Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy in the past 2 weeks. My Grandma has finally been filling in the blanks about her life. She had a colorful and difficult past.  She has spent her life avoiding these stories, protecting us from the horrific details of them and worked hard to create something good and lasting. Now, her husband and children are both dead, she lives in a house that is tumbling down and she is ready to go to sleep in her rocker and wake up with those she loves and misses. Her legacy is one of someone who wasn’t going to be defeated, who was going to fight and win. I have just as much respect as I’ve always had for Gram, but in a way I am a little stunned. The legacies of my family include violence, abuse, divorce, alcoholism and carnality. Which is no different than a whole lot of other folks but it’s a far cry from the stoic German farmer home-made noodles and spick-and-span clean of my paternal grandparent’s.  All but the stoic part; that part’s the same. Gram’s sister didn’t fare as well- ended up being an alcoholic for decades and divorcee over and over and over, and Grandma always chalked it up to her being “weak.” Talking with Gram is like reading an Ingalls Wilder book. Tragedy was dismissed, tears were shameful, you moved on or died; literally or figuratively.

Seems like were in the age of entitlement these days. I personally know 2 ministries that have been “stolen” from the founders. The board of directors decided that the person who started the thing from the ground up, who developed the materials, created the connections, laid the foundation, were no longer useful and made political decisions to oust them from their positions. Both have gone on to other things, but both ministries are fundamentally changed- pedantic and corporate. I had a year’s worth of homeschooling articles stolen by a ministry; one who talks about “building the homeschooling community.” I’m past being mad and angry and betrayed about it and just feel a real sense of disgust. Seems we live in a time of “I want, therefore I take.”  These ministries are creating a legacy, yes they are. Echo’s of “whoa to you…” resound in my head.
One of my older dd’s came home yesterday after another encounter with a homeschooling family in her place of work/schooling. She was embarrassed by them. It’s not been the first time homeschoolers have been there, or that she’s been embarrassed by them. This fits with comments our other dd has made about homeschoolers. How she doesn’t want anyone to know she is one. They are back-ward and weird. Not in a good way. Not in a way that is fragrant and beautiful, like spring flowers. But in a way that draws negative attention to them, in a way that creates distrust. Her comments are that they are rude to her and others. I don’t think this is what is meant by being in the world but not of it.
My mom’s been dead for over a decade. Did I mention that my Grandma called me last week? She wasn’t doing so well. As in her mental acuity is declining.  She called me, very angry, very insulting, very personal, very deliberately telling me that she wants left alone. Some of the things she said, not grounded in reality, had to do with things that happened/ were said when my Mom was alive; well over a decade ago; mischief making from the grave. Our legacies out last us. They can build up or tear down; ourselves and others.
The past couple of years I have struggled, really, truly struggled with purpose; as in, what is the point. The house fire was not devastating but the act of throwing away so much was fundamentally changing. Watching half of my family of origin being buried and listening to people talk about their lives objectively has been fundamentally changing. Listening to my Grandma and watching her make decisions that are not healthy, but are surely independent is concerning and sad. And yet, I totally understand what and why she is doing what she is. I totally get it. She wants to die the way that she lived. Because that's how she survived devastating circumstances. Her legacy is one of survival; not succumbing to evil; standing firm. Above all, standing. And maybe that's the point.


Unknown said...

It is hard sometimes when sickness takes over a mind, and weird and cruel things come out of the mouth of the one we love. No it's not hard sometimes, it's hard all the time. Again, I'm praying for you.

I understand your kidlets feeling about not letting anyone know that they are or were home schooled. Lydia faced that feeling for a while for the same reason's, then she decided to embrace it to show others that not everyone who is home schooled is socially backward. She is individualistic, an introvert, and a fabulous advertisement for home schooling. I hope your kids can begin to embrace their schooling, and show the world that there are "normal" students among the socially backward.

I'm sorry that you've been stolen from. Jesus said it best when he was talking about people who build monuments to themselves, "I tell you, they have their reward." I think that fits here. This person is building a monument to him/herself on the hard work of others, "I tell you, they have their reward."

Lily-Thinking Thoughts

Unknown said...

I struggle with purpose all the time. Just when I find a purpose, then I get sidetracked and don't follow it. Am praying for you. I know this time is tough with our grand mother. Sad and difficult. I also understand your dd's not wanting to be known as home schoolers. I think part of my tribe also falls into that category. I have changed my feelings in many ways about home schooling. I think we all have the right to raise up our children and educate them as we see fit. I know people who should never have home schooled their children. They are some of the nicest people, but did a woeful job of schooling. People we probably both know. Their kids struggle in college. Not prepared. Well I will get off my band wagon for now. God bless