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April 19, 2013

Yesterday I dusted.  I don’t like dusting–it only stirs up what will settle again. I’m just moving dirt around, rearranging it. And when I dust I must move what-knots, junk, papers, toys, more junk… and pictures.  More rearranging.

But the pictures. They raise the dust on the shelves of my recollection. That dust has been moved a lot. I’ve rearranged memories for many years now—the wedding of two innocently naïve people, little boys covered in mud, bigger boys on expensive bicycles they helped purchase, our last Christmas together as a family of four. Then, I lift those of an infant from China in my arms, another of her tiny hands holding her daddy’s face and kissing him with her beautifully heart-shaped mouth, an older version of that same girl, now seven, smiling and all snaggle-toothed.

It’s the dusty memories of my sons that I cannot, will never, let settle. I do not want that dust to leave me. It is the dust that chokes my lungs and coughs out tears. Joyful tears of priceless days long ago; mournful tears of two lives cut short. And hopeful tears of a child, that little girl, who continues to bring us joy and laughter and wonder. Yet fear. The dust of my daughter is still being shed; it is very airborne. I also do not want that dust to settle.

Wes and Andy may have never dusted if they had lived to have wedding photographs and pictures of their own families on tables and shelves in their homes. But their wives would have. Or someone.  And those memories would have become dusty for them as well. But that dust doesn’t exist…that dust never happened.

The memories that our daughter, Hope, is creating are like gold dust. And even more valuable than that. They make me appreciate what priceless treasures our children are, even when they stir up real dust!

Maybe dusting isn’t so bad. As long as my dust chokes my lungs and coughs out tears, it will not leave me. Let the dust settle where it may. I will dust again.