Today's post is another guest post, because, clearly, I am slow to get original content out there in a timely manner. Today's Blogger is Candace Halbrook Fowler. When I knew her at OBU she went by Kami and sang in chorale and stood next to Heather Cook. Years later when she sent me a friend request on the facebooks I had to ask Heather, do I know this chica? Heather reminded me that she had probably, at countless performances, stood next to Candy/Kami and said, "look, Judson and Kathleen are here, no, over there, sitting together. No, they are "not dating" still."
Post OBU Candace used her considerable music talents to marry Brian Fowler and start a family of 5. I am pretty sure there are a few more than that, but they stopped counting at 5. Recently, in a move that surely shocked the nations, and the alumni organization, Candace became a Methodist. What's more? She is in seminary, and recently preached her first sermon (excluding the ones she has been preaching to her children for years). I say all of this tongue in cheek because I love to give Candy a hard time, but honestly, I am excited for this new path for her. I also cannot help but wonder, if the structure and patriarchy and baptistness at OBU had been different, had other options even been available, what might Candy have done?
Recently I was asked to think on something that I inherited from a family member. The inheritance could be a possession, a habit, or physical characteristic. Thinking…Thinking... My friend shared that she was thankful for her singing abilities. Another was thankful for his straight teeth and the propensity to avoid cavities. My mind ran through all the different choices I could voice. I finally settled on one. For me, the answer was not as important as the process of choosing. For in this thought process I realized that I have little to claim as my own. So much of who I am today is from the influence and gifts of others. Talents given, information gleaned, habits formed; all learned in the shadows of others who have loved me and poured into me. I have spent countless hours at the feet of those I love, learning from their wisdom and ways. Even the lessons I have learned from pain and heartache come from time spent with others, if only for a chance to know how I would act differently when the decision was mine to make. A brush against distaste calls me to do better. Again, I cannot do this without knowledge from someone else. Again, I inherit. The culmination of who I am comes from the good and bad gained from a life spent with others. For me, this brought a feeling of thankfulness. Thankfulness for the talents I enjoy, habits I put into practice, and difficult lessons that eked a change in my life.
What have you inherited? Is it your mother’s gift of storytelling, your uncle’s gift of laughter, or a friend’s patience? Will you be eating on china that was passed through the family, sitting on a chair where your father always sat or donning your youngest in the hand-me-downs of an older sibling? Or maybe you’ll play the piano and remember your loved one playing the same Christmas carols or perhaps a niece’s laughter from the other room will remind you of her mother or yours. Inheritance. In the words of John Donne: “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…” We all are the culmination of the goods and bads inherited from a life with others, inherited from those who have gone before.
So, as you gather 'round your table this Christmas, be thankful. Be thankful for what you love and what you don’t because it is all part of you. And the essence of who you are will be an inheritance to someone else