This is but one installment of Grandmother Julie’s
responses to Granddaughter MacKenzie Orchowski’s series of questions from ‘Storyworth’
The Meaning of Life
By Julie Anne Chitwood
The meaning of life for me is being surrounded by loved ones.
My parents brought me up that what counts in someone is their character – not race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, etc. I have tried to follow that all my life. And I’ve been lucky to have wonderful family and friends. And, like quite a few of our tribe, I have met a lot of people that have added to my life – sometimes just a moment of time by a smile or a quick hello in passing.
Another rule of life drilled into me from the beginning is that we are responsible for the critters in our life. Seeing to their needs and wants always comes first. You do not sit down to dinner until their bowls have been filled. Baby Cat used to sit on my Mom’s lap and the family would have to wait on Mom so that Baby Cat was not disturbed! It was funny watching Dad jump up to refill Mom’s coffee cup so that the cat did not lose her comfortable ‘lap’.
One time I was talking to Butch McBride and he recounted when he had destroyed a cactus on a picnic when he was a young kid. He said my Dad just looked at him and shook his head and in his low voice that he used when you were in trouble commented, ‘Butch, I’m so disappointed in you’. Butch said he even had problems killing weeds after that. The earth was to be respected. That wasn’t a big deal – no bragging rights – you simply picked up after yourself. And in Arizona you sure watched where you walked and placed your hands and feet. Snakes, Gila Monsters, critters, had first rights as we were visiting their home ground. One time in Kentucky Shelley had me remove a spider that she didn’t want to share the bathroom with but also didn’t want to be the cause of it’s death.
Another fact of life drilled into me was to give people the benefit of the doubt, as it was impossible to know what bad moments they were going through. I’ve watched our tribe follow this as they are not quick to judge. More likely to give an understanding smile than taking offence. And it is amazing what a smile can accomplish. I’ve been with Robin when we’ve passed someone and she had commented to them what a pretty dress they are wearing or stunning hair. The person will first show surprise and then a smile will cross their face – their day just got better.
Small things add up to big things. The challenge is to make those good things rather than downers.
A child giving you their trust as they hold up their arms. An animal showing you their belly, knowing you won’t hurt them. A friend being able to unload, sure that you will not betray their trust. Your mate is always sure that you have their back.
The gift of laughter and love. For me those are all the meaning of life.
Your loving Grandmother,
Julie Anne (Gehrandt) Chitwood
PS: How life NOT be a GIFT with this little fellow and wonderful parents?
Sorry for quality of image BUT they are all beautiful!!! Take my word!