"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Thinking of You... (re-post 5.9.2010)

 As we prepare for what I hope is a wonderful Mother's Day for everyone reading this and a much deserved celebration for the one person who makes our days a little brighter, our pains a little more bearable and our dreams a little more attainable I wanted to re-post a piece I wrote last May in recognition of Mother's Day.

Thank you Mom for everything you have done for me and my family... I love you very much... your son, Shawn

My Mom... 1963.
(Senior year of High School)

 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
-Exodus 20:12

Bryce turns 2!
(Nana with Logan, Austin and baby Bryce in 1997)

Thinking of You...

Think: Informal. the act or a period of thinking: I want to sit down and give it a good think. 

For most reading this, today will be a day of celebration as we honor our mothers and thank them for everything they have done for us. I don't know about you, but my mother was the glue that held our family together when I was growing up. Today things haven't changed that much at all, as my wife (Ryan & Reese's mom) makes our house a home and keeps everything together for us. I'm not exaggerating when I say; "we couldn't make it without my wife, Ronnie".

Addison, Ronnie, & Ryan 
(Mother's day 2008)

For others reading this today will be a day of reflection and sadness as they remember their mother or grandmother that lost their lives during the past year. The one person that comes to mind for me is Heather Brewster Schaller. Heather, and her sister, lost their mother to cancer this past week. I'm not going to try to describe Heather other than to say she is about as wonderful as a human being can be. She is a devoted wife, a loving mother, a supportive sister, and has always been the type of daughter that has given her parents constant joy and much reason to be proud. Spend ten minutes with her and you will know exactly what I'm talking (typing) about.

Heather and I have been friends since high school, and though we lost contact with each other for several years, Heather remains the same person she was many years ago; wonderful.

Heather and her mother... 

"Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise."
– Ephesians 6:2

 Brooke Alayne Wright Brewster
July 30, 1942 - May 4, 2010
Heather's mom...

As my family recognizes all the mothers (my wife, my mom, & my mother-in-law) that make our lives better on a daily basis we will also be thinking of someone very near and dear to all of us; my late grandmother, Jane Byrd

Mom, my sister (Meredith), & Grandma Byrd

My grandmother passed away in the summer of 2005. Below are the words I spoke at her funeral.

Marjorie Jane Harris

1920 started like any other year. It was full of promise and hope; Woodrow Wilson was our country's 28th President  and the summer Olympics were being held in Antwerp, Belgium. It was also a freighting time as Adolph Hitler gave his first public speech. It was the year F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his first novel "This Side of Paradise", and the inauguration of our country's first airport in Tucson, Arizona. 1920 also marked the passing of the 19th amendment which granted women the right to vote. 

 And, in that same year on December the 29th, one Marjorie Jane Harris was welcomed into the world.

One of six children and the recipient of loving parents, Jane learned at a very young age the importance of a family; the value of great parents and the value of being a great parent. In the book "Anna Karenina" Leo Tolstoy wrote that "all happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." My grandmother and her siblings experienced the joy of a happy family. Their parents provided safety, comfort, and happiness in a time when our country made it difficult for a black family to experience safety, comfort, and happiness. 

I know this to be true because all six children (Vernon, Catherine, Mill, Maurice, Jane, & Simmie) passed on that safety, comfort, and happiness to their families.

The Harris Family
 My grandmother is sitting on her mother's lap (1924).

My grandmother showed me by word and deed that people can, and do, make a difference; that the real heroes are people like my grandmother and my late grandfather. They are individuals like my Aunt Nancy, and Uncle Howard, like my mother (Chris) and my father (Jake)...and like many of you sitting in this room. People who work every day and try to make a better life for their family and those around them.

We live in a society that many times applaud the ordinary and forgets about the truly extraordinary. People like the Harris' were extraordinary because they made the most out what they had.

The day I graduated from Wittenberg University my father shook my hand, told me congratulations, and commanded me to give my children more than was given to me. The Harris children gave their children more than was given to them and in turn my parents gave my sister and me more than what was given to them.

"Sweet 16" (1936)
Jane Harris... my grandmother.

Birdie (my grandfather) and Jane truly went the extra mile for their children; giving them every opportunity to be happy and successful. People really do make a difference in others lives. The difference can be negative or it can be positive...the choice is ours. 

My grandmother chose to make a difference in her two children (Nancy & Chris), her four grandchildren (Tim, Tony, Meredith, & myself), and her four great grandchildren's lives (Logan, Austin, Bryce, & Sarah)...that choice has made all the difference to me.

 Now that I've gained insight and knowledge from two different generations, and have been blessed with wonderful role models, I can only hope and pray that I will continue the tradition. The tradition of giving my children more than what was given me and that I will be a positive influence in their lives.

Christine Neilson Williams
(My great grandmother)

Ralph Waldon Emerson wrote, and I quote; "What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people will always find those who think they know what your duty is better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it easy to in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude". Marjorie Jane Byrd, in the midst of the crowd, maintained the perfect sweetness of independent solitude. She was true to herself, and by doing so, she was true to all of us.

In closing, I know we are all grieving m grandmother's death today, but it would be my hope and prayer that we celebrate her life. When Jack Nicklaus officially retired from golf last Friday at the British Open, someone said; "don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened". My grandmother's life may be over, but I'm so happy it happened and that I was part of it.

Thank you.

1 comment:

Erica said...

Just lovely, Shawn. You are so right about Heather, her mom's sunny spirit shines through her. We wouldn't have the FB group we have today without her!