Side of the Road

I’ve been pondering lots of things lately. That’s not new for me. My mind seems to click continually trying to take in the world around me and make some sense of what I’m experiencing.  I have tried on more than one occasion to put some thoughts into coherent words and while the words come, they haven’t been words with purpose…yet. Today, I am trying again. Phrases stick with me and over time I think that I just have to do something with them.

As I have read so many wonderful tributes to many mothers today, I am thinking of my three kids and the precious fourth that joined the Gratopps last year.  I’ve thought a lot about my own mom and her continual love and faithful prayers. I have thought of my mother-in-law and how I would love to hear her laugh again. But, right now I want to write a little something for my kids. It’s Mother’s Day AND it’s my blog, so I think I’m allowed.

Here goes…Side of the Road

Perspective is a powerful thing. I would like to think that now as you are adults (yes, all four of you) you can look back and see that many of our conversations have been rooted in having a perspective greater than our immediate surroundings. Like most moms, I wonder if I have done things well and am certainly aware that I have messed up my fair share. I think of times I was hard on you in an effort to make you consider the other person’s point of view or how they may have perceived certain situations.  Maybe I did that to make you caring individuals, but I also did it because it is something that I continue to work on in myself. While it’s important to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, it’s also important to consider how what you do is perceived. I think there is wisdom that comes from seeking a perspective beyond our own understanding and/or experience.

You know I love to travel. I love experiencing new cities and revisiting familiar ones. I love the sights, sounds and smells of  new surroundings. As I have been fortunate to see some other countries, I have found I delight in soaking in the day to day lives of those who call those countries home. I try to envision their routes to work and watch for their modes of transportation. I have had to navigate through and in those cities on foot, bike, public transport and the almightly VW’s. As I have had to find grocery stores in unfamiliar cities I have considered the young moms who frequent those stores to care for their families. Often as I drive to familiar places in our hometown, I try to look at the route with unfamiliar eyes. I ask myself how would this look if this were not my home. If I had come and didn’t know the language and didn’t know the routine, how it would appear.  Having been on that side of that conversation, I don’t want to lose sight of the other perspective.  It’s easy to get comfortable in our routine and forget that other’s may be facing barriers, such as language, financial need, loneliness, health concerns and so on. I encourage you to consciously grow in your ability to see other’s with fresh eyes and gracious hearts. You’re already well on your way in these manners…continue on.

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I have learned so much by exploring new places. I have learned so much by allowing myself to be the foreigner. I have learned so much about the Creator and His creation by seeing that the world is bigger than my little corner. My little corner is an amazing place, but oh there is so much out there! And there are many wonderful people out there. Keep exploring!

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It would be easy right now to just dwell on what is going on with our family, namely the stupid cancer thing. It does invade much of our days and is more a part of our thoughts and decisions than I could have imagined.  It will always be a part of our story, but we are all looking forward to the day that it becomes history. As we work toward that day, I want us to remember to not become so focused that we miss what is going on around us. I don’t really worry about this as you are such examples to me of living generously and graciously.

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There’s a corner that I pass on a regular basis that is filled with beautiful purple flowers. I’m pretty sure they are purple weeds, but they are beautiful. At first I noticed just a few set against the contrast of the rich greens of spring. Today I noticed them again and enjoyed the intensity of color as the purple holds it’s own against the green. I was reminded of the beauty that is found on the side of the road. It’s not all pretty, but that is true of  life. But as I took my eyes off the routine and off the tough stuff waiting for me, I looked with eyes seeking a fresh look. I saw beauty.  Don’t be afraid of looking to the side of the road. I know you’re all firmly grounded and I don’t worry knowing you’re heading in great directions. Take it all in but keep a look out for the beauty on the side of the road.

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