Monday, September 18, 2017

Quote of the day

Beautiful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
 Part of the process of cleaning out a house that has been lived in for nearly seventy years involves sorting through things -- sifting out the things with sentimental value; the the things that might be used or donated or sold; and the things that can simply be thrown away.  At my parents' home, one category I am encountering often in the sorting process is books.  Hundreds of books.  There were and are books in nearly every room of their home.

Many, of course, are books I am familiar with, but some are books that my mother bought or ordered for various reasons -- maybe because they were inexpensive or simply looked interesting.  There were even boxes of books bought for very small sums at auction.

One book that I found in my sorting was called Pages from a Journal, by Joyce Butler, a well-known Maine writer.  Pages From a Journal is a book of essays, nearly all of which had previously appeared in the author's newspaper column of the same name.  The book has been on my nightstand for several months as I slowly worked my way through it, reading a bit each night.

Fairly early in the book I came upon a paragraph that I knew I wanted to share with my blog readers.  These words are from an essay titled "Grammy B." which alluded to the death of a loved one, and some of what our grieving may include.

Readers may remember that my dad passed away at the end of May.  When I first read these words, I was thinking of him.  I'll just share them now:

"We grieve for what is gone, but we ask too what is left.  It is surprising how much.  What a human being has given of himself to others in kindness, encouragement, cheer remains and gives meaning to the fact that he lived.  Those of us who lived close to him discover that he has also left us a legacy of attitudes, traditions, example, and the measure of wisdom which comes out of the experience of losing him.  And perhaps that is where the healing begins.  We become for a time a little more gentle and wise, and we grow a step or two into maturity.  And some of us, having asked ourselves what part of his life was important, are able to make of our questioning an equation to the meaning and importance of the life we ourselves are living.  Then for us the gauntlet is down and this too is part of the legacy." -- Joyce Butler, from the essay titled "Grammy B." in the book Pages from a Journal.

I've been meaning to share these beautiful thoughts for months, but I see now that the time was not right.  Now it is.  In the past three weeks, Mr. T and I have lost four friends to death, one of them violently.  Oh, we know we will see each of them again in heaven.  But we will miss them.

And this quote has become even more meaningful to me as I consider the folks who have passed away recently.  One of them was an elderly pastor from whom we had learned much over a period of years.  One was an old friend, a member of our church and a neighbor of my husband's family.  He epitomized many New England values -- again, a person from whom much was to be learned.

This week, though, I've been pondering the lives of two women who have passed on.  Both were personal friends of mine.  And the legacy of example they left behind is truly priceless.  Both were incredibly gracious women who loved God and others supremely.  Both had Scripture stored away in their hearts which often revealed itself in wise, godly speech and character.  Were they perfect?  Certainly not, and they would be the first to tell you so.  Is their example of love for God and His Word and for others worth pursuing in our own lives?  Absolutely, and I am seeking to do just that.


  1. A beautiful post. I extend my condolences on the loss of so many dear ones all at once...challenging with one and now quadruply so. The selection is meaningful and I'd say that such a collection is a keeper. (At least, I save most local writers.)

  2. Thank you, Vee. When I first thought about this post, I didn't intend to share anything but the quote and perhaps a thought or two about my dad. But now it is even more meaningful to me and, I hope, to others.

  3. I feel for you in your loss of friends. The year I retired I lost 3 teaching friends. Two were in there sixties and the other was the exact same as me...52 at the time. I had such wonderful memories of each.
    I love the words of Joyce Butler. Very touching.
    I have sorted through so much first when my mother-in-law passed and we moved into this house, and then a couple of years ago when my step dad passed and mother and I got ready to sell their house. IT is a difficult job. I am a book collector. Perhaps I need to start getting rid of some books, so my children don't have to do that as well one day.

  4. Oh, Sandy, how very difficult that must have been, especially since your friends were relatively young. These ladies were 70 and 76 ... not all that old, either.

    Books ... yes, I have already given away and donated many, but there are many more to go. I found a box of books the other day that I hadn't seen before. I'm becoming fairly determined to sort things out so that my own kids don't have to go through this.

  5. It is so hard to let friends and loved ones go. This week marks the four year anniversary of the loss of a friend I had known for many years. She sat down to do a crossword puzzle as was her habit each morning and when her husband found her, the pencil was still in her hand. She was a believer and I know I will see her again but I miss her. Thanks for sharing those sweet words today.


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