I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about how blessed I am by the people in my life. My readers and online friends, my neighbors, my friends at church, my family... the list goes on. Life is tough - some days more than others - but I am forever thankful for the people God has surrounded me by. They're what it's all about.
That train of thought led me to my sisters. I don't know how people navigate life without sisters. I'd be lost without mine. When I'm hopeless, they seem to sense it and my phone rings. Without fail, it's one of my sisters, calling to lend an ear. I kid you not, one particularly terrible day I thought I'd give anything for a pizza and my sister showed up an hour later with two pizzas. We live two hours apart, and I hadn't said a word to her. Yeah, they're both pretty amazing like that.
Beyond what they do for me, my sisters are the kind of women who change the world, who make it a better place. Both are teachers - one in an affluent district and one in a rural district where many students are not affluent. Though each in their own way, they are both that teacher who fearlessly makes a difference in the lives of the teenagers they interact with each day. (You know that one teacher you still remember with a smile? Yep, that's them.) They go so far above and beyond to do the right thing, to show they genuinely care about the people they come into contact with.
From Angie, the mother hen, I learned my sense of justice. By example, she taught me that when a task seems too big, just put your head down and get to work. She has this amazing sense of right and wrong, and I struggle to picture her ever making a bad decision. And yet, somehow, she never judges me for mine. She listens, counsels and cheers me on, but she never judges.
From Karen, who sparkles from the inside out, I learned how to be generous and how to laugh through the worst life has to offer. Growing up, I hated being in Karen's shadow. She was both funny and brilliant. I hated her for it. But now I realize that in trying to keep up with her, I discovered me. She'd give you her last dollar if she thought you needed it, and she'd do it without begrudging you or even thinking twice.
As jealous as I was of Karen, I don't think she'd ever understand why. She doesn't see who she is; neither of my sisters do. They're beautiful - stunning even - on the inside and out, though neither views themselves that way. Whether they see it or not, I thank God for them. Someday, I hope my sons have what I do with my sisters. They've held me as I've cried, laughed with me, and shaped me into who I am.
They're the best part of me.
Rolling hills that had been vibrant green just weeks ago were now muted in tone, as if they were taking a deep breath before bursting into the song of fall.