Tasting Experience

The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m searching for the right words today.  This is a big day in my family.  We are celebrating, we are praying, and we are holding our breath.  Today we celebrate my Grammy’s birthday.  She has been tasting experience for 84 years today and if I had anything to say about it she would continue to taste experience for another 84.  Thankfully her health at 84 is good and isn’t really a worry at this point. [smile]

If I were to tell you the story of her life, you would probably think it very ordinary.  She grew up in the smallest of towns in Georgia climbing in trees pretending to be Tarzan and Jane.  As a little girl, she caught a train to travel just a few miles down the road to the “big” city to visit her father at the used car lot where he worked after the war and on Saturdays to watch the serials at the movie theater.  After graduating from her small high school, she attended Valdosta State College for women and cried almost every day for the first six weeks because she couldn’t go home.  Years later she met and fell in love with my Granddaddy, a newly ordained Methodist pastor, while engaged to someone else.  She raised three beautiful children and now is seeing her family expand almost every year.  No great-grandchildren yet, but new marriages among the grandchildren and new great-great nieces and nephews.  They retired in the town where she was born in a house on the street she grew up.  Now her days are filled with gardening, reading, writing prayers and letters, and loving on people in ways that make you feel so incredibly seen, known, and valued.  My Grammy has tasted life and is still reaching out for newer, richer experiences.

Today also marks the beginning of a new adventure for my little sister Rachel.  She is stepping forward “to taste experience to the utmost.”  Today she travels with our Uncle Steve to Guatemala to backpack around a new land for 3 1/2 weeks.  This is her first trip abroad and I am so excited for her, but I am also holding my breath.  Yes I am anxious for her to return home safely, but I am also waiting to see how this new experience will change her.  She is about to taste humanity in a new and richer way.  Her eyes will see things differently and I hope she will be inspired!  I am holding my breath in anticipation of what new tastes she will bring back and share.

I am searching for the right words today to express my joy at celebrating Grammy’s life that she has so richly lived and I am searching for the right words today to wish Rachel the very best as she reaches out to experiences life in a new way.  Holding Eleanor’s metaphor of taste in mind, I offer this table blessing today for Grammy and Rachel:

For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful.  Amen