Thursday, September 21, 2006

Some lessons sink in

I often tell my kids, "People are more important than things." Depending on the circumstances, it's a catch-phrase, a reminder to heed others' feelings, a reprimand or a simple statement of fact. Sometimes, the lesson is for me.

A few days ago, I was vacuuming, which, at our house, can be a run of the mill routine, or an exercise in extreme frustration, due to the age and temperament of our vacuum cleaner. On this particular day, it was the latter, as the wretched machine rattled, banged, shook and protested against its purpose in life. Rather than kick it, which I wanted to do (but didn't want to do front of Ramona) I turned it off for a short break. I went to a bookshelf to dust. After dusting the bottom shelves, I leaned on a shelf to help myself up (I'd done something to my knee recently, and it was hurting.) This was a mistake, and any of you who can mainly afford "some assembly required" furniture know exactly what I mean. The peg that held the shelf in place gave way, the corner of the shelf tilted, and books had no choice but to come off the shelf.

It wasn't just the books, or the shelf. It wasn't just the knee. It wasn't just the frustration of limited finances that currently prohibit a new vaccum or better quality furniture. It was all of it. Together. Seemingly hanging over my head like a black cloud, raining only on me, darkening my vision.

"Oooh! I'm so tired of these cheap bookshelves!" I blurted out, to no one in particular.

But someone in particular was there. Four-year-old Ramona. She came over to where my bad knee and I sat, dejected, on the floor in front of a cheap bookshelf, near tears (I have to add -- avert your eyes, gentlemen readers -- that it was probably a hormonal time, too ....) and she put her soft, sweet smelling little arms around me and hugged me.

"Mommy, your family is more important than things," she said.

The tears that had welled up in frustration now spilled over, just a tiny bit, in complete and utter love for this little gift from God. My sweet Ramona, who came to us when I was in my 40's, who came after three consecutive miscarriages, who surprised us after I'd given up on ever having another child ... Ramona, who is a living, breathing example of what God does when we allow Him to work in His way and in His time, was teaching me, yet again, the lesson that I so regularly try to teach my kids.

People are more important than things. As this cherished little person, with her arms around my neck, kissed my cheek, I felt her innocent wisdom permeate my being.


I can live with cheap furniture, dying vacuums, a bad knee and any other distraction in the form of "things" that comes my way. As long as I've got my people, I'm a happy woman. An unspeakably blessed and happy woman.


  1. Awww...that brought a tear to my eye. How very sweet!

  2. I'm a little teary too! Beautifully written.

  3. Sigh. Thanks for sharing! :)

    By the way, we have LOTS of those kind of bookshelves too, though it's usually the kids who pull books on top of themselves (especially the shelves that have started to sag). Finally John just nailed the shelves permanently in. Not terribly elegant, and we're stuck with the current arrangement, but it's worth it!

  4. Beautiful. My ds is always good for moments like that, too. It never fails to bring tears.

  5. We had one of those bookshelf collapse averted, but it was a long day of frustration trying to fix and reorganize.

    What a lovely post and reminder! My ds does similiar reminders -- what a blessing they are to us!

  6. Isn't it wonderful when they preach our words back to us. It makes us know they really were listening.

    I really feel for you because my back has caused me to do a lot of leaning on things to get up lately. I'm constantly ill at ease that bookshelf, entertainment center, or some such is going to do just what your bookshelf did. The other day, the very cheap (as in made out of cardboard) set of drawers that holds the video tapes and dvd's did just that. My reaction was pretty much the same. However, I didn't have Ramona there to remind me that things aren't so important. She is not only a gift to you, she's a gift to those of us with whom you share her. Thanks for doing so.

  7. Great post, Karen!

    And a necessary reminder for me, too! Ramona's a blessing to us all!

    So are you!