twenty-four I would find. The traditional of an advent calendar contained surprises behind each door; each one special and from the heart, though this one became more.
His heart belonged to his family, to his farm, to his neighbors, and his community. His heart also belonged to souls with four legs and paws for feet. He lived his life in faith, with compassion, and of servitude. Gently partnering with Mother Nature to grow crops, gardens, and flowers he also knew. Creativity as builder, simplicity is life’s abundancy. A man of few words, most remembered at his celebration of life for how he was ever smiling.
I don’t remember lengthy conversations where he imparted his wisdom about life’s ebbs and flows on to me. But as I look at this picture, I know he was significantly responsible for teaching me there is powerful communication through heartbeats. Just as I had heard gratitude and simplicity from the tree and ornaments on Christmas Eve when nine months old, my love for dogs and compassion for others from Grandpa I would come to know.
We never got to finish his life story, blank pages not meant to be filled as legacy. Instead, his story is in our memories, letters Grandma wrote on behalf of both of them, pictures such as these. I reflect on life stories I have written for others – how years one lives fit into a few hundred written words as the essence of one’s life. The more years one lives, the less words are needed to describe. A person may have walked millions of steps while their time on Earth, but their footprints they leave the same. Though the size of their steps will have grown through the years, their soul foundation unchanged.
If you were allowed only one photograph for people to view, what would that picture be to reflect the essence of you? Do you have one already taken that speaks of your heart’s priorities? Is there something you would add or edit before letting others see? If you weren’t aware and someone took a picture of you sitting with someone, or doing something, that makes your heart sing, what words would they use to describe you from their memories? Is there a word missing from their list, if you were to imagine what they would say? Is there growth in the size of your footstep that you would like to make, a positive change?
Among its many messages this picture has for me, elevating a priority on simplicity it speaks. I read words the other day about things stored in closets and totes out of sight does not mean clutter free. What better way to also honor Grandpa for his servitude than donating.
And, as I hug Ginger I smile feeling myself on a porch, or better yet, sitting in silence next to Grandpa listening.
Thump, thump, thump…the rhythm of love’s heart beats.