Don’t take loved ones for granted.
I absolutely can’t stress this enough. As the famous saying goes, “We are not promised tomorrow.”
With the ongoing pandemic and the past year filled with lockdowns and travel restrictions, many of us did not get to see our friends and family as much as we would have liked. I certainly fell into this category. With more and more people getting vaccinated against COVID-19, I decided Easter would be the perfect opportunity to go home to Tuscaloosa. Now, honestly, I can’t remember the last time I went home to visit friends and family. Spring in Tuscaloosa and Moundville is a beautiful time to visit and was a welcoming sight as the kids and I pulled into town.
My grandparents’ yard was filled with blooming Azaleas, Wisteria, Buttercups and violets. The sound of birds chirping and tweeting filled the air. The sun was shining and to put it mildly, it seemed to me the perfect weekend.
I’ll be honest, something about walking into my grandparent’s door almost brought me to tears. Just the overwhelming feeling of homecoming washed over me, and I realized home is a feeling we’ll always miss and need from time to time. Despite our travels and how happy we are as we move about, there is simply a restorative effect which comes from walking our old stomping grounds.
Hugging my grandmother and grandfather’s necks made me realize just how blessed and lucky I am to be able to still do this. With so many lost this past year, I won’t lie when I say I hugged them a little tighter. Sitting on their couch and visiting just as I used to do in high school and as a child filled my cup, but watching my kids raid my grandma’s cookie jar- the very same one from my childhood- made my cup run over.
While in town I was determined to visit more friends and take advantage of the visit, so I was very excited to have lunch with John and Angie Alexander in Greensboro, Ala. (Yes, it’s okay to think of the movie “Forrest Gump”.)
Now, Brother John was the pastor of the church that I grew up in. Mrs. Angie is his wife. Ya’ll this couple really had an impact on my childhood. No sweeter, compassionate, intelligent or good hearted couple exists. Over the years, I saw them host students from Japan in their home. They opened their doors and hearts to everyone they could. They encouraged me, supported me and basically lifted me up at every opportunity, and I wasn’t the only one. They did this for all who crossed their paths.
As we sat and visited over lunch, it hit me they hadn’t changed a bit. I think sometimes we look back on memories and realize we might have looked at things through rose colored glasses and our perception might have been different than the reality. With the Alexanders, that is simply not the case. They truly are the wonderful people I grew up loving. As we hugged goodbye we promised to not let time slip through our fingers and to see each other more often.
It’s something we should all do. Take time to visit our friends and family. If COVID-19 has taught us nothing else, it should resonate with all of us to not take for granted our loved ones. So as the spring season brings warmer weather and fairer days, take advantage and have those lunch visits, dinner parties and get togethers. Don’t let an opportunity to reconnect fade away with time.