My middle sister is coming to visit this weekend. She and my other sister are traveling to Virginia next week to be with her daughter, granddaughter and great grandson. They will be there for five days to give emotional support for the great grandson who is scheduled for surgery.
Funny how things change when you get older. When we were younger my middle sister and I didn’t really get along all that well. We loved one another, but we weren’t sure we liked each other. Now, in the twilight of our years, we spend time together, go on trips together with out youngest sister, and are supportive of each other in whatever we are going through.
As children we often lived in places where there weren’t very many other children, or we were new to the area because we moved a lot. Our father was a big equipment operator and went wherever there were jobs: building highways, dams, working in mines…wherever there was work. And those kinds of jobs usually didn’t last for long periods of time so it was go where the job was, return to our home town, then off to another town for another job.
One town we lived in was basically a ghost town in the middle of the Arizona desert; a mining town that grew up around the turn of the twentieth century. There was a small grocery/bar/post office, one motel/restaurant, abandoned adobe buildings, one beauty shop, a trailer park, and a one room school which were all scattered across about a mile of desert. Because of the open pit mine where our father worked and the workers who came in on that job the town grew to about 200 people.
One of the things I remember about my family, both my mother’s family and my father’s, was exploring the desert, spending the day just wandering around, picnicking and picking up rocks. When we lived in that little town in Arizona we continued doing that, wandering around the desert. One day we came across a ghost town that was completely dead with a mining shaft in the middle of the main street and two different graveyards which were crumbling with graves falling in on themselves. One time we came across a working mine that was surrounded by wire fencing and guarded by two men with guns; we didn’t linger there. We explored small canyons, went rock climbing, and walked along old dirt roads with gaping entrances to long abandoned mines.
On one occasion my middle sister got too close to a jumping cactus and got several long thorns in her ankle which were burrowing their way deeper into her flesh. My mother’s sister grabbed my sister and began pulling thorns out even as other thorns burrowed their way into her own foot. She did not stop pulling those thorns out of my sister’s ankle until she had gotten every one; then she took out the ones which were in her own foot. One had gone clear through her big toenail yet she never flinched, cried out or ceased pulling those thorns out of my sister. She endured her own pain until my sister was free of them and then quietly removed them from her own foot.
All our growing up years we traveled, and explored the country around us with family; sometimes just our immediate family and sometimes with aunts and uncles. Then during all our adult years, right up to the death of our mother, we were caught up in our own lives and had very little to do with each other except for family gatherings once or twice a year. But after Mom passed we started spending time together; taking road trips together and visiting with each other more.
Now, my youngest sister and I have retired and are sharing a home and basic necessities, my middle sister comes for visits and stays a week at a time, and sometimes longer. We have taken several cruises together and have another cruise planned in June. It is our younger selves coming back full circle; those formative years when we were so close, now branching out and bearing fruit for our ‘golden’ years. If you had told me ten years ago that this is how it would be I would have been skeptical; but now I am living it and I am glad. My sisters have helped me through some tough times, and I have returned that to them along this path we are on.
Ps. 133 Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. This verse has now become a reality for me and I am grateful and thankful to God for my sisters; for their generosity and kindness. They are a rich and abundant blessing in my life and I hope I am a blessing to them as well.