Hello Friends! It is Friday, my favorite day of the week! Not only is Friday my favorite day, it is also the day I join Kate Motaung and others, where we write five minutes on a one word prompt! Today’s word~FIVE. Won’t you join us here? I have to confess I was stumped. So here goes my five minute write on FIVE. It got complicated.
My first thought was The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 5:4~21), divide them by two, write on number five. Because, that is what a slightly recovering perfectionist with a mild case of OCD would do. And if you are one, you know you are doing the same. Soul Sister, if you are rolling in laughter right now, you are officially fired as my on board therapist. ~smile~ Not really! I need you.
Searching my mind, attempting to recall their order. I was certain I had landed on it, “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” ~Exodus 20: 8 NLT.
I could write days, or so it seems, on Sabbath Rest. How we have stretched ourselves beyond our limits, and spent ourselves empty. How Sabbath Rest refills, renews, and gives us breath. How we rob, yes rob, the Lord by not honoring this day. How we fill it with leftovers of ourselves, not only robbing him, but us as well, and often our loved ones.
Until I opened The Book.
Turning the pages, I read, “Honor thy Father and Mother”. Well, “mustard and custard,” I say. It seems I am being stretched in this small space I call home. Again.
To honor my mother, that is easy.
I was raised by a woman full of grit, making gritty choices to protect her children. Instilling values, perseverance~even in the hard. On her own and by herself, dragging us to Sunday School by our fresh scrubbed ears. Standing in the gap for three of us, and a little black dog with ears brown as mud. We called him Puppsie, and loved him much.
On the flip side of that, the father. Can I tell you how difficult it is for me to call him that? He is no longer in this world, passed on to the next. In truth, he left us long before. Roaming from one place to the other, one bottle to the next. One pill to the next. Even when at home.
My memories of him that remotely resemble anything of a father, are so far away and so long ago. I might have been twenty-four inches tall, if even that. Convinced a worm had fallen from a tree, he scooped me into his arms, scrubbing me with his evening shadow. I giggled. So did he. Checking for worms, reassuring me if there was one, it was gone. I remember the red corduroy pants I had on that day, the white turtleneck I wore (this could explain my obsession with white tees~smile~they do go back a long way). The tree I was playing beneath. It’s all clear as day. From there, it is only clear as mud.
It was about that time, the bottle took him from us.
I chuckle at that memory. I am still afraid of worms, and all slithering creatures. I try my absolute best to never, ever stand under a tree, for fear of what might fall on me.
I have made peace with all of that. I have forgiven him. I still struggle with the name thing. What do I call the man who fathered me, who loved me even when he wasn’t there. Left us when we needed him most.
He left me a few things. I recount them with a smile. My freckles, which I hated for years. I’ve made peace with them as well. My short stature, I’ve made peace with that. My eyes, blue as sky, these I love.
My love for the words of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, Willie, and Waylon.
Sunday Morning Coming Down still my all time favorite song. Tears still slip down my face. He was the man who had a beer for breakfast, another for dessert. Dirty shirts, the smell of cigarettes, haunted by the want to go home and what he lost somewhere along the way. He died lonely and alone. I know this.
I can still picture his unkempt hand strumming strings on his guitar, singing Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.
In the end, in what he didn’t give us, he gave us much.
There so much more to this story. Maybe I will write it one day.
For now my five minutes is long gone, and there are cookies to bake, more words to pen, and rest.
I will close with this:
Dennis Prager in his book, The TEN Commandments: Still The Best Moral Code, says this: “The Fifth of the Ten Commandments reads: ‘Honor your father and your mother.’
This commandment is so important that is is one of the only commandments in the entire Bible that gives a reason for observing it: ‘That your days maybe long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.’
Many people read that part of the Fifth Commandment as a reward. But while it may be regarded as a reward, the fact remains that it is a reason: if you build a society in which children honor their parents, your society will long survive. And the corollary is: a society in which children do not honor their parents is doomed to self-destruction.”
Amen and amen!
Now to the good stuff. Monday, September 26th, this sweet little book releases and with it, I will have a give away on my blog. Stay tuned and be sure to sign up to receive my emails!
Following that, October will find me behind my desk committed to Write31Days. Here is a teaser!
“Today is the day we begin this journey. I long to take your hand as we travel dusty roads, venture down the paths less traveled. We may cross the tracks and find ourselves on the wrong side of town as our story unfolds.”
I hope you will join me for this as well!
Gifts of Grace