By Allet Avonlea
As a woman, I wear many different hats. But funny enough, each “hat” involves meeting the needs of those around me. I am a wife, mama, step mama, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister and friend. Each of these roles requires something different from me. I love my people. They are amazing and wonderful. I am so grateful for the blessing each one of these relationships brings to my life, but if I am being honest, it is hard. Life is just downright hard. When I think back on my great-grandmother and my grandmother, I conclude that their lives were far less complicated than mine or I am far less evolved as they. Sadly, I fear it may be the latter. But either way, I find myself realizing something I remember about each one of them is that they did things they enjoyed doing.
My great grandmother was an amazing seamstress. She sewed her first quilt square at three years old. She lived to be 101. With many years of practice, she basically perfected her craft. She did many other things as well, but clearly sewing brought her joy. I remember when I was young, I went exploring upstairs in her house. It was always fascinating as a child to get to meander through my grandparents’ houses. This particular time, I found myself in a room I had not entered before, and I was amazed. It was stacked floor to ceiling and every piece of furniture covered in fabric! Bolts of fabric, large folded pieces, and remnants all over the room. If she had an order to it all I could not see it. All I could see were walls of fabric all around. It was beautiful, and the most amazing part is that she brought them to life. She meticulously and skillfully gave just another piece of fabric, life. She brought purpose to what would otherwise just be rags. Amid a long life filled with children, grandchildren and marriage to a man for over 75 years, she managed to do life well and maintain her passion.
Now, my grandmother, she was no seamstress, but she had a knack for inspiring those around her to be the best version of themselves. She was full of confidence and gumption, and she was not about to let anyone tell her what to do. When you think about that saying, “take the bull by the horns,” that was my Granny. She was feisty and spirited and she left her mark everywhere she went. All those things could be done in a negative way that made people feel trampled, but she mastered the art of using those qualities to bring out the passion in others. She used her God-given skills to be one of the most successful Avon Directors in the area and she left a life changing impression on all the women she worked alongside. Amid a long life filled with children, grandchildren, and marriage to a man for 61 years, she managed to do life well and maintain her passion.
As I ponder these things, I begin to realize that what they each had in common was their dedication to their passion as well as their family. They did not view life as one or the other. They incorporated their passion into their daily lives and allowed themselves to be edified by it. They each left a lasting legacy for future generations because they did not sacrifice who they were. They embraced it and they used it to benefit those around them. I want to be like that. I want to remember who I am as a woman and I want to be true to myself so I can be the best that I can be for all the people who depend on me. But how? How do any of us actually do that in this crazy world?
Well, I am still in the process of answering that question, but I will tell you what I am doing now. I am turning off the noise. We are surrounded by noise. Voices telling us the world is ending, or that we are failing, or that we should have more things, our kids should be involved in more activities, etc. I am turning it off, tuning it out. I will be present with my children and my husband when we are together. I will be intentional about doing things I enjoy when I can. I will read my Bible instead of the headlines. I will sing. I will dance in the kitchen with my daughter. And above all, I will remember that every day gets me one step closer to being a memory. I will do the things I want those around me to remember me by and, Lord willing, amid a life filled with children, grandchildren, and marriage to my man, I will do life well and maintain my passion.