In a prolonged moment of self-doubt about my abilities and contributions, I remarked to my brother Steven about my “stupid little blog posts.” He quickly chided me, gently, and urged me to have compassion for myself. He assured me my stories are beautiful and real, and he loves reading them. My four sisters have given me similar encouragement. So, I trek daily ahead. Mom has commented to me, pleased, but humble, “Your blog posts are kind of like my biography.” She is right. In fact, I tag every post with “Memoir.” I am telling a story, painting vignettes, writing a family memoir, slowly, one day at a time. All the stories are true and real, and I hope they approach the kind praise of “beautiful.” Many of the world’s stories are dark and painful—still, they can be instructive and even revelatory. But, except for confessing my mistakes (like, not investigating a bang! in Mom’s bathroom when she lost consciousness in the shower on a Sunday morning before church), I choose to tell stories that are both real and redeeming. Steven is right to encourage me to have compassion for my own story. I wondered today, Why is the First Great Commandment to love God with all our heart? It cannot be that God needs the fickle adulation of seven billion squabbling humans. Rather, I believe that by loving God, we discover the capacity and desire to love others, including ourselves. So, I will try to believe in myself. I certainly believe in Mom and Dad: their lives and characters make telling heartening stories an easy exercise. Mom and Dad are endearing in their quotidian lives, smiling at each other across the distance between recliners, patting the backs of each other’s hands, reminding each other to take their medicine and to put in their hearing aids. They exemplify. They edify. They love and they struggle. They serve with such generosity. They are virtuous. They have value, and their stories deserve to be preserved. I am so grateful for Mom and Dad. I am telling their stories, and learning to love them more deeply day after day.
And you are their son with whom they are well pleased, Roger. 🙂
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