05 June 2012

My Best Friend(s): Aunt Polly

My Aunt Polly is one of my best friends. She was there for my birth, and for pretty much every major milestone of my life. She claims me as her daughter, when she gets a chance, but in recent years we're more friends than anything. I love her fiercely.

One of my guinea pigs modeling one of the crocheted pig slippers,
on the crocheted afghan, both courtesy of Aunt Polly.

She's an amazing woman. She and her beloved husband of several decades built their house, themselves, entirely, without going into debt. They live simply, but very well. They have 3 huge gardens, and live mostly off their land. They are excellent examples of stewardship, and I have learned a lot from them. I've learned that being content is very important. I have learned that quality workmanship makes things last longer, and that taking care of quality workmanship is vital for durability.

I have learned that you can choose to buy into the consumerism lies, or choose to invest your life elsewhere. I have learned that even when you have few material possessions, by choice or by circumstance, you always have enough to go around, to share with others. I've learned that when you're in need of comfort, you can always comfort others, and quite often, it comforts you, too. I have learned that even through debilitating illness, it's possible to keep your home with excellence and create a place that is peaceful and welcoming.

I have learned that home is VERY important. In the years between my parents move away from the Rockin Angel Ranch and my marriage, her home was "home" for me. Now, I'm married, and our home is "home" for me, but I still love to go to Aunt Polly's house. It's a place where I always find a haven of rest. Don't get me wrong; my parents have lived in some lovely homes, and where my momma is is always a beautiful, welcoming place. But, Aunt Polly's is an unmoving harbor. They don't move, and when I needed a place to return to, it was always available. (The running joke is that they haven't moved in thirty-some-odd years, but that they've lived at a dozen addresses. It seems the US Postal Service can't quite decide what the address ought to be, so about every 4 years or so, their address changes.)

She, like my mother, is an excellent Titus 2 woman, and has taught me, as directed in scripture to be a keeper at home and love my husband. I find myself modeling my home after the homes of these two women, more so than anything else.

Titus 2:3-5   ...the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (Italics mine.)

She would dream with me of the day that God would bring my husband into my life, and she is still dreaming with me of the day when I have babies and bring them to her knee. She thinks that 5 ought to be enough for her, but if I want to have more, that'd be okay, too. Smile.

Aunt Polly is a soft, lovely woman. She's tall and stout, but her heart is so beautifully, refreshingly soft. She cries easily, and laughs just as readily. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and it's been broken many times. She taught me that vulnerability is good, and it's important, even when it opens you up to heartache. She taught me to seek healing of those hurts in the heart of God, not in worldly pursuits.

She taught me that it's okay to be soft, that I don't need to rebut with sarcasm or stinging wit, just because that's what others find easiest, or funniest. I used to be so hurt by the teasing of others, and in college made a real effort to learn how to wield sarcasm, weapon that it is, to wound back. I learned from Aunt Polly that I'm not the only one who doesn't find it fun to be teased and poked fun at, and that if others were honest about it, they don't like to be on the receiving end, either. Being harsh in return for harshness dealt you, even when it's couched in other terms, doesn't make you anything but mean. Soft sweetness and vulnerability do not make you devoid of a sense of humor, just as meanness doesn't make you funny.

Aunt Polly has a great sense of humor, and we laugh often together, sharing inside jokes the way old friends do.  When I leave her home, she cries, and as I pull away, I do, too, though never until I round the curve. I miss her terribly, when we're apart. We talk on the phone, and that bridges the gap, but from time to time, the distance gets too great, and I turn my heart toward her home, and my steps find their way there, again.

When I think of a woman of quiet strength and simple faith, I think of my Aunt Polly. She simply trusts Jesus, that it's all going to be all right in the end. I'm learning to walk in her steps, and I thank God often for the precious gift He has given me in her.

Much love,

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