Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Life Before Me May 9, 2013

I was thinking today about the trees that make up a forest. There are so many possible applications of the idea it makes my little doggie head hurt. But (as usual) my heart tells me to stop complaining and start doing something about it.

The other day when mom was fixing dinner, I heard something I recognized from a favorite movie of mine called “Elizabethtown.” I thought nothing of it at first, but then mom said something to dad about it being a song at their wedding. “Remember sweetie, this was on our wedding CD?” she said.

Happy CamperAlas, I was getting a glimpse into the lives of my people before they were my people. I wish I’d been at their wedding, but I digress. In that moment I realized the music mom had been listening to while cooking was (in fact) the infamous wedding CD I’ve heard my dear aunt Morgan talk about in the past. It was a unique yet impressionable image of my parents when they were most happy and in love.

At their wedding was also a familiar Bible passage from Corinthians, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Indeed love perseveres. From what I understand, the year that followed the marriage of my parents was not an easy one. My mom, who was studying clinical psychology while working for a local newspaper, lost her job the following May. Two weeks later, her dad died suddenly. And for six months after that, she worked with her mom (my beloved grandmother) to ensure she would be okay after this was all behind us.

If there is something I’ve heard her say more than once in reference to that time in her life, it is simplicity at its finest. Those tough times define who she was then and who she is now. I saw it the other day when she was fixing dinner. I heard something I recognized that night from her life before me. But tonight I realized that isn’t such a bad thing. Like I said last night, it’s not all about me. (Heaven forbid). But that is the first in many steps to making a bigger impact on the world. That is my bigger goal in life. That is bigger than me.

Just like that forest of trees I was pondering today. Each and every moment we live is like a tree in our own personal forest of memories. Every person we meet, and every experience we have builds our surroundings into a better place. I’m not happy those things happened to my mom (and by proxy my dad) and her family, but let’s face it: some trees aren’t quite as pretty as others. But they all make up our forest, and for that we should be grateful.