Itta Be Fine

Have you ever had one of those days that left you feeling down, really truly bogged down in the mire of what we people can be and do when we are not at our best? A day of seeing how folks can bring each other down with their words and their actions and their lack of both? How the brokenness of the past can come to the surface years later?

Last Thursday was one such day for me. The details aren’t important to anyone but me, but what happened next is something I hope to always remember.

My little fella, who at some point during this pandemic grew to be taller than me (one of his goals, by the way), has a habit of coming up to hug me. At first I thought he was doing it to measure his height against mine–and I don’t doubt that sometimes that’s what it was. But now that there is no doubt that he has SEVERAL inches on me, he still comes up and hugs me and gives me a peck on my forehead. PRECIOUS. I think he might still love me despite us both going through age appropriate changes *ahem* at the same time and both of us having many “not likable” moments, sometimes side by side. *sigh*

So last Thursday, he came up in the middle of “one of those days” and hugged me and said, “Mama, in the words you say a lot–‘Itta be fine.'”

BLESS.

I came home and cried that night. I say a lot of things, many not so grace filled, much to my chagrin. The fact that this is what he has heard me say and that it has stuck with him such that he brought it back to me…..I am filled with thankful tears.

It will be fine.

And somehow in that moment, I believed him. Because despite the best efforts of the world (and myself too sometimes), he sees the good. The positive. The potential. The settling down and cream rising to the top.

It will be fine.

I hear my Mama sometimes when I’m talking to my children. Sometimes that made me cringe to realize it, but now I smile. She gave me good words to soak in and say {mostly}. That this is what he has taken away from all the many things that I have said–good and not so good–I am so thankful.

They are listening, y’all. And it’s not just the toddlers and preschoolers who listen and delightfully, embarrassingly, amusingly, innocently repeat what they hear us adults saying. It’s our preteens, our teens, and even our young adults. They hear us. They repeat it. Sometimes without even processing what they are saying. And sometimes it’s more harmful than good. It’s not fine.

Tonight I’m thankful for a reminder that, despite having teenagers, I need to be mindful of the words I put out into the world. I don’t get to speak my mind freely without the consequences and potential of those thoughts being expressed by those whom I am raising. With every thought I share, I’m loading up a weapon or a lantern. These words can and usually are repeated–and they can tear down or build up.

May I remember that when strife was in our midst, my little fella chose the lantern instead of the weapon. I give thanks for that and for the example he has set for me. Challenge accepted, buddy. I will do better with my words, so that it will be fine.

Love to all.

Wealth or Health?

Today our lessons took us to Istanbul in the 1500’s, and we learned about Suleyman the Magnificent.  What a fascinating person!  He conquered many lands (read-people) and was the longest-ruling Sultan–46 years–of what is known as the Ottoman Empire.  He ruled during the height of the Empire’s military, economic, and political power.  He was a patron of the arts and architecture.  He was also known as a poet, and many of his writings are regarded as Turkish proverbs now.

 

Suleyman the Magnificent

Suleyman the Magnificent

I dug a little deeper after we finished reading, and I found a few of Suleyman the Magnificent’s writings.  One of them I read aloud to my littles.

 

The people think of wealth and power as the greatest fate,

But in this world a spell of health is the best state.

What men call sovereignty is a worldly strife and constant war;

Worship of God is the highest throne, the happiest of all estates

 

I read it to them twice, and then I thought, what the hey–let me see if they grasp any of this at all.  “Do you understand what he’s saying here?”

Stares.  Crickets.

So I decided to focus on the first two lines.  We read them again.

“So what do you think he’s saying is best to have in life?  Wealth and power or health?”

Our Princess piped up almost immediately.  “Health!  Good health!”

I nodded.  Okay, now we were getting somewhere.  “Do you agree?  Is having good health better than having wealth and power?”

My girl thought he was right.  And then Cooter, Mr. Contrary, decided to share his thoughts.

“Nope, it’s better to have wealth.  Money!”  Of course he does.  This is, after all, the little guy who wants real estate as a present.

“Really?  I mean, what can you do with all of that money if you are sick?  Not well?”

“Well, see,” he started, “if you have money you can buy the good food that will keep you healthy.”  He stopped for a minute as I sat there thinking I might be in trouble.  He was absolutely right. “And, if you have money you can get plumbing.”

Plumbing?  I wondered where he had heard about sewage issues.  Or how he equated money with indoor plumbing.

“Plumbing, buddy? How will that keep you healthy?”

“Mama, if you have money, you can get plumbing, and the plumbing will give you clean water.  And you have to have clean water to stay healthy.”

*jaw hits the floor*

That moment when you realize your child has been taking it all in, and some of it actually stuck.

Yeah.  THAT one.

Thankful.

We talked a little more about folks who don’t have clean water, and how that changes the world, and I gave thanks in my heart as we talked.  They get it.  They realize that there are people in this world who have to walk long distances to get water in a bucket and carry it all the way back to their homes, missing school and other opportunities that would help their lives–all because they don’t have access to clean water.

Clean water can make you healthy.  Cooter said so.

Tonight I’m thankful, once again, for the opportunity I have to learn with my children.  It is a fascinating journey and a privilege.  I am teary-eyed with gratitude that my children have been listening to my conversations about justice and the world’s needs.  And that they are getting it.  The fact that my almost eight year old knows that you need clean water to be healthy, and that you need plumbing which requires money–that has me feeling rather emotional.  These little people we are raising or helping others raise–they are the ones who will be taking care of us one day.  It is my hope that they will do it with compassion, love, and laughter.  I saw a glimmer of hope for that day in our conversations this morning.

Because yeah, we did laugh.  As usually happens, our lesson ended with one or the other sending all of us into fits of giggles.  And oh,  how I love their laughter.

Wishing for all good health and the wealth needed to stay that way, with just enough extra to help someone else have clean water too.

Love to all.

 

Living Water International and Advent Conspiracy are where me and mine learned about the world’s clean water supply–and the lack thereof.  You can learn more by clicking on their names.