Prompted By A Man’s Life

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Today’s post is Part of a 31 Day writing series where I will choose moments from my life and let them be my writing prompt for the day.  Click on the button to the left for the complete series.

 

A man’s life is defined by What he leaves behind. We live and work.  We worry about living well, but in the end all that is left when we are gone is the memory of how we touched the lives of others.

Yesterday evening my husband went to choir practice where he was filling in for a friend, mentor and former professor.  He came home saddened by the news that this fine gentleman was in Hospice care.  This morning the news came in an email that he had passed away.

He had been battling cancer for the past year, so we knew he was ill, but my husband had just talked to him last week when he had called to see if Rocky would play for him this week at church.  He mentioned that he was so tired, but never gave any indication that he was so close to the end.

Over the past year and a half, this man was such an encouragement to my husband as he was searching for teaching positions.  He was one of Rocky’s references and he kept Rocky on his list of people to call when he needed someone to fill his shoes when he was out of town playing gigs.

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He was an award-winning jazz pianist and had a prolific career.  He was well-respected in the music world.  I went to his Facebook page earlier to read some of the many condolences and memories from friends and former students.  Many people referenced how he was now playing for the angels.  I’m pretty sure this is his biggest gig yet!

There are always memories and stories to tell when someone leaves this world; there are always the accolades and the list of accomplishments but the testimonials of a man’s character and how he was an influence in the lives of so many is the real legacy.

Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, unmovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that the work that you do for the Lord isn’t wasted. 1 Corinthians 15:58

Remembering in grace,

Teresa

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Prompted By Minnie Pearl

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Today’s post is Part of a 31 Day writing series where I choose moments from my life and let them be my writing prompt for the day. Earlier today, during a conversation with my mother, she brought up the straw hat with a dangling price tag, wearing Minnie Pearl.  She tells me she could be the next Minnie Pearl.  I have heard this for years.  

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floralstrawhatHowwwwwwwwwdee!  So, my mom keeps telling me she could be Minnie Pearl.  We’ll be having a conversation in which she’ll say something funny that causes us to laugh. Then, Inevitably, she’ll comment, “I believe I could be…oh, what’s her name…she’s dead isn’t she”? I’ll say, “Minnie Pearl”? She’ll say “yeah, I could be her.”

 

She has actually told me this for years, well before the Alzheimer’s set in.  I find it comforting that of all the memories she is losing, she still retains the one about being Minnie Pearl.  That may not seem significant or even normal, but somehow for us, it is.

I wonder just what it is about Minnie Pearl that my mom identifies with.  Is it the clean humor? The infamous price tag? The clarion “Howdy”? The “I’m so Proud to be Here”? Is it an ideal? Does it remind her of a simpler time?  I think it is a combination of all these and I think it’s as much the person (interview at 2:45 on the video) behind the persona as it is the character.

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Minnie Pearl gave us permission to laugh at ourselves.  She gave us permission to embrace our imperfections.  She graced us with the hallmark of simple, everyday life that aspired to live above the muck. Minnie Pearl, simply put, made us okay with being us. I think we can all relate to the human foibles she kindly poked fun at, that propel us through life.

The clear take away for me is a reminder to be me and not to take me so seriously. Enjoy life and quit trying to attain a perfection that was never meant to be mine. I think that is a lesson that my mom has learned through life events. She has learned to let go of perfect; she has learned to laugh at herself.  She has embraced an ordinary, everyday life with grace,character, strength, strong moral values, compassion and humor.  She has laced life with the gift of laughter.

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Even now, with Alzheimer’s she knows the value of a good belly laugh and it’s power to heal.  She knows the value of not taking yourself too seriously. She knows the value of a well placed “Howwwwwwwdee, I’m so glad to be here.”

Leaving you with a grace-filled Howwwwwwdee,

Teresa