The horn of plenty takes me to the laden Thanksgiving table with my family circled around it. There, I again hear the rich tones of my parents, now deceased, and loved ones I seldom see. As if I’d gone back in time, I sit at my place, the chair that squeezed me between the wall and table where I listened to the conversation over my smacking and fidgeted as I wait for another piece of pie. The memories rush in, and it’s as if I grow older in that chair. My feet cease to dangle, my slurping stops, but the presence of family lingers.
Returning to the present, I see the platter my brother made. Part of a harvest display, its orange sheaves of wheat speak to my grown-up soul in an almost spiritual way. But, in my childhood, it hung on our wall just above the table. It wasn’t a fall decoration then, and thinking of it in terms of the past plops me on the shoulders of my big brother, my lifetime hero. There, I was taller than the insecurities and uncertainties I often felt, a perspective God bids me to believe about myself today.
Memories move me from childhood to my twenties as my eyes collide with faded flowers in a weary basket. Some of the sunflower centers look like half-shaven men as the glue holding the fuzzies in place disintegrates. Still, they transport me to my old church nursery where packages were exchanged and the more meaningful discoveries of church sisterhood were realized. There, someone who didn’t know me so well worked diligently to make me feel special— shopping, crafting, and writing cards while she slyly got acquainted with me inside and out. She was a new friend, but the canister on my counter reminds me of an old one and the giggles that jangled between us.
In this memory, my friend sat cross-legged in the middle of her bed. Items she was discarding lay scattered around her, waiting to join the other rejects in the overflowing laundry basket. Meanwhile, I salvaged treasures from the junk pile. It was just a canister I carried home that day, but it reminds me that friendship isn’t severed by differences; it’s strengthened because of it. It says we can laugh at ourselves and accept one another in spite of being opposites because friends really are for life.
These fall decorations of mine may be nothing more than trinkets within themselves, but the lantern I decorate each season shines the light of a mother in Zion whose prayer wings were big enough to cover an orphan. It whispers her tearful words that she’d be there for me since I no longer had a mom to wipe tears, hold me close, or pray those fervent prayers.
And lest I become too entangled in the poignant past, my whimsical turkey perches precariously on my bookshelf, reminding me of another mother and the day this trusting little mama released her newborn into my arms. She was the second young lady to do so, gifting me with the joy of baby smells, nap-time snuggles, and angel kisses. In a season in which my arms felt empty as I struggled to let my own children be the adults they were meant to be, another little family climbed right into the pocket of my heart where I keep my treasures—those living and breathing blessings occasionally typified by things made of plaster, plastic and fabric.
While my memories are sometimes condensed into things, they are never confined to the tangible, which can become chipped, faded, or worn with use. They are free and wild and full-- an extension of the people who have, and therefore, always will color my world--every season of my life.
Tip/Tidbit: Remember that you matter. Each day, your life impacts and influences others--sometimes for a lifetime.