Remember the sky that you were born under, know each of the star's stories. Remember the moon, know who she is. Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the strongest point of time. Remember sundown and the giving away to night. Remember your birth, how your mother struggled to give form and breath. You are evidence of her life, and her mother's and hers.~ From Remember by Joy Harjo
I suppose we might have been relegated to the category of the "have-nots" by just looking at us. We rented a speck of a house in the land of movie stars and swaying palms amidst the hills of southern California. We always just made it to the end of the month with a few dollars left in our checking account, buying our shoes from Pay-Less and our clothes from Goodwill. My girls were little blonde innocents who liked to play in the minuscule backyard fitted out with a skimpy swing set.
Beauty abounded, though, as we had a wall of vibrant bougainvillea and birds of paradise grew tall with all their orange wildness in one corner of the yard. We could sit on a blanket under the shade of an avocado tree. Mushrooms popped up regularly from the black soil around the edges of the fence. I invented stories about The Mushroom People who lived under the brown caps of our mushrooms. The Mushroom clan was strong and brave, resilient in their adventures to avoid the big people who couldn't see them and inadvertnently could destroy their mushroom village in one giant step.
Perhaps I told those stories of The Mushroom People as much for myself as for my children. At that time in my life, I was poorly educated in the reality of God's grace. I often felt bent low with the uncertainity of life--with anxiety and fear. I looked at the culture around me and yearned for a house of our own and nice furniture. I didn't know how to access God's mercy. Yet there it was, even if I couldn't see it. Some others at that time might have even described us "the haves." We were healthy and loved each other. Almost every day was sunny and blue in that west coast paradise. We had good friends. We had faith, even if weakly developed. We sang songs and read mountains of books. We ate avocados from the tree in the backyard. I bore the courageous legacy of my own mother who struggled too. And her mother. And hers.