At the core of my home, on one of the central weight-bearing walls, hang photos of my family of origin.
Some visitors wonder aloud why I do not feature photos of my children on this wall, as so many parents do.
I hung these photos myself (a rare feat of incredible prowess for someone with my meager handywoman skills) during a time of great upheaval in my family’s life. They are of my origins. As “our” house became “my” house after divorce, as my parents’ souls left their bodies behind, as I pulled myself up by my bootstraps per my upbringing, I wanted to be reminded from whence I came.
I love my children. I am clear on the uncertainty of our present and future. Because of this, I sometimes need to be reminded of a much simpler past. A past in which my mother taught me honesty at all costs, my father shared his love of a simple sunset, and dinner was at 7 p.m. sharp every evening with all family present and accounted for.
I need to be reminded my parents started with nothing and raised six children. That the tiny ranch house in which I grew up was plain and simple, but well kept. That despite all the ups and downs in a shared experience spanning the Great Depression, World War II, the Vietnam years, men on the moon and the birth of all things digital, my parents made a life. And all, really in the end, was well.
When I see those photos as I buzz to and fro in my hallway, I know I will be ok, despite said uncertain present and future. I give myself permission to honor the life I have lived–the one I am in–as well as the life I envision. (Author Elizabeth Gilbert speaks eloquently of this in her “Give Yourself Permission to Honor Your Life” video clip.)
Guess what? You will be ok right along with me, friend. No matter what you are facing or left winded from—you have your own bedrock. For some, it is not family but willpower, stamina, humor, friends. Whatever it is, you have it. Don’t lose focus on it. Trust me on this one.
Because, in the end, if you can remember the bedrock in which you are rooted, the future becomes more certain. You may not be able to map out the exact twists and turns, but you know the road will end somewhere beautiful.
You will drive that long and far for no less.
31 Comments Add yours
I always have to drop everything and watch Elizabeth Gilbert. She’s the most inspiring person on the planet for me. Thanks for your great words and including Elizabeth. It made my day.
I’m a big EG fan also:). She encapsulates things in such a great way.
This is a wonderful post wuth a great suggestion to find or figure out your bedrock in your past.
I have photos of grandkids on a shelf in little frames. Not in a prominent place bur where I do see them as part of my joys in life. When people hear of all that happened to me in 2008, they often ask how I made it through. My profession, home and marriage all were lost. I applies to elementary jobs but had taken 9 years of teaching preschool special ed before the new law of having a Masters degree in what area you teach came into effect. For 4 years my husband stayed home on unemployment at 60 % salary while 8 scrambled teaching, waiting tables and going to college. Six months before it all crashed, I talked to the Dean abd he asked me to take a sabbatical from teaching as my last 3 courses were not held in. Summer or in evening after teaching. Meanwhile, in the next classroom my mentor and friend died of cancer. Nothing ever seemed as important as Life itself. My kids now hold holidays, my brothers host parties and I have my childhood “core foundation” to give me strength.
This comes from a deep and lasting love felt from my parents. Any time things go awry I count on this to pull me through. My mom is still alive but so changed with dementia, I am her “rock.” 🙂
I love the notion that the deep, lasting love you got from your parents gave you a steady strength. And that now your mother needs that love and strength, you are able to give it back to her. That’s a testament to both of you :-).
Bedrock is such a strong work, speaking of a strength you can rely on as you build your own life. I like it. Like you, my family is my bedrock. And my second husband has joined them in being steadfast and supportive. I feel fortunate, but I have been trying to do what you advised in a recent post: to accept that the future I imagine might not be, probably will not be, the present I have.
I’m honored if anything I’ve said in a post is something you’ve kept as a kernel of truth. And I love hearing that second spouses are supportive and bring joy. It is always so nice to see people who have gone through times of sorrow emerge from the ashes like a phoenix :-). I’m glad you did.
I love the way this helped you to transition from ‘our’ to ‘my’ – it strikes me as a great way to honour who you are and what has made you – and to know your own importance.
What a great way to put it. It was hard for me to go from my to our and back again. I think it’s a transition many of us struggle with in either direction.
I like the idea of family origins as ‘bedrock’. Through those origins, we find strength and purpose. Like yours, my family had humble beginnings and survived through large families and societal turmoil. A bit of the latter gives us strength. I hope I’ve passed that along to my children. Furthermore, I’ll call on that bedrock to see me through to the end. But I hope I can get a few more followers , for Pete’s sake, before the end…
What’s the saying–“If you build it, they will come?” They will come:).
Thank you:). I’m glad it touched you!
I read this on a day I needed to be reminded of this. I have pictures up of my family as well, parents, grandparents, siblings and children.
I love where I came from. Better roots I could not ask for. The thing that gets me is where my kids have strayed off this path. I’m hoping/praying they will find their way back. They’ve chosen such a different route from the one we started them on.
Oh, yes. The next generation is the hard part. And they all come in with their own paths to walk. I try hard to remember that they will eventually take what they need from my example–and that it may not be immediate. But I feel your pain!
once again Kris you got me! I can visually see your wall… why? It is similar to my own. Thanks for eloquently putting into words what many of us feel. Looking back at the bedrock only propels us forward!
Ah, we’re not the only ones:). I’ve heard from quite a few people who have the same wall. I love knowing that!
This is a beautiful idea!
We do need to be remindered that those who have gone before us were strong and so are we! Keeping our feet firmly on the ground and visualizing a wonderful future. 🙂
Like you, it’s important to me to lean close to my bedrock. Love that you keep a wall of family photos. Love that you come from resilient, hard-working, sturdy stock. You are certainly a credit to your forebears, my friend. You carry such beauty with you already, but may the beauty you search for welcome you, and soon, with open arms. xoxox
How is it that you are always so consistently kind but also so eloquent in your kindness? Such beauty in your words and in your soul, friend :-).
Can’t share your certainties and optimism Kristine but certainly one can derive strength from seeing how our forebears dealt with life’s tribulations to come through as best they could.
Aw c’mon, Roy:). Share my certainties and optimism. Go ahead:).
And that wall is residing within your heart Kay….and it’s not going anywhere 🙂
Great post, wisdom is being able to see the future from that past. Your going very well young lady 🙂
We never realize when we’re young and moving through those early years how much of our future will be tied to our past, and how much of our adult life will be influenced by our childhood.
Nice post, Kay.
Thank you, George. It’s true. Hindsight is 20/20.
Living with chronic illness means living with an uncertain future and a rocky present. I have photos of my parents (and aunts, uncles, grandparents) everywhere, and they are a great comfort. I know exactly what you mean about bedrock!
I am sorry that you are living with such a tough row to hoe. I am sure those photos are of great comfort to you. I hope you look at them often!
I do! It helps tremendously, because both my mother and grandmother lived with serious health problems and still led fulfilling, creative, joyful lives.
I’m so glad that you have that example to hold onto. I’m sure it is a huge help on your toughest days.
As my ‘current’ life is flitting between two worlds of sorting my house ready for sale and sorting my mothers house following her death, this post meant a lot to me. Yes, a reminder of that bedrock of my heritage is so important in the building of my new world. Thanks.
Oh! Yes, of course. I am sure your current life leaves you wishing for reminder of bedrock hourly. Am rooting for you in the building of that new world.