Mama said, "Wanta-bees, oughta-bees, should-bees, and coulda-bees, don't give any honey. There is a lot of truth to that. I oughta vacuum my car. I should scrub the toilet. I wanta be skinny. I would be patient if I wasn't cranky. I oughta be more energetic, and efficient. What's on your list?
When is the last time one of those gave some honey? Ummm let me think, in 52+ years not even once. Why then, do we insist on torturing ourselves with all those bees? When we get buried will someone say, "this woman worked her fingers to the bone keeping her house clean". I actually really like my house to be clean, but that is not how I hope to be remembered.
If each day has "enough trouble of it's own" do we need to go looking for extra? Solomon had it all, he had riches, power, prestige, a choice of wives over 300 of them, he philosophized, and tried drinking, food, everything. He did it and had it all. His conclusion was that the whole shootin match was vanity, or worthless. His advice to us, eat, drink and enjoy your work, enjoy each day. How many of us actually can say we enjoy our days? Or enjoy our meals? Do we take time to prepare food and eat together? When do we talk? When do we relax? What are we working for?
One benefit of working with dying patients and cancer patients is watching how quickly people can prioritize what is important when faced with severe illness. Most people focus on their relationships with others exclusively. A pastor friend of mine once gave a message and he said one of those things I can't forget. "If you knew a building was scheduled for demolition would you invest everything into it? Would you decorate it and embellish it and invest all you had into it"? Then came the one, two punch, "Isn't it all scheduled for demolition"?
What is lasting? How about simple sweet memories? Taking the time to bake something with your kids, or lay on the floor and watch a movie together. People, our families and friends are all we really can invest in to make a difference. We are a funny people though, we get involved with all this other stuff. We polish it, paint it, and fix it up, only to remodel it again in the future. When I look back on my life at home, growing up, I remember family dinners and holidays. I remember my brothers pulling stunts on me, and getting even with them. I remember our cat.
When my mom sold our home the lady that bought it came in and painted, she changed the paper in the cupboards and put new linoleum in the kitchen. It wowed me. The house looked brand new. I had some critical thoughts of my Mom. Why didn't she fix up our house? When I grew up I would paint and not let my house get all beat up and nasty looking. Hummm.
My mom fixed us delicious home made meals. Mom grew flowers and got jiffy pop for watching a movie. Mom grew up on a farm where the walls probably needed painting. She rode her horse bareback because he was a field horse and they had no saddle. She picked cotton to buy her school clothes. She had one pair of shoes if any, at a time. Mama died when I was 26 and I discovered it was not so important the impressive things that could be done with a house. I miss little surprises like someone buying you some new underwear, or a nice bottle of hand cream. I miss getting to pick my favorite food for my birthday dinner; and don't remember any of my presents. I'll never forget the peach pie my mom could bake, or her fried chicken and biscuits that she cut out with a glass.
Sometimes Piglet says that all I do is remind her of her chores. Not good. not the kind of memory I'd like to make. What are the things we do for love? What can we do to put good memories into the hearts of our families? How do we communicate love and fill up their love tanks? When Piggy was a little girl and wanted to cuddle and snuggle she'd say,"I have the poppin feelin" that meant she was feeling her heart get full. It's more challenging these days to figure out what makes the girls feel the poppin feeling. I still get distracted with the house and it's projects, but what I really want to do is fill them up. My family, my friends, my realm of influence, those are what is lasting. Am I a sentimental old lady, or too soon old, too late smart? When I read about the stress young mothers are under it makes my heart break. Life is too short not to choose carefully. Some are getting it. Young women that go somewhere without makeup and in their slippers because they are tired and know their limits. Some take pictures of their babies feet in the bread dough. There are women out there who want out of the mold that says" you must look good". "Your things define your worth". Some have figured out that it is a big fat lie and a jip. Others are on the journey and figuring life out; keep on keeping on and do those things for love.