I went to Nashville this weekend with my mom. I had a lot to ponder on in Nashville. When I’m away from home, without my husband and kids, it’s like I’m in an alternate universe. Like I’m someplace that exists only for the time that I’m there and when I leave, it will continue just as I left it. I am able to feel like I am watching it all happen, without really being a part of it all. The weird thing about being with family that you hardly ever see is that it can make you feel a part of something bigger than yourself, enveloped in love, protected and comforted by tradition, while at the same time feeling like you are very different from everyone and not really fitting in anywhere. You feel very alone and yet very loved. Now that I’m home, I’m not really done processing, but I am going to attempt to tell you about my family and about Nashville.
In Nashville, my Aunt Donna turns 61. We celebrate at her house with ham and beans and taco soup and cornbread and homemade ice cream. She has a constant smile on her face as she graciously and lovingly enjoys her family that comes to celebrate with her. Her husband, my Uncle David makes me sausage and coffee every morning. In Nashville, my grandpa plays guitar. He can’t see the strings anymore, but it doesn’t matter. The sound of his guitar fills the house like beams of sunlight fill the space between the trees on a wooded path through the forest. It reminds me of love and of warmth. His brothers and sister and sister-in-law come too. They play guitar and piano and lend their rich voices to the joyful sound. My mom and her sister dance to the music. When Great Aunt Carolyn sits at the piano and sings about the trials she’s been through and how God has seen her through and how He’ll someday take her home to a place where she’ll see clearly, my mom cries. When I look at how beautiful her hands look on the keyboard, I cry. My grandma cares for my grandpa with the love that more than sixty years of marriage brings. My heart feels very full when I watch her and listen to stories of her life, knowing how blessed I am at the legacy she has given me through my mom, who makes life fun and musical. We play four games of Scrabble. Grandma wins three and my mom wins one.
It rains almost the whole time in Nashville. The sound of the rain beating on the windows in the ceiling of Aunt Donna’s house binds us together as we take shelter together as a family. My cousin Bethany, her husband Albert, and their family of four beautiful daughters spend the day with us. They bring life and joy and laughter and happy exhaustion as only children can. They make me miss my own girls. My Grandpa tells me that I’m just like my brother, Josh. (We don’t have too much to say, my brother and I…) My mom’s friend from high school, Karen, takes us out to coffee and I enjoy the easy, relaxing conversation of old friends that has become a part of my heritage.
I love Nashville, with its rolling green yards and weeping willow trees and big, brick houses with no fences. It’s a beautiful place and I am blessed. I have lived my life just a little bit more this weekend.