a few small scars

March 6, 2011

When I was a kid, six or seven we were on vacation in Northern Michigan.   This was well before I met Bob (the dragon) but I have no doubt he was around there somewhere.  My dad had built a fire on the ground (where they belong) for roasting hot dogs.  Someone told him that was probably not safe (???) there was a flat rock nearby so he moved all the coals.  I don’t know how, I didn’t see it, even if I had seen it I would not remember because….  A few moments later I ran over to see my dad, who was still near the coals.  I came to a stop right on the white-hot sand from which he had just removed the coals.  My father carried me to the lake and immediately set me in the cool water, but it was too late.  Both feet were blistered from heel to toe.  Infection would set in in a few days.  It’s a wonder I didn’t lose my feet.  Or at least a toe or two.  (Say that five times fast, a toe or two a toe or two..never mind, I can’t even type it fast.)

That same vacation spot I fell while running down a sidewalk and took a chunk out of my knee just as if a hole punch had been applied.  I could show you exactly where.  Both on my knee and on the sidewalk.

I also got the biggest ice cream cone I had ever seen, with my own money (25 or 35 cents).

It was my favorite place in the world when I was a kid.  Except when I was home, then it was the trees.  I know it’s not true, but sometimes I feel like I spent half my childhood climbing in trees, switching from tree to tree.  Pines down the West lot line, choke cherries down the east, a pine forest across the street and through the field, the Old Oak Tree (That was actually an elm) that I spent hours under or in, I loved them all.  On my right arm there remains a scar from one of the multiple times I fell.  Somewhere beneath the skin there is a scar on my left ulna, also incurred from falling out of a tree.

I guess we can have bad experiences at great places and the memories don’t hurt so much.  On the other hand, I struggle daily to remember the good experiences I had at a bad place.

It is worth the struggle, because as the good experiences come to mind, so do the good people I was blessed to know.  Sure the bad people are still in the background.  (Yes, bad people…they do exist.  I didn’t say beyond redemption,  I didn’t say beyond forgiveness, but there are bad people out there.  Some are in good places, some are not.)

I am one of the fortunate ones.   I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood, but most are good memories.  Even as an adult with several career changes and several rides on a financial roller coaster,  I have many more good memories than bad.  Maybe that’s one of the blessings of a bad memory.  Funny that; great mind, lousy memory.  I am trying to speak as humbly as I can, my mind was a gift, a blessing.

Having just left a great worship service, I am left grateful for my memories of a little church in a small village, where almost 35 years ago an usher remembered my name, so so that place became our home church for more than twenty years.  I am grateful for the wonderful pastor (and the wonderful pastors).  I am grateful for the friendship and fellowship.  There are people back there we could call and pick things up right where we left them sixteen years ago.  (Of course their hair has turned gray.)   My memories from my home church reflect the memories of vacations and childhoods, I don’t remember the painful days too much.  That’s probably because the good times are measured in over 20 years, and the painful times measured in a few days.

So vacations and life have left me with a few scars, but they add character to a pretty blah personality.  And they remind me from where I come as well as where I am going.

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