To what, or to whom, are you called to honor?
As an expression of my Cherokee spirituality, family is just as much a matter of loyalty and compassion as is biology. In addition to the family of origin “blood” relationships, other family members have been honoring of me as well.
For example, take my childhood friend, Melissa. Even after decades and a geographical separation of some 3000 miles, Melissa honors our relationship. Sure, we went for many years without contact, but reconnecting with her during the 2000’s made it seem as if she had always been there. I now live in the Pacific Northwest, and whenever I hear Melissa’s North Carolina accent, it warms my heart, and I long for home.
See, Melissa is really family. She’s a sister in the Lord, so to speak, and if she doesn’t hear from me for a long time, she checks in. She is thoughtful. She honors our history. What’s more, our respective spouses honor and cherish who we have become since the days of strollers, Play-Doh, baseball gloves, and pom-poms. Many of the memories of our Charlotte childhood are fond ones. My earliest memory of “Missy” is of her blond curls and sweet disposition. I still have a great love for my hometown and my first neighborhood near Windsor Park, and I associate that love with Melissa and those who celebrate our Southern upbringing.
We grew up around the corner from each other; that is, until her family moved “down the road apiece,” as we would say in the south. In time, we moved a few miles away as well. Our families kept in touch. My mother, Jean, and Melissa’s mother, Dorothy, played bridge together for decades. I recall many a Monday evening, when it was Mom’s turn to host, the laughter and joy that our mothers shared with friends, even though I was forced to make myself scarce when the women all converged in our living room. I would employ my stealth, however, and patter to the doorway whenever I heard Dorothy speak of the beautiful girl with the blond hair and sparkling eyes that I pretended not to notice.
I recall one evening, while in my early teens, going to the Barclay Cafeteria with Mom and Dad and encountering Melissa and, to my great annoyance, her date. That might have been the moment I realized life was utterly unfair! I have a hunch that our mothers would be happy that Melissa and I stay in touch, and that we still hold each other dear. I hope I have honored Melissa with this reflection, as nothing would please me more.
When we honor, we reflect goodness. It is a type of goodness that is uplifting for its recipient, or it fails to do the honor intended. Whenever I hear from Melissa, I’m uplifted. It makes me think of Charlotte’s Eastside, where we grew up; of how the years just fly by, and that we are all eventually returning to the earth from whence we came, our spirits abounding within the cosmos. Our reconnection was, in fact, cosmic. Some of the best news in human history was galactic, and it was honoring: “We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.” (Matthew 2:2, CEB).
Are you called to be uplifting for someone? How will your words or deeds honor them?
Thank you (“Wah doh!”) for reading. I am truly honored. Be well, and, when you can, be honoring.
"YOH-nuh" (yonv) means "bear" in Cherokee. Thanks for visiting!