Friday, March 15, 2024

St Patrick's Tea with Bre

Bre is THE Holiday Queen! She is so good at planning ahead, ordering fun decorations, and prepping the kids to celebrate each holiday!  Today, I was invited to join her and the kids, and Melany and Ketziah for a St. Patrick's Day Tea. 

Gideon, Bella, Ketzia, Jojo, Annie

Fun Snacks

Today is also GG's birthday. He is 83 years old today. We'll celebrate tomorrow with the gang, but we did give him his gifts today.

Mille got groomed today. I had another productive counseling appointment today. Allie worked on schoolwork. Stacia and Lorelai went to the Art Cafe. 

Let the weekend begin. 

Remembering Through Touch by Michael

Josiah holding baby Stacia

The power of human touch is stunning. Let me take you back to when you first brushed the hand of someone you were attracted to. Giddy sensations - almost electric - coursed through your being. Perhaps you remember holding the hand of that person for the first time. It was as if something had come alive inside of you that you did not know even existed. Time has passed and you are holding your first-born child. It changes you forever. Holding that little bundle of joy is like experiencing the Garden of Eden for just a moment. It is a celebration of that first touch so long before, but there is a depth to it, a maturity in comparison to the giddy sensations of that first touch.

One of my favorite games with the kids as they were growing up was "tickle little kids." It was a free-for-all tickle session. Honestly, these were exhausting because I expended much more energy keeping my kids safe than I did actually tickling the kids. The usual course of the game was I would catch one of them and announce, "tickle little kids." They would each hurl themselves at me, and I would tickle them, and then they would run away. There were many opportunities for heads to bonk the floor or heads to bonk the next ticklee, but this seldom happened. I was tired at the end of these sessions and so were the kids - tired and happy. I remember vividly the enthusiasm the kids had for this game. I would have to catch them mid-flight as they would come zipping in at full speed. I would set them down and tickle them. They each, in turn, would squirm away, get a running start, and then I would have to catch them in mid-flight, again. As the years went by, the kids would out-grow "tickle little kids" for the simple reasons that I could not keep them safe, and they were growing up. They were just too big. The power of the tickle in those younger years was amazing. 

There are other times when touch, well, touches something deep within. Hugging someone when saying goodbye and hugging that same someone when saying hello are both different than when hugging your spouse  or a dear friend goodbye or in greeting. I remember best the hugs of returning from deployment. That last touch as we are separated for four to eight months is, as Shakespeare would say, a sweet sorrow, but that touch of reuniting is sweet joy. There is a unique power in greeting another man (I speak as a man) with that firm handshake of manhood as your father taught you or that gentle handshake you receive from a woman. There have been quite a few times I have shaken someone's hand or hugged them thinking it may be the last time to do so. On a few of these occasions, I have been correct. There are other times I did not know it was going to be my last chance to hug someone or shake their hand.

I can remember a few occasions where I have inadvertently touched someone's hand or arm and immediately known that a line, even inadvertently, had been crossed and an apology was is in order. Such is the power of touch.

These days, touch is very important. I find myself walking past Josiah's 4Runner, and I cannot help but run my hands across the surface of his car. Even when temps were below zero, I would take off my gloves just to touch something of him. 

We were over at Carrie's this past weekend. The deadbolt on the front door was really loose. I needed some tools. Josiah's tools were still in the garage where he had left them so many months ago. I found myself touching them, caressing them, clutching them close to my chest because they reminded me of him. I remember him telling me about purchasing some of them. He found them at a great price, and they would serve him well. I was proud of him. Now, they are touchpoints. They are a way of touching something material that for even a moment transcends into another dimension to allow me to be close to him whom I can no longer hold.

It is not enough to see. I must touch. There is something powerful in the tactile sensation of touching something that was his or reminds me of him.

I have gone to various cemeteries over the years. One in particular always draws me to it. It is in Hardin, MT. We were the associate pastors there for about four years and lived in the town a couple of more years. One of my responsibilities as the associate pastor was to visit the older members of the congregation. They shared many memories of life. They became very dear friends. Now, when I return to Hardin, I find myself visiting them at the cemetery. I even find myself compelled to touch those engraved marble stones. Etched with the names of old friends, I cannot help but touch them. It is a place of good memories, good conversations, good friendships. On the last time through, I found more friends there - friends I was able to  talk to the time before.

Oh, my heart. Remembering is good because I know there is much more behind me than there is before me. Touch, though, is a powerful way to allow my heart to remember. Remember?, yes, and  even more so to walk through this season of tears. We continue to embrace the joy and grief, laughter and tears, celebrations and sorrows of our journey here and now until the day we meet again those who have gone before us.