Even “come home” days can be beautiful in their own way. (Though I have to admit that it gets tougher each time we are together… to separate again.) The sunflowers that Mandy and family gave me for Valentines brightened my entrance back home yesterday from our Ya Pawley’s Retreat….looking just as beautiful as when given over a week ago. Sunshine in the Happy Room!
As if that wasn’t enough…unknowingly…Sis Kinney sent me another gift…a most wonderful phrase that I will never forget. (The title of today’s blog) Sis is in Virginia now and she was feeling the loss of missing several church services back home in a row… while being out-of-town and in the process of moving.
So she turned to her favorite daily devotional: “Forward Day by Day” and discovered a special devotional from the February author Ann Rose (retired professor from English and Humanities at Miami Dade College.)
Psalm 25:6 Remember me according to your love.
I remember many people in my past with gratitude and warmth. Others—not so much. When certain names cross my mind, my brain sticks them into categories before I am conscious this is happening: negative categories like hurtful, elitist, hypocritical, superficial.
I was pondering the way we categorize people without knowing their stories as I watched the film Joy Luck Club with my literature class. The movie, like the book, is a powerful reminder that when we learn people’s stories, their behavior is more understandable.
Instead of remembering them by their frailties and blunders, we might remember… at least some of them as doing the best they knew how to do. We might feel more forgiving of the fallible people in our lives.
I’m relieved that God remembers me according to God’s love—not according to all the failures I have accumulated. God could look at me and recall the myriad times of insensitivity, self-absorption, manipulation, and hypocrisy in my life.
But instead, God looks at me—at us—through a filter of love. I would like to do a better job of remembering other people through a filter of love as well.”
Don’t you love that expression? A “filter of love.” Like the author, I am so happy that God is able to filter out all my blunders, snippy-isms, and hypocrisies…(which is even more remarkabe)… and still love me in spite of them.
That is what this Ya winter retreat is all about…being with people we have known a lifetime… (since 18)… who we know better than anyone else.We know each others’ strengths and weaknesses and love each other the more so for them. There is nothing, at this stage of life, that can change our love and devotion for each other. We have seen it all … through all the upheavals in each of our lives.
There has been only one constant…our friendship and love for each other. It is this “veil of love” that draws us back together for strength to carry on while apart from each other.
…And talk about “veil of love” I get treated like the Queen of Sheba….Libby bought me an electric blanket for my chair and placed all the snacks right next to me. Do you see why it is so hard to leave each time? I am spoiled rotten!
It is through stories, we continue to tell each other, that our friendship grows stronger each year. We know each other’s background, childhood, obstacles growing up…and by knowing this…understand each others’ reactions to life in depth and compassion.
In the Koran it is written: “He (she) deserves Paradise who makes his (her) companions laugh.”
And that is what we just did for the past few days….laugh!…at each other and at ourselves. Everyone in the group has a wonderful sense of humor…but I think we would all agree that Libby is the queen. Some of her everyday episodes are so funny that any comedy ‘sit-con’ would be hard pressed to compete.
I mentioned to the group that there is one local televised lawyer who has his clients give their testimonials for his law company… They all begin with…”This is my real true story.” I said that I hate to be a grammar snob…but it grates on my last nerve every time I hear it.
It is either their real story OR their true story…but it isn’t their real, true story.
So, of course, from that point on, every time someone began a story…it started out as “This is my real, true story.”
Now I am going to finish showing you my real, true pictures from the retreat… to finish our wonderful ‘balm’ at the Carolina Corner.
Come follow me on our photo tour of Pawleys…be sure and bundle up!
The little shack behind me (in this photo) used to be a popular bait shop back in the day…and now it is preserved ..lucky for Linda, Libby’s sister, who owns the house….the property can’t be sold…so they don’t have to worry about a tall beach house going up blocking their view of the marsh….and the view is spectacular from their top bedroom/porch.
We stopped by Collin and Betsy’s beach home on Pawleys that is just adorable....two buildings on the property. Perfect for a young couple with small children to run and play!
On our historic Tour of the south side of the island….I noticed that most of the original homes were built between 1846 and 1848 by the wealthy rice planters….soon “cotton would be king”…but these descendants were still living well off their parents and grandparents rice plantings. There are even slave cabins still attached to beach homes. Pawley’s Chapel reminded me of St. Jude’s Chapel of Hope….small, quaint, and still offering spiritual services to any and all who enter.
(The beach cottage across the road from the chapel is aptly named….Chapel Cottage.)
Pelican Inn, still operational, is home to many Gray Man stories….
Liberty Lodge is one of the oldest homes on the island…the foundation still contains old mortar and materials used back in colonial times.
After four decades….Hurricane Hugo destroyed the Tip Top Inn.
In happier times….this photo shows the quaintness of the inn
I discovered by accident that pieces of the Tip Top Inn, live on in newer homes on the island today….
Diagonally across from where we were staying some neighbors told me that they had rented this home (before the owner sold it recently) and inside the kitchen were cutting boards…a gigantic sink and other kitchen paraphernalia from the Tip Top Inn. A God’s Wink! You never know who you will bump into on the beach.
*Interesting tidbit…the original owner of this home was a family heiress to the Mennen Company…remember (Lady Speed Stick, Mennen Bracer.) It was she who purchased many kitchen items from the Tip Top Inn.
And of course…we always have to go out for our last meal….since Brooke and I are the wine drinkers…Pete, our waiter, and us got to be real friendly. Another fun ending to our retreat.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
* As soon as I got back home I ran to check the garden and miraculously most of the plants seemed to have survived the cold.
I was scared to lift the box covering the one tender little seed sprout belonging to the “Becky Shasta Daisy” ….but there is was…one tiny speck of green…all that is needed for life and hope.
* A big shout-out to Sherod and Linda Eadon (owners of the Carolina Corner) for letting us use their beautiful, breath-taking beach home for our winter retreat. No medicine in the world can come close to healing what nature can… by the sea.