Gran's Apple Butter Blog

August 30, 2010

2/VI Keys

Filed under: Book Series,Books,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran,Grandma — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 6:17 pm

Chapter 2 – Keys
Excerpt from Going Home, by Mary Batson

Gran didn’t talk much about her past, because she didn’t think it was a helpful place to live. She said the past was the past for a reason – we learn from it and move on. That’s how she lived, and that’s what she taught me. And besides, she’d decided at one point that there were very few things worth worrying about today. If they were Very Important she might put them on her list to worry about tomorrow. Of course, once tomorrow arrived it was today, and nothing was so important that she needed to worry about it today.

Most of what I knew about Gran’s past came out in stories on that front porch. They were always stories with a moral or family roots, or maybe a big adventure with a dashing heroine. The few times she spoke of darker days, Gran’s words were brief and to the point. She did not ask for sympathy, nor did she wish to play a disempowered victim, as she’d learned where that attitude led and she never wanted to go there again. But she understood that others might learn from her mistakes, so occasionally she’d share a few words about the left turns she’d taken in life.

Gran had followed a rather circuitous route on her way home. Like many of us, she’d worked on her outside until the darkness within forced her to shift focus. This came first as fears and worries about everyday life. In learning to overcome her anxieties she was introduced to meditation and the power of positive thinking – something she hadn’t heard much about since she was a child. Then she began to make her way through all the self-help titles on the best-seller list, whatever was making headlines at the time, sure that The Answer was just one book away. 

And yet no matter how much she read, things never seemed to get better. There had to be some secret she was missing – there had to be. She felt like her life depended on finding The Key that would unlock all her answers.

You see, early in life Gran had given up trying to be happy – that no longer seemed feasible, given the turns her life had taken. Instead, she chose a more doable goal – to be at peace with herself. Years later she would look back and say that was a wiser thought than she realized at the time, for there her real journey began.

Down the road Gran realized that it wasn’t until she quit looking outside herself for answers that she actually began to find those Keys – to feel them turning, to almost hear the puzzle pieces of her life clicking into place around her. These weren’t big fancy keys, ornate, golden, heavy. They were tiny little keys, easy to overlook when hunting, easy to misplace once found, like those little luggage keys with a lifespan of seventeen minutes.

With each key she began doing things differently, looking at things differently, letting things go, detaching from her expectations, and redefining and redesigning almost every piece of her life. Along the way she learned the greatest secret to happiness: Gratitude.

These keys were tricky, Gran said. If you didn’t let their simple appearance mislead you, once you tried them you found they unlocked doors exponentially bigger than themselves. Maybe they really were magic keys. She’d heard that once you get yourself figured out, pretty much everything else just falls into place, and she had been desperately hoping her life would follow this route as well.

Gran said she’d learned more lessons in her life than we would ever have time to discuss, so she’d written down all the ones she could remember for me to read one day when life was slower. I haven’t found that manuscript yet, Gran, but I’ll keep looking, because I know it’s there, and there’re only a few more boxes left to go through.

One thing about it, Gran, you blazed a trail. And just think of all you accomplished with those tiny little keys…

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
Download Chapter 1 or order your copy at!


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