A legacy of creativity and kindness.
[Today’s post is #4 in a series on “heritage” – what lessons we have learned from our predecessors and what legacy we are passing on ourselves. In each post, I am sharing family memories that have had a lasting impact on me.]
May the legacy you leave flow over others as lifegiving blessings.
Her miniature duplex always smelled like turpentine and there was china on every surface. In fact, we – my brother David and I – had to make space for ourselves in that comfy, small living room where she chose to live, sleep and paint. It was the pulse-point of her existence and we loved to join her there for overnight stays.
There were a few other rooms in the house, but they were piled high with a lifetime of treasures and memories. So, in that front room, we would sit on the floor between sofa and coffee table to paint, weave baskets, knit and play cards. She would even allow us to eat popcorn for breakfast in that same spot. I have no memory of where we actually slept!
Her name was LaRose and she was one of my two beloved grandmothers (total opposites by the way). Dad’s mom. Nanny we called her. She was an art major at Bessie Tift College in the 1920s and she was an exceptional porcelain artist who taught me a love for creating - among other things.
She always wanted me to paint china with her, although she confessed that she was no teacher and continuously took the brush out of my hand to show me how to do it “right”. Of course, that did not work with stubborn me! I wanted to do it myself, thank you. So those lessons were of short duration.
As a young adult, thankfully, I had the privilege of living with her for three years. During that time, I was able to get to know her as an adult herself as she interacted with others, told me stories of the past, and painted her porcelain as a professional artist. There can be no doubt I learned my best housekeeping style from her: “Leave the spider webs and throw glitter on them at Christmas.” The painting lessons were the same, but I did learn a tad more with my own maturity.
When she left us to paint rainbows in heaven, I received an invaluable material inheritance: all of her china and painting supplies. I still have some of that china and paint – I’m saving it for something special, in my own piles of stuff.
Her best legacy to me, however, will never be used up like those supplies. It will be a part of me forever. Nanny’s legacy for me was two-fold.
First, she blessed me with a legacy of kindness. She chose to accept people as they were, whether she agreed with them or not. Everyone was welcomed into her tiny abode. And, as a good Southerner, she would feed them. Naturally.
Second, she mentored a lifestyle of creativity that left me with a deep desire to use my own hands to create (not to clean!). This legacy has been a constant springboard for me into new worlds and fresh opportunities. For years now, I have used my hands to create wonderful things in a multitude of media. I have had the pleasure of teaching others how to create as well and to pass her legacy of creativity and kindness on.
The trouble for me is – I still can’t decide what to do when I grow up! Do I want to paint or sew or write or make jewelry or knit? All of the above plus some!
Thank you, LaRose, for the lessons. Thank you, Lord, for my grandmother.
Hugs and blessings,
Dear Lord, I humbly thank you for the legacies my family has passed on to me in love. Please help me to leave a legacy that honors and glorifies You as each of them have to me. Amen.
A CHALLENGE TO PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER
What legacy are you building now by the way you are living your days?
Who are you mentoring be default?