Reborn on the 4th of July
It was July 4th, 2013, almost exactly 6 years ago. We were leasing a house in a subdivision in Rockwall because we needed shelter and there was nothing available in Forney. It had been a rough several years. Kevin’s bank had flat out failed and ceased to exist. His departments had been whittled away and sold to other institutions. We’d lost a child. I’d lost a body part and a decent amount of sanity. We were still a bit untethered and a whole bunch of scared. We were, basically, just like any other American family. Everyone has stuff. As a part of our recovery celebration, since we were still standing after that long storm, we decided to do a study of mindfulness. Who were we, really? What are we doing? There were no right answers and no wrong ones, either. It’s just good to know where you stand in between the crashing waves. One thing was for sure, the American dream had shifted. The one thing we wanted back, our Chynna, was lost to us. But, there were so many ridiculous pre-loss ideas of what we should want that just didn’t fit anymore. Here we were, renting a house that was too big, driving a car that seemed too ostentatious, and feeling like every smile was forced. There was some fakery in the bakery, so to speak. Our decision? Simplify. And, above all else, let’s figure a way to get back home to Forney.
I have an obsession with old, decrepit things that borders on ridiculous. I think it all stems from my maternal grandfather who, post Ford plant retirement, dug tanks for the Hunt brothers on their farms, partially for some spare change but mostly for squirrel hunting rights. He’d bring me the best bulldozer treasures, like animal bones and empty turtle shells whose occupants had met their maker but left behind their bodily homes. We’d clean the shells with soapy water and old toothbrushes, careful not to break a single inner vertebrae. Next, he would shellac the shells while I sat by, patiently waiting on them to dry. How could something so beautiful rise from the ashes of something abandoned and muddied? To this day, when I see dust or dirt or rust or decay, I know what promise lies in wait. In 2013, I finally grasped the lesson life was trying to teach me. It isn’t only things that clean up well with love and elbow grease. People do, too.
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