Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim. Proverbs 15:4 (The Message)
Besides the fact that our reservations had ended and our money running out, we had to leave Blue Ridge because I offered to host a church gathering at our house on Sunday, the last day of our vacation. I did as I always do, volunteer before I know all the facts. I was shocked to find out it was to be held about thirty-six hours after our scheduled return. Someday, I am going to learn. As it turned out, other than forcing us to return home, it was not as difficult as I imagined. Because of my compulsion to clean before I leave on vacation, the house was already fairly tidy. We served spaghetti, and I made the sauce before we left so there was really nothing to do but sweep up a week’s worth of sand the dogs tracked in, spruce up the bathrooms and reheat the sauce. Everyone brought something including tons of salads and desserts so there was plenty to eat, and because there were so many, most people ate outside under the trees. There was no rain and a nice breeze to keep everyone comfortable. Our guests were members of a committee on which I have been serving at church and their families, so we had a mix of ages. It was fun to have children in the house again, and there were several tiny ones as well as some of elementary school age. They brought their bikes and balls and played in the yard just like my boys used to do. I took them all out to see the horses, and the kids fed them grass through the fence. I can’t wait to have grandchildren. I am going to make a better grandmother than I was a mother. That instinct was reinforced by an encounter between a father and his young son. The boy was about five and had been a handful all day. I know his dad was exasperated and a little embarrassed, but truly, I found his energy fun to watch. Well, I wasn’t the one chasing him! He was carrying his Styrofoam plate loaded with spaghetti and just as he stepped from the kitchen into the dining room, the plate wobbled out of his hands and onto the floor. Dad was mortified and said, “Why did you have to go and do that? Why weren’t you more careful?” Then, he apologized to me. I swooped in, cleaned up the mess in less than a minute and said, “Those kinds of things happen, no harm done.” That’s the difference twenty years can make in a person. When my son was five, I didn’t see it so kindly and would have been saying the same sorts of things to my boy. I wish I had realized then, the impact of my words on my children and the fact that their joy was more important than a clean house. I don’t think the dad got my message. But, then, neither did I so long ago.