Imagine thinking that things that have no substance, actually do have substance. I know that sounds odd, but consider our shadow. It is caused by our body coming between the sun and the ground. We have all seen them, and most of us give them no thought at all. Now consider a two year old girl, who notices her shadow for the first time. Suddenly, something strange is following her and she cannot get away from it. Many of this little ones actually become quite upset, and telling them it is ok, or it is only their shadow doesn’t help at all. Explaining what creates a shadow to a two year old doesn’t help either, because they are too young to figure out what you are saying. To them, the shadow is a thing of substance…a stranger, and the child does not like it. While a little child being afraid of their shadow is pretty normal, what of other things that have no substance being mistaken for things of substance.
In reality, it is probably just people being able to use their imagination, like the little girl who was the subject of a photograph taken by Adam Diston in 1886. Little is known about the photographer himself, but his imagination and creative thought are fascinating to me. I did find out he was born 1827 in Edinburgh and spent the greater majority of his life as a photographer. I don’t know if the little girl thought you could cut a sunbeam or not, but maybe…just for a moment it seemed possible that something without substance, could have substance. Diston brought that out in her, and in his picture, made it almost believable. I think he might have been a truly great photographer.
And what of the wind? Wind can blow all around you and still you stand in the same place, and yet, if you raise your jacket over your head, it can fill the fabric and take you for a little ride. We can’t go far on just jacket power, but put that same wind in a sail, connected to a boat and you can travel the world. And yet, a breeze goes by almost unnoticed…because it has no real substance…at least not until we harness it. Or in the case of a sunbeam, we imagine it’s substance. And in the case of the shadow, we envision it as a person…a stranger. It’s all in how we see things.
I was talking to my Aunt Sandy yesterday, and she was telling me some things she found out about my grandparents, her mom and dad, that she had never heard before. It made me realize just what amazing people they were. And yet, you would never have heard my grandparents tell of any of the deeds they did, because they weren’t in it for the glory…they were in it because there was a need, and they couldn’t bear to let someone be in need and not help out. Even their own kids didn’t know, and they were right there!!
This was during the Great Depression, and many people found themselves out of work, and in a lot of trouble, because if you had no money, you and your family just might starve to death. During those years, many an extra mouth was fed at my grandmother’s table. It was well known to those who were homeless and broke. They would show up at the door, and as some have told it later, my grandma would simply add some more water to the soup, and a little more of what she had, usually potatoes, and pull up another chair for that stranger in need. It was an act of kindness that most of us wouldn’t dare do today, because you never know what kind of person they might be, but as I said, times were different. People…even the homeless and desperate had values and morals, they would never bite the hand that fed them, nor the hands of their family.
The kids knew about the help given to a stranger in need, but they didn’t know about the family of children, whose parents drank away the paycheck, and had nothing left for food on the table. Giving money to the parents would do no good, so my grandparents bought bags of groceries and took it over for the kids. These kids were friends of my aunt, and yet neither they nor my grandparents ever told of the secret supplies they had received, or where they came from…until just recently, when one of those kids told someone else, and my cousin overheard, how their lives had been saved by those acts of kindness. There was no public knowledge of those supplies. Those kids didn’t have to feel embarrassment or shame about what their parents did, or how they all stayed alive…because only those kids and my grandparents knew anything about it.
My grandparents didn’t have much money back then…nobody did, but they still gave to those in need!! And the real miracle here is that my grandparents and their own 9 children always had enough to eat. They never went hungry!! How can that be? The food on their table had started out as enough for the family, and then food was added as needed, but from what? They didn’t have a lot of money to buy extra to keep feeding the many people who came and went from their kitchen in those tough years, and yet somehow there was always enough. Well, I don’t know what you think, but I think God had found two people who were willing to be givers in this earth, and He partnered with them. He said, “If you are willing to give to the needy…I will provide whatever you need to meet their needs!” Yes, my grandparents were known for their acts of kindness…all the way up to Heaven!!
My two oldest grandchildren have always made me very proud…as have my two younger ones. They were cute and funny, and…well just precious…and yes I am biased, but I don’t care, because that is my right as a grandma. Through the years they have all made me laugh, and given me hugs, that always seemed to bless me at the perfect moment of need. They probably didn’t even know I had a need, but they were just very loving children, and the hugs were bountiful What more could a grandmother ask for?
Now they are grown into wonderful 16 year old adults…well almost adults, and if you look at them from the perspective of their jobs, you would think they were adults for sure. Neither one of these kids is a stranger to hard work. When they were just 10 years old, and their grandpa, my dad, was very ill, they pitched in with his care. It didn’t matter what we asked them to do, they were happy to do it. Their wanted their grandpa to get better, and so they very unselfishly gave of themselves to help him live another 2 years. It was a gift of themselves to him, that brought about a bond with him that he never forgot.
Both of the older grandchildren have jobs now, and their supervisors count on them heavily. For that reason, they often work lots of hours each week. It is nice in that the money is good, but they get very tired, and often sleep much of their time off. Even though I don’t get to see as much of them as I would like to now, I am very proud of them. It is not often that you see such great work ethic in young people. They didn’t take a job just to quit it when the work began, and they have not been fired either. They are workers and they will always do their very best. What a wonderful plus for anyone who hires them.
When I think of my grandparents now, I always think of their latter years. They seemed more serious during that time, and now that I have experienced aging parents and in-laws, I can understand how that can be. People get more tired as they age, and the aches ad pains that can come with it often makes them forget the days of youth and the stamina that went with it. I’m not saying that they never had any fun, it’s just that life was harder and since it was a lot more work, they just didn’t have the same stamina that I remembered from before. The nice thing about pictures is that they are a reminder of days from the past, and sometimes, they can take you by surprise, because they portray events or personalities from the past.
My grandfather was smitten by my grandmother from the day he first met her. He simply delighted in everything she did. And my grandmother was a bit of a teaser, so when she would get that urge to be a little goofy, he was always thrilled with the whole thing. They were both always happy people. They always reminded me of that old song, “Side By Side”. They were just traveling along singing a son, side by side. Circumstances didn’t really matter so much, because they always knew that tomorrow was another day and nothing was all that bad anyway. They had their family, their health, and the smiles on their faces, and everything was going to be just fine.
My grandparents survived the Great Depression years, and like many other people, money was scarce and families were big, but somehow they always found a way to have enough food on the table, a smile on their lips, and a song in their hearts. They helped their neighbors and even the strangers that always seemed to find their way to their table, hungry and in need of warmth. They never turned anyone away. I suppose that is why their always had enough. Somehow, God always finds a way for those who will give to those in need. He makes a way for them to always have enough, and that is what was always the case for them.
My grandparents were married on Christmas Eve, so Christmas always a special time of year for them, filled with lots of celebration, and much gladness. As I said, my grandfather was smitten with my grandmother from day one, in fact you could say that he thought she hung the moon. He always got such a kick out of her antics, and when she decided to dance a little jig, he would look on with delight…unless he just decided to join right in. My grandparents have been living in Heaven for a long time, now, and I miss them very much, but when I see pictures like these, I find myself smiling at the memory of those happy days.