So, today is the ten year anniversary of the St. Valentines Day tornadoes that devastated my precious hometown of Camilla, Georgia. In church this morning some videos and photographs were shared from that time which brought on flashbacks and brought memories to my mind that I wasn't really prepared to handle.
When I see the frivolity around this day for many, it just leaves me feeling that the point is totally missed.
My precious eight year old ran into the den and threw his arms around my neck and said “Happy Valetimes, Mommy” and plopped a quick smack upon my lips.
Yes, that pretty much sums it up. With the tornado and the 22 deaths and 250 homes destroyed, I learned that the time is short. One second my town was quiet and at peace and the next moment a freight train of three monstrous tornadoes were tearing through homes and lives like a ravenous dog into a poorly closed trash can.
I shall relish the time. My husband is sitting here playing his favorite shooter-game (since my oldest is off skiing this weekend), my daughter is reading Twilight in her room (for the 20th time) and my eight year old is quietly tucked in bed with Crispy the cat asleep on the couch next to me and Boots at the foot of the bed in my bedroom. The heater is humming quietly and I'm listening to Josh Groban with my new noise canceling headphones I'm testing for the LOOOONNNG airline trip to Mumbai this Saturday.
And yet, these are the times. I treasure them. Like a beautiful flower – if I crush this time in my hand and hold too tightly the experience will be destroyed. I sort of have to sit back and enjoy it and peer at it. Smell the fragrance of the pear crisp candle burning on my coffee table and the leftover carrot cake that I need to carry to the kitchen. These times don't last.
Sort of like the lovely poem, Laughter in the Walls, where the author talks about storing up memories so that when his kids are gone, he says of his house:
“But it won't be empty.
Every corner, every room,
every nick in the coffee table
will be crowded
Memories of picnics,
bedside vigils, summers,
fires, winters, going barefoot,
leaving for vacation, cats,
conversations, black eyes,
graduations, first dates,
ball games, arguments,
washing dishes, bicycles,
dogs, boat rides,
getting home from vacation,
and a thousand other things
that fill the lives
of those who would raise five.
And Peg and I
will sit quietly by the fire
and listen to the
laughter in the walls.”
I will hold these things and remember.
These are things I cannot nor shall I give up. I shall not live life with fear, but I shall live life with tenderness. With the knowledge that times don't stay stagnant and that time passes. Nothing is permanent. Things change.
It is not about morbid pondering of future pain and loss but about a deep inhalation of the times, flavors, and colors of these loves while I am surrounded by them so that when things change and they are not near that in my mind, still, I may hold their fragrance dear.
Happy Valentimes Day, my friends. Drink deeply. Live deeply. Love passionately. Remember fondly. And throw all you have into these times so that you may live the rest of your life with happy memories and no regrets.
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