My grandmother was a wonderful lady who lived in a small town in central Oklahoma. She was a housewife, a mother, an ardent churchgoer, and she managed the general store they owned in town before it was closed down toward the end of the Great Depression. The store was a small mercantile of the day, carrying most of life’s necessities and was, essentially, the Walmart of their small community.
When I was a teenager, my father told me the story of the store. He said that, during those difficult years, his parents would allow townsfolk to purchase items on credit that they knew would likely never be paid for. He described how the shelves were eventually emptied, and the shop doors were locked for the last time. As my dad ended the story, he looked over the top of his glasses and he said, “You just can’t let good folks go hungry.” Most likely, he had heard those very words from his own parents and wanted to pass on a meaningful lesson in charity to me, as well.
Although my grandfather died of smoking and emphysema when I was only a very young boy, I was able to get to know my grandmother as I grew older. This mostly happened as my family made long, annual pilgrimages to Oklahoma each summer. We drove in heavy cars using cheap gas in order to reconnect with relatives and to create cherished memories of watermelon feeds, intimate after-supper conversations and the best scratch biscuits in the world. But, the years passed, I grew up, and, after starting college, I realized the world was actually a pretty big place. It was clear that I knew a lot less than I would need to know in order to find safe passage through a darkening sea. The voices around me had become unfamiliar, and I wondered who could help.
Since I had always valued my grandmother's wisdom, I hoped she might have some answers. I also knew her life was coming to a close, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to hear what she might have to say. So, I wrote her a letter telling her I was feeling unsure about how to find my way. I simply asked her what she thought were the most important things I needed to know in life. A couple of weeks later, I received a letter back. In it, she said, "Just do your best, and always be true to your word." And, I think that was some pretty good advice.
Here at Daily Apple Clinic, we believe we can do no less than honor one another by being true to our word and waking up every day with the intention of being even better than the day before. We try to accept our human shortcomings and know that if we want to truly make a difference in the world, we can't just give lip service to the things we believe in. Instead, we aim to live and breathe our ideals in order to create change in ourselves and in the world around us. And, the truth is, we really don’t have any other choice. We can only look to ourselves to be the people we want to be. Life always puts us in the driver's seat.
Our families, our communities, and our country are built on very basic, but very solid principles. They are the bedrock of our beliefs and have been handed down from one generation to the next with both care and intention. These ideas make us who we are; they form the foundation for the way we think and the way we plan for tomorrow. Indeed, the way we see ourselves and envision our future greatly affects our health and wellness.
So, today we hope you’ll take a few moments to thankfully and fondly remember the lessons you have been given, how they have brought you to today and kept you in good health. Let’s remember the Moms who told us to eat our vegetables but let us play in the rain, the Dads who showed us how to plant those vegetables and how to fix the faucet. Let’s remember the grandparents, the caring friends and the mentors who took the time to hear our stories, delighted in our joy and helped us each realize and clarify our unique sense of purpose. Hopefully, those memories and feelings will lighten our load, sharpen our perspective, and allow us to be the people who pass our gifts on to the next generation.
Wishing you all good health. Be well and take good care.