Thursday, August 28, 2014

We Believe in Visions

Our five-year-old grandson asked, “What is the future?” His brown eyes reflected the wheels turning in his mind.

I replied, “Remember a week ago, when you hadn’t been to kindergarten yet and you didn’t know what it was like?”  He nodded.

“Well, being in kindergarten, knowing the other kids and knowing what you like to do during recess was all in your future.  Now you know all about kindergarten, and your first week of kindergarten is in your past. But you don’t know the fun things you will learn next week—that’s in your future.”

Then he asked, “Can we see into the future?”

That was a stumper.  I didn’t want to give him a flat “No”—now wheels were turning in my mind!

Thanks to insomnia, early that morning I’d been thinking about my life as a daydreamer. All through childhood and adolescence, my daydreams seemed almost more real than life. 

Some of them developed into life-dreams, goals that influenced my choices and my path. My dream of writing the kind of book I like to read helped me finish my college education during my 50s.  A mental picture of myself in cap and gown had guided me through every class, every test, every commute, every obstacle. 

That epiphany taught me that my daydreams are visions unique to me—glimpses of a possible future that keep me focused on goals.

And I believe in visions. 

I believe that prophets are special people who are given visions for groups of people. Joseph of Egypt, Daniel, and of course, Jesus Christ saw visions that guided and warned many people.

Solomon said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)  That is as true of individuals as nations. We need daydreams. They give us hope.

So I told my grandson, “There isn’t a television program or book that can show you your future.  But you know how much you love finding and collecting rocks?  If you want to study rocks, imagine yourself as a geologist.  Make a picture in your mind—that’s like seeing into the future.”

He screwed his eyes tightly closed and imagined with all his heart.

I can’t see his future, but he can.  It will be great.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thanks for the memories-and support new library

A video making the Facebook rounds shows a five-year-old girl sobbing because someone said that her six-month-old brother would grow up.  “I don’t want him to get big. (Sob!)  I’ll miss his cute smiles. (Sob!) And I don’t want to d-d-die when I’m a hundred years old!”

I can relate.  I never want a sweet baby to grow big enough to climb on counters or pick his nose.  And I’m getting way too close to one hundred years old.

Change is hard, but as this girl will learn, it’s inevitable, and essential to our growth.

This is my last IP-T column, though I’ll still blog at “Savoring Fruit from the Family Tree”  When I started, we agreed that I wouldn’t be paid. The columns have been my gift to the Canyon County community, which has been good to my family and me.

My daughter’s editor shared this quote: “Content is a means, not an end.” In other words, though we writers think our job is to express thoughts perfectly, the test is what readers do as a result of reading an article. Did our words make someone laugh, encourage them to do the right thing, or influence them to call a loved one? 

I started writing columns for the Idaho Press-Tribune shortly after my mother died.  Though I didn’t realize it, I wrote to share her example of compassion, humor, and putting people before things. Everybody loved Mama because of the warmth she radiated. She valued people and generously shared her time to listen; she focused on individuals; she forgave freely; she encouraged family reunions and other family events; she laughed often, and she understood the value of history and of sharing and writing family stories. I hoped my columns mirrored her personality. I appreciated it when readers called to tell me they’d enjoyed a column.

Mama had very little money, but she knew how to spend it—one column told how she bought encyclopedias for the hungry minds of our large family. Nampa’s new library is a similar example of a wise investment in those who will guide our future. I’ve toured it—wow!  It will be a wonderful community living room for families, children and senior citizens.

Library supporters are seeking funds for art and technology, items that cannot be purchased with tax dollars. It’s been slow going.  I feel like standing on top of that new building—right where this city started—and shouting, “Wake up, Nampa!  In the past 30 years, you built a gorgeous City Hall, Civic Center, Recreation Center and the Ford Idaho Center that bear the names of local businesses and families. Recently, without finger pointing or recrimination, you rescued the Nampa School District from a $5 million deficit. It’s time to support this library. It’s built with urban renewal funds; some of us don’t like that. Remember, this is Nampa—where we forgive, get over it and pull together. Jump on the bandwagon!”

This month, Norm and I will put our family’s name in the building, and we challenge others to do the same—by sponsoring a piece of art or technology, or by “Making it Yours” with a family or business name on a book spine—permanent legacies that tell the world we love living in Nampa.

Thanks for the memories!