Gran's Apple Butter Blog

February 15, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Important Stuff (4/V)

Filed under: Book Series,Books,Family,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 12:16 pm

Chapter 4 ~ Important Stuff
from Going Home, by Mary Batson

Clearly, Gran thought family was important. In fact, she thought it was one of the most important things in the world, right up there with her favorite thimble, her copy of Walden, and her good pie pan.

There was never a doubt which was most important, though, and that was what she taught her family. Nothing in this world was more important than family. Not money, nor pride, nor career. And if it seemed like religion was going to be an issue, you better look long and hard and make sure you had your head and your beliefs on straight before you went any further. It was that important. How could you love your neighbor, if you didn’t love your own family?

Gran said we learn a lot from our families. One of the most important things I learned from mine was a sense of spirituality – that there was a world out there we couldn’t see that was full of the most important stuff of all. Both my parents grew up believing this, although eventually their choice of religion led them away from Gran’s more inclusive beliefs.

That’s why, when I reached a certain age and started asking questions, my family felt they had to show me tough love, so tough they couldn’t be around me anymore, not even if they wanted to. They thought that’s what God wanted them to do. And even though this was hard to understand, I respected them for standing up for their convictions. We don’t meet a lot of people willing to pay such a price for what they believe is right.

While their reaction felt harsh, it carried a message – the message that there is something out there and it is hugely important. I got that message, although I still didn’t think the path they were walking was the one for me. And so it was time to find my own answers, my own way. For a while I played the rebel, but deep inside I was already a seeker, even then, and I read everything I could get my hands on that might shed some light on the topic.

Next I tried to convince myself I was an atheist, but that never worked. The best I could do was to say I just didn’t know. I had learned too much on Gran’s front steps to deny everything – that just didn’t feel right. Deep-down I think I could remember more than I realized, and soon I was once again searching for what was real, whatever was out there. Like Gran, I believed that if I kept looking hard enough I would eventually find It. Otherwise, what’s the point?

So that’s one thing my family taught me. But we learn other stuff in our families, too – like house rules. We learn our parents’ rules, which helps us decide what guidelines we want to have in our own homes when we grow up. These can vary from whether the roll goes over or under to whether denying you’re home alone on the phone counts as a little fib or a big whopper or somewhere in between. True, some of these things aren’t that important in the big picture, but some of them are, and part of our lessons, Gran said, was figuring out which was which.

One thing about it, it’s awfully easy to overlook things in all our homes. Like how much the people there do for us. I used to forget that a lot. Like I forgot to say thank you when my bike tire got patched or when my favorite fried okra was on the table. Gran said there are all kinds of examples of love in action, like her friend Mati, whose grandfather walked all the way to another country for work, just so he could feed his family. Or like how Uncle John and Gramps went to work in the CC camps to help everyone else out (and maybe have a little adventure along the way). 

Love makes us do things like that, ya know.

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
NOW AVAILABLE: Going Home, The E-Book & Going Home: The Tour LIVE – 2 CD set – Mikey and Gran’s story put to music!


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