Years fly by, and memories fade a little, but they seem to get sweeter with time. It is a gift to remember people you have known, even if your time together was short.
It's a gift to sit with older people and listen to their stories. I am grateful for the wealth of wisdom they have shared with me over the years. I spent summers as a teenager volunteering in the hospital, sitting by many bedsides reading to folks, listening to music, playing games, reminiscing. On the surface of things, I was doing them a service. But in reality, they were giving me a gift. That was a very formative experience in my life.
A little later on in my teenage years, I began cleaning house for an elderly couple in my church. They were still fairly independent, but they needed someone to touch up the house, so they said. First, they were immaculate housekeepers, so there wasn't much to touch up. Second, they probably were yearning for someone to spend time with them. So I did. Looking back, I see what a gift that was, not for them, but for me.
They were quiet people, but so full of stories. I heard many times about how they got engaged. He gave her a watch instead of a ring, and they would chuckle about how he would always ask her what time it was just to get her to admire that watch. We would sit together with our iced tea (that was so, so good and southern sweet!), and I would listen to their stories of seminary, raising kids, pastoring a church, and all in between.
Pete and Sarah, those were their names. They loved each other so much. I loved observing their aged, seasoned marriage, tested by time and proven true. As I was on the cusp of my own marriage, they gave me the gift of example that I cherish to this day.
I admired their attention to detail. As I said, their house was always neat. They were very methodical, orderly, and thrifty. Sarah had a sewing machine. I never saw her use it, but I know she did. She would make her clothes and things around the house. That doll in the picture above came from her. The stitching is perfect, and I am sure it was made from some scrap of something she had. They are both gone now, but I am grateful to have something she made to remind me of the time we shared together.
As I sit stitching this and that, night after night, I sometimes wonder if it is a luxury I can't afford. Time is precious. But you can't put a price on the things you make and give. When I look at the things I have from those I love, I see that their time and creativity is a priceless gift money could never buy. Those things spark my memory, warm my heart (and body), and remind me of their love.