Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Making me think about stuff

Tonight, Sydney was picking up some of her toys to take upstairs, and she and I were just sorta walking and talking as we headed to her room. While we we talked, she just nonchalantly said, "It's so easy being me."

Wow! Isn't that an attitude more of us need to have?

How often do we stop and think that it's easy to be me?; that I like who I am; that life is good, and really not as complex as we sometimes make it out to be, that sometimes we just make it more difficult than it's really supposed to be.

Sometimes things should just be good, and we should be able to say, "I like who I am...I like where I'm at...it's really not so bad being me."

Sure, you say, that's easy to say. But not so easy to do.

Well, I say this, not as a Pollyanna/everything is always perfect sort of person. I actually say this in the throes of some things that have made me really sad in the last couple of days.

I've been dealing lately with the knowledge that my Grandma Sloan will probably not live much longer. She has become a shell of the woman she once was...the woman who used to feed me the best crowder peas you can imagine, excitedly shared with me the newest acquisition she'd made to her doll collection, let me help her make her delicious german chocolate cake, told me stories of how God spoke to her, and beat me at Scrabble. She's now in a nursing home, unable to take care of herself, forgetting why she's even there.

And that breaks my heart.

Then, I just found out that a friend from church...who was younger than I am...had passed away. Her family sent me this notice about her death: "Andrea Kornegay Smith passed away last night after a long and sometimes painful fight with ovarian cancer. She is survived by her husband, Davi, and her daughter, Rebecca, her mother, father, step-mother, sister, an large extended family. She will be missed greatly by all knew her."

Andrea played Bunko with me; she was a young woman with a wonderful laugh and a special panache in wearing stylish wigs and hats; and her daughter, Rebecca, is just five-years-old.

As I thought about Andrea's losing battle with cancer, I was struck most by the sadness that must have gripped her as she realized that she wouldn't see her little girl grow up, go to junior high, get married someday.

But how even more overwhelming it must have been to know that she'd miss the bubbles, and the picnics, and the frosting fingers, and the pillow fights, and the giggles, and all the insightful things that five-year-olds always end up saying to you.

Things like, "It's so easy being me."

I'm not really even sure how those two things go together...how Sydney's insightful words go together with sadness and grief and uncertainty.

I'm thinking that it means something, though. I think it's God way of telling me (through Sydney, as He often has a way of doing) that life is a big ole mixture of jumbled up emotions and feelings, and disappointments and triumphs, and losses and victories, and tears and laughter.

That it's not just one or the other...it's the death of a friend, alongside the easygoing contentment of a child.

And that, because life is so short and so fragile, that we should take hold of it by the reins. We should take every opportunity to live it the way we know we need to--and God wants us to--as if knowing it was our last opportunity to do so.

And that sometimes we just need to breathe a little and just enjoy being.

I'm not really even sure if that makes any sense to any of you as I write this late on a Tuesday evening (almost Wednesday morning); I'm not sure it totally makes sense to me. All I can say is...thank goodness, yet again, for Sydney's openness to say what's on her heart. Because it, invariably, touches my own.


Edleen said...

sending you *Hugs* Cheryl.

Gin said...

Such wisdom in what Sydney had to say. So very true.

Hoping you have a good day today.

Lynilu said...

Children who haven't yet learned the cynical thought patterns are amazingly wise and insightful. I love hearing their wisdom. And your Sydney is among the best.

Here is a good thing to know from my perspective: I believe it is possible to regain part of that honest, open point of view. In the last few years, when I decided to quit pushing against the busyness of life, I've come back to a better frame of mind and I'm finding it easier to be me. In past decades we have revved up our lives, complicated our daily schedules to the point of taking away life's simplest joys. Many of us seem to feel that "down time," or "free time" is a bad thing.

Kids have schedules of activities that keep the whole family moving .... no, running .... from sun up to sunset. Mom & Dad get the kids off to school, rush off to work, hurry home to taxi kids to activities. Dinner is often eaten on the run and not together. Home after activities, bath time and off to bed. I'm not saying kids shouldn't be involved in activities, only pointing out how tightly packed our schedules have become. And how narrowing it can be.

Even without kids at home, I lived that kind of schedule until my husband died. My world changed with his death. (Isn't it sad that it took a death to make me be quiet and think?) I decided to slow down and take time to live. It has been a difficult transition for me. I still often feel guilty about sitting and doing nothing. I feel the push to always be active, busy, productive. But the times when I talk myself out of "doing," I feel much like Sydney expressed. It really is pretty easy being me when I let myself *just be*.

Hmmm. Children and old people. Perhaps I'm enjoying my second childhood by tuning into who I am. I like it, whatever it is!

I love Sydney's wisdom as you frequently share here. She will probably begin to lose some of that in the coming years, but I hope you can encourage her to have enough quiet time to retain the essence of herself.

Stephenie said...

Sydney is much wiser than her years. She is absolutely inspiring. I didn't know Andrea, but Ray told me a little about her. It's a tragic time for her family, but I'm sure that little girl will grow up and make her Mommy very proud :]

camport said...

Your kid is awesome. Great post.


Cheryl Wray said...

Ed--Thanks for the hugs!

Gin--Every day is good...some are just sadder than others.

Lynilu--You are SO right in everything you said. Life is so busy, but I try and do my best to give us some "centered" moments, whether it's just being able to talk or have fun together. Gotta keep things in perspective, for sure! (And thank you for always coming by my blog--I love the wisdom you have to share!)

Steph--It just makes me so sad to think of her not having her Mommy. Andrea was a really sweet person.

Camport--Yep, she is something else. She keeps it real for me, that's for sure!

hippo chick said...

Out of the mouths of babes... This is such a wonderful post. In the midst of sadness, there is joy, in the middle of the rainstorm, comes the rainbow. If we are never in the valley, how can we truly enjoy the mountaintop?

This was an outstanding post that touched my heart and soul.

~hippo hugs~

Gretchen said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend, and for the fact that your grandma is not doing well, Cheryl.

I think God sent you a hug thru Sydney.

I also think that a lesser person (a less grateful or less in tune person) would've missed His whisper in her remarks.

She speaks to me, too. And I needed to hear it today.

Just Me Again said...

Hugs my friend. Sydney has her heart in the right place! I have so much to learn from that statement! And I do believe she is a little messenger of God. And now, both, you and Sydney have touched and inspired my soul again. Thank you! Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Just WOW.


Stephenie said...

It is so sad. She's gonna grow up, though, to be a strong, happy, outgoing woman. Andrea will be very proud of her, I know it.

Cheryl Wray said...

Hippo--You're absolutely right! Life is all about the highs and the lows, and we can't really appreciate the beauty until we've had the hard times as well. Thanks for the sweet compliment!

Gretchen--Sydney definitely has special pipeline to God's heart. She's really quite amazing.

Just Me--You're so sweet! Love ya too.

Anon--Hugs back at ya! :-)

Stephenie--I know. That's what you gotta hold on to.

Stephenie said...

Definitely. This Mother's Day will be esecially hard for a few people...

But with God keeping them all strong, things will be just fine :]

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
- Phil. 4:13

Kathy said...


I am so sorry for the loss of your friend and the news about your Grandmother.

I wish there was something I could say to help you feel better!

I am so glad you are finding comfort through Sydney!

You continue to amaze me with how you always find a positive way to interpret things.

My thoughts are with you!