"Surround yourself with only people who are
going to lift you higher."
Pam Jones Stead
So I made this decision to write about people. I have a list but wasn't sure where to start ... randomly, alphabetically, chronologically. I can't even spell that word, so I guess a counting system is out. Today my decision was made for me when I read Pam's blog.
Pam lives in a small town in Pennsylvania where parades down Main Street are the highlight of many holidays. She is a mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, sister. She is witty, courageous, sympathetic and enthusiastic about most things. She's a story-teller, drummer, bubble blower, and woods walker. She has a knack for being able to converse with birds and teenagers in their own language, which is a feat unto itself. The only thing Pam and I have ever disagreed on is whether or not it is prudent to visit Disney World in Orlando in the middle of the summer. I say it's foolhardy. Pam answered that volley with two words - air conditioning.
Pam, aka Po, is a sister-friend who speaks in photographs and paints the pictures of her heart in words. Pam's blogs are testaments to these qualities. Every day she posts a picture she's taken, usually on her morning walk, then follows that up with what has become for me a short meditation or sermon on how to live a happier life.
Pam's life has not been without sorrow. Years ago, she endured the heartbreaking loss of 7 year old son. I didn't know her then, so I don't know what her grief journey was like. What I know now is that when she speaks to me of loss and grief and moving away from despair she has walked the walk so her talk is easier to listen to. It borders on impossible to me but that death helped shape her into the person I love today.
This morning I actually wrote these words in an email:
"For the last year grief has kind of defined me. I think I'm growing beyond it."
I didn't even know I felt that way. The words just came out. Then, I read Pam's blog about how the recent snow storm damaged some trees in her neighborhood. You must read it for yourself because truly I cannot paraphrase it. Here's how she ended her story and what resonated inside me:
"When the next storm arrives, they will be ready to bear its wind and the weight of the storm. The wind will shake them and test their roots, but a little testing often makes our roots stronger.I returned from my walk today with a lesson from the trees. What really matters is not what is pruned away. What matters is how it strengthens what remains."
Ten months ago I might have said phooey to that kind of tree wisdom. Hell I probably said phooey to anything regarding the possibility of a life without my soft green blankie and box of Kleenex next to my bed. I didn't think it would be possible. But today I can see how there are times we have to cut away some of the dead branches of our lives in order to make room for new blooms and bird's nesting in hair.
Today I'm grateful for the gift of Pam in my life.