I don’t really know when the silky fur of the plant commonly known as “lamb’s ear” became synonymous with your grandmother.
I guess it was after Sophia, the oldest, continually exclaimed, “Look mom, lamb’s ear!” and proceeded to show me the furry ear-shaped leaf. I knew your grandmother, a certified Master Gardener, had given her this information. I surely hadn’t, I don’t like gardening very much. Not only, am I not very good at it, but also, I just prefer words. But your grandmother could talk about dirt all day long. She truly has the heart of her father, who had been a good ole’ Texas farmer.
You probably remember me, taking a sabbatical from family-life to write my first novel (well…not my first novel, but my first successful attempt at a novel). I found myself taking a break to wander the land at The Cabins at Angels Springs near Georgetown, Texas.
And of course, next to one of the four cabins, I spotted some lamb’s ear. I picked the first one I saw, which happened to be a little broken, but soft as ever.
I caressed it as a walked along the granite pathway that winds in front of the cabins, through a wooded area and up to their wedding events center, Angel Springs Events Center, located a stone’s throw away from the land on which the cabins lay nestled.
Sitting on a metal bench, I was thankful the sun wasn’t blazing down and there was a warm breeze.
I looked at the fuzzy light-green leaf and smiled, remembering how grandma knocked on my cabin door at 8 a.m. to make sure I had enough coffee and creamer.
She asked what time I had stayed up writing until: 4 a.m. That didn’t deter her. We made a pot of coffee.
I wasn’t upset that I hadn’t gotten much sleep. I had expected her to do as much, in fact, if she hadn’t had woken me up, I would have been a little disappointed. With nearly five children, most of our visits are broken conversations and her assisting me with a diaper or a bath. This was a time just for her and me.
And it was sweet. Full of laughter, a few tears talking about grief and loss, which is one of the many themes in my book, and the sharing of hopes for the future.
As I sat, I wished I could hold onto the sweetness of our meeting, of the time away, of the warm breeze. I wished I could hold on to her, forever. Just as I sometimes wish I could hold on to you girls forever.
But the truth is, all of it will pass away. Only the Word of God, which is Jesus, will remain.
Isaiah 51:6 (NIV) Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.
Luke 21:33 (NIV) Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
I don’t remember my mom being perfect, she still isn’t. I know as a mom, I am not perfect. And I’m sure you would agree!
But just as the lamb’s ear in my fingers was a little mangled and torn. It is still soft and velvety, beautiful because it was the one I picked and had been petting it for 10 minutes, making it even softer. (Believe me, I went to pick another “more perfect” one to and found none near as soft as the one I can been rubbing. So, I picked another one, but still kept the imperfect one to press in my journal.)
As a mom, sister and a daughter, I know the temptation is to hoard our love, hoard our forgiveness, hoard our stuff, whether it be Barbies or our time.
I know how frustrated and impatient I can get when I want to take a moment for myself and one of you is going on and on about what you just “bought” in your “Build a Bear” world online.
I thought about this very thing, then compare it to me going on and on about the novel I was writing to my own mother, as she sat patiently listening with genuine interest.
(Lord, help me to listen to the things I think are the mundane details of my children’s lives, because one day, it won’t be her online world, it will be her real life, with real details, and she will be wanting real approval and authentic interest shining back in her mother’s eyes.)
I can’t hold onto my mother. I can’t hold onto my “me time.” I can’t hold onto my husband. I can’t hold on to you girls. I must enjoy each one of them as they come.
Grandma took two of you away for a night at the cabins and reminded me to “play with the little ones.” Little did she know that right at that very moment, the baby was walking around playing peek-a-boo, looking like Cousin It from the “Adam’s Family” (I’m sure you have NO idea what that is!). It was that little reminder I needed to grab hold of that moment, before it slipped away.
I will fight to not let these moments pass me by, to live a life without regret (another theme in my book). But when these moments are gone, when peek-a-boo is over and a diaper needs to be changed, when this day slips by and I have to go home to my own chores and cease my “writer’s getaway,” and one day when grandma finally goes to see her Maker, I will have to let it slip from my hands, tucking the memory, in the form of a lamb’s ear, into the folds of my journal, and move on with life, which is Christ.
Philippians 1:21 (NIV) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
So, let us hold things loosely whether good or bad, loss or gain, hurt or pain, love or joy. In the end, it all will slip out of our grasp and as the words of a martyr for Christ, Jim Elliot admonish us to adhere:
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
In the end the only thing that will remain, is Christ. Hold onto Him alone.
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