My flannel fits. And the precious jewels of faith, family, friends, fifty, and even failures, hang proudly around my neck~they form the letter K. It’s me, Karla. I don’t mean to flaunt, but it’s all the flair I’ve got.Flannel with Faith
It’s like looking in a mirror. We would stare at each other for hours before drifting off to sleep. How strange we began as one. We formed. We split. You had my nose. I had your ears. My smile was more crooked. Your eyes looked bigger. Our hands were the same.
Can you imagine my parents’ reaction learning there would be TWO of us? (they only found out after two heartbeats were heard about two weeks before our birth). My poor older sister was doomed. She was so beautiful and alone. Ironically her four years of solitude ended just four days after Independence Day 1970. I’ve been apologizing ever since.
Greens, blues, and yellow were good for me. Pinks, reds, and purples suited her. Or that was the way they could tell us apart. It’s no wonder I love nature colors. Giggling was a gift and we still open it A LOT. Simultaneously we do many things. The question “Do twins really FEEL what the other is feeling?” is answered emphatically “yes” by us. Once she was in an accident. I knew. If I hurt, she hurt~and vice versa.
Fifty years have almost passed since the day we first separated. There are several stories I could share. Like the one where we switched our shirts when we arrived to school (they had our names). By the end of the day we confessed. The teacher couldn’t get angry as she was stumped she hadn’t noticed. It was all out of fun. Except for the time when I had her pretend to be me on the phone since our voices sounded identical. Truly I could write a book about being a twin.
Fifty years doesn’t seem like a lot when I feel I’ve lived such a full life. To some of you I’m as young as morn; to others, I’m no spring chicken. Today as I soak in the paper of my past, it’s the family, friends, and fragments of failures that create the pictures I hold in my hands. Not the ones on the tiny screen. The pleasant aroma of memories lingers. The taste of yesteryears is so sweet. To preserve them (for hopefully the next fifty years) I safely bag them. And to my delight I even purchased a new picture frame. Can you imagine which pictures will be placed in these multiple cavities?
My grandparents lived through the Depression. My parents remember John F. Kennedy being shot. This morning I thumbed through a school yearbook. It was 2001. And I was just a 31 year old “young” elementary Principal trying to wade through the difficulties of 9/11 with the rest of the world. My oldest was in 3rd grade and the youngest in 1st. My children have children; what will they remember of 2020?
We’re halfway through the year. In five days I’m halfway to 100. I’m not confident we’re at any halfway point of human healing. It’s a new life. I’m embracing this stage. As I put on a mask for safety, I happily strip off the mask that hid my flaws. Do you see my eyes smile? Or do you see the tears that sometimes wet the cheeks when the mask feels suffocating? Will we remain out of touch? Or will we, in rebellion, spread the infectiousness of the ghostly viruses that swirl among us?
Lessons learned, wisdom made, and questions still to be answered power my passion to forge ahead. To fight with faith~To take a snap and actually print it out~To let go of what I can’t control~Smile when I don’t feel like it~ Cry because I can and should~Laugh for no reason as often as possible~Walk away from unnecessary stress~Embrace nature everyday~Show love to family, friends, and strangers even when I don’t feel like it~To be better than I was yesterday~To learn from every mistake~To inhale slowly and breathe deeply~To appreciate failures to reveal success~To judge nothing by appearance~To shake it off and accept it.
When I look into the eyes of my twin I ponder how we began as one. I stare in my mirror and looking back is a reservoir of reflections that embodies my experiences and satisfies my soul.
Faith, family, friends, …and fifty. It just fits.
The best decision I ever made in life was to follow Christ. He doesn’t expect perfection. And he doesn’t tolerate hate. He’s not into “denominations” and could care less about the color of your skin. HE is your only chance at 2nd chances and many more thereafter. He doesn’t care what you say but what you do. He loves you no matter what. When you’re at your wit’s end HE IS THERE. You are loved.❣“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”-Hebrews 10:24