Thank you for forty-two years of sobriety with only one night of insane drinking.
Thank you for the church that you led my body to because as you know, it blesses my spirit, even though it was 1800 miles away from my house at the time.
Thank you for every breath that I take and for every day I wake to find another chance. Amen.
My old table and chairs have been freshly painted and they’re adorable, but that’s not all there is to it.
They have traveled a long, rough road to land pretty on my front porch.
I’ll start with when I first remember seeing them in my mom’s living room. They were brand-new white.
I was thirtysomething with three young kids and my sister, seven years younger, had four younger kids.
My mom had a small basement apartment underneath my aunt’s house, but she had one closet full of blankets and pillows that we would use when we slept over. We would just spread them all over the tiny living room and it would be wall-to-wall kids.
Mom never cared how small her place was, she always had room for all of us.
We would cook huge Sunday dinners in her little kitchen, and then we would all stand there together doing the dishes.
In the evening, after the kids would settle down, my sister would put a table-cloth on the little table and a candle. She would say we were in a French bistro.
Then she would ask me to read some of my poems, which I always just happened to have with me.
For an hour so, we would all be transported to a little café in France and I was the entertainer.
My mom was my first reader and fan, but they were all my very first audience and their love for my writing carried me on waves of encouragement.
I didn’t find out until many years later that my sister also wrote poetry, and I was stunned when I read it because it was so much better than mine. She always gave me the spotlight.
My mom passed away in 2009, and I don’t know when my older sister acquired the table, but she graciously gave it to me when I asked her for it last spring. She also gave me the round cushions.
The little set traveled eighteen hundred miles with me to my new home.
My husband spent days painting it and repairing the metal binding around the table. Butterflies surrounded him as he worked, even landing on his hands.
I scrubbed it down before it was painted and butterflies were landing all over it then too.
My mom is a butterfly, so I believe the restoration made her happy.
Now that it’s finished, just looking at it makes me smile, overcome by the flood of memories it invokes.
I had my coffee at it this morning and as butterflies flitted by, I could feel my family, young and unscathed by the heartaches yet to come, unburned by the tragedies and the pain we would all go on to experience.
Those were innocent days. I just didn’t know. I am thrilled to have the table to remind me.
Enjoy the waves of peace and happiness while you are riding high.
Soak up the sun and the sweetness so you will be strong when the waves crash down, because they will crash down.
Always have faith and believe that although the waves cannot last, they will rise again…
Waves will lift you up above your brokenness over and over.
That is what waves do.
I sat down that night and I wrote you a letter so that you would always know, no matter where you went, if we were together or apart, that you were a ray of sunshine in my life.
The boxes are just stuff that can be lost.
Do not look at the things that you can see and touch. Do not look at your problems, do not look at the things that are blocking your way from what you call happiness.
Look at me, just look at me and you will walk toward the plans I have for you.
Just look at me and you will feel a calming peace flow through your veins.
Just trust me, my child and my plans will unfold before you.
Walk in faith for I am with you. I am always with you. Nothing that happens in your life can overcome the plans I have for you. Just take the next right step in faith.