I am reading a book right now. It chronicles the lives of a few families over three generations. It is making history come alive for me and by sharing the intimate stories of these people, it makes it so much more personal. I am watching them live and love. I am watching them die. It is reminding me that so many quiet lives have been lived out for centuries. Most of these people will not be remembered. But they lived with their people.
Out of all the generations and human souls that have ever lived, I realized how incredible it is that I am living out my quiet life with my people. I was born into a family with my mom, Mikki, and my dad, Dennis. Those two people shaped much of who I am. I grew up with my David, the funniest guy I know and I fought over clothes and whispered under the covers with my Wendy. They all could have been born in a different time and I would have never known them. But they are mine.
Every day, I talk with my amazing girlfriends about our quiet lives. About diapers, PTA meetings, marriage, our dreams, moments of celebration, and times of grief. I hear their stories and share mine. We walk hand in hand through mountains and valleys and everything in between. They could have lived in another country and I would have never met them. They could have been flappers in the twenties. But they aren’t. They are here with me. They are mine.
I lived in this certain city and I joined a theater group in my teens. There were only a pocket of people in that group compared to all the human souls that are alive right now. But that is where I found my Justin. That is where I found this boy who cared for my heart and me made laugh and made me fall in love. He could have been a soldier in World War 1 and I would never have known life with him. But he is mine . And out of all the kids that have ever lived, we were given our Jack. My precious blue eyed sensitive son. And we were given our Ivy. My sassy, funny endearing daughter. They could have been born in the 1800’s and I would have never known them. But they are mine.
This year has been the hardest one in a long time if I am being honest. After living in survival mode and crisis mode for nearly 5 years, we are starting to pick up the pieces. We are starting to talk about it. It is messy and sad and sometimes feels like it is all too hard. In this season, it often feels like it takes most of me just to get through the day and keep everyone alive, fed, and at the right place at the right time. It is very easy to look at my Justin and my Jack and my Ivy as a “things to do list” instead of human souls.
A few nights ago, I was giving Ivy a bath. Jack came in and started being silly. He started dancing. Ivy stood up and with her chubby toddler legs started wiggling, dancing and smiling at her big brother. You know what my natural instinct has been over the last few months? I would have asked Jack to stop because Ivy needs to get through her bath and if she stands up she might fall. Yes, I would have smiled and of course we still have family dance parties often. But I realized how quick and easy it is for me to be annoyed, tired and just trying to move things along.
But through God’s divine grace, I was given a beautiful moment right there in the bathroom. I realized these kids ARE MINE. These are mine, you guys. They are standing RIGHT THERE. I watched clean water coming out of our faucet and my babies laughing together and I was overcome. I was humbled and immensely grateful. They are mine. They are my walking, breathing tiny gifts that I am living out my quiet little life with.
My family, my friends, my husband and my kids are my people. Mine to walk through life with. Mine to heal. Mine to cherish and hug and kiss and laugh with and worry about. Mine to pick up a heavy pack and walk with. Mine to stumble through the dark with and hopefully find the sun. Mine to encourage and empower. Mine to care for with tender kisses and quiet moments rocking back and forth in a dark room. Mine to love.
Every one of you reading this could have written your own paragraphs about your people. The ones you stay up late with while you hear their stories and share yours. The ones who you are raising and the ones you are in love with. They are yours. All yours.
Let’s put aside that things to do list and pet peeve that makes us irritated. Let’s dance in the bath more and criticize less. Let’s dance in puddles instead of having clean shoes. Let’s remember that these people could have been born in a different era. But they weren’t. They are here, RIGHT HERE, walking through the mountains and valleys with you.
It matters to me how I live out my quiet little life. And I am realizing more and more every day that my greatest pursuit is to love these specific people deeply. I want to respect them, honor them, bring the best out in them, cheer them on, comfort them, and cherish them.
Because after all…they are mine.