Throughout our lives, we take countless steps! Some of them lead us into beautiful situations while other steps carry us through tragedy! I think though that they are all sweet steps because they are the steps that create the pathways we follow through our own memories.
I started thinking about my own sweet steps recently, and what follows are descriptions of some of those sweet steps.
The first steps I remember having an impact on my life were at a church when I was a little girl.....I was the flower girl in a wedding......my moms wedding to her second husband Jimmy! Those steps ushered in many changes in my life and brought me two younger sisters, Mandy and Cindy (whom I adore). They were just the beginning of the steps that carried me through the years that molded and shaped my personality into what it is today............shy, curious, funny, imaginative, friendly, warm, scared........I could go on, but those of you who know me well will understand the impact those years had on my life and the reasons I am so different than all of my sisters.
Then in March of 1982, I took some steps that would change the lives of everyone in my family........I ran away from home! Without going into too many details, I will say that I lived in an abusive and terribly unhappy environment! Then on one cold, late winter night, I believed my only chance to stay alive and have any sort of life would be for me to run away! My feet carried me several miles that night and endured a lot to secure my freedom. They stood in a fire ant bed behind a tree while I hid from passing cars; they carried me as I was chased and bitten on the ankle by a dog; they stood terrified as I broke into a church bus to try to escape the cold and get some rest; and finally my feet carried me to a friends door where I worked up the courage around 3am to ring the doorbell. My friend's parents (a doctor and nurse who both worked with my mom) took me in and let me sleep in a warm beautiful bed; then woke me to what I'm sure was the best breakfast I had ever had (because it wasn't shrouded in fear of what the day would bring)! Then her parents shattered me by telling me they had to take me back home! And they did! Those steps back into my house were some of the scariest and most shaky steps I've ever taken even to this day!
The next steps having a huge impact on my life came a week after I ran away from home. They were steps I took one day at Oak Forest Elementary here in Jackson, Ms. I was in the library looking at all the wonderful books to choose from during the book fair when the principal called over the intercom for me to come to the office. I had no way of knowing at that moment and at the young age of 10 how drastically those steps to the office were going to change my life!!! You see, waiting in the office to talk to me were two social workers who had a bunch of questions about my home life and why I had run away. And as God had planned for me, those steps to the office that day are the steps that later that night would lead to my moms car and a long ride to Louisiana where I went to live with my dad. It was a terrifying experience because I didn't know him or my older sister Kimberly; and he now had another wife and two small children......my beautiful youngest sisters Kristen and Nicole!
Well, those were some of the foundational sweet steps in my early life. There have been so many more steps, like the ones from my first slow dance with Mike; my first time sneaking out and my first time skipping school.......well, I was a teenager!! Then we move on to the steps that led me to the podium to accept my diploma; my first steps out on my own at college, and my first job at Dairy Queen! I have taken steps down the isle at church to say a final farewell to my grandparents and have taken steps into my first apartment by myself in Springdale, AR. Then there are the steps I took out of my job at the bank in Little Rock that led me to move back home to DeRidder, LA in Jan 1995 where I would end up meeting my future husband, Clint!
So now we're up to some of the sweetest steps in my life..... My steps down the isle to marry my best friend in June 1996. It was a Saturday afternoon and there he was waiting amidst a small group of our closest friends and family who made up our wedding party. My Uncle David would be the one to marry us on that rainy afternoon. We then took steps out on our own as husband and wife. That's right, "my" sweet steps had turned into "our" sweet steps! I would definately say that the sweetest of steps are those you share with someone special!
Together Clint and I stepped into a hospital in Lake Charles, LA in May 1998 and welcomed our first son Blake into the world! We stepped into the hospital as a married couple and took some of the sweetest steps ever out of that hospital as a family! This is when your path of memories multiplies, because now the sweet steps of your family become your own sweet steps! As Blake stood on his own shaky legs and took his first steps, they became my own! Then we did it again! Clint and I stepped into a hospital in Flowood, MS on Jan 2, 2000 and welcomed our second son Kyle into our family! Yep, you guessed it; my path of memories just multiplied again by the sweet steps of Kyle! The next years were filled with multitudes of gloriously sweet steps, too numerous to mention.
Then in August 2007 I stepped into my surgeons office and heard the words, you have cancer! The next steps in my life would be both difficult and rewarding. Rewarding because I kept taking steps forward and was carried through the most difficult times on the sweet steps of my family!
It would not be too long before I would be taking more difficult steps and counting on my family to carry me again with theirs! It was Labor Day weekend 2010 and me, Clint, Blake and Kyle would share our last steps together out at Rocky Springs on the Natchez Trace. Just 2 1/2 days later, Clint would pass away in his sleep and take his first sweet steps in Heaven! But where did that leave us? Well, we took sweet steps into the funeral home to tell him goodbye and then as a gathering of close friends and family, we would take sweet steps together to the Cemetary to lay him to rest next to his grandfather Homer, his grandmother Carrie and his great grandmother Verla.
My steps since that terrible week have carried me on an emotional journey. I have found joy in watching my family experience their own sweet steps! I have been watching as all 4 of my younger sisters are raising toddlers and having all the fun that goes with it. I have revelled in their joy as their families are beginning to experience that widening of life's path and the multiplying steps that make life's journey so rewarding!
I started thinking to myself about which of the many sweet steps of my life would I list as the sweetest steps of all! And the steps that came immediately to my mind would probably surprise most! The sweetest of all my steps so far are from two life events! The first event being my most tragic. The steps I took into the funeral home on the day of Clint's funeral, to place a letter I had written him and pictures of the boys in his shirt pocket; and having my final moments alone with him to say goodbye are definately at the top of the sweetest steps I've taken. The other life event came from one of the most joyful moments! It was my nephew Cooper's first steps in October 2011! At only 18 months old, Cooper had already been through more than most people go through in an entire life! He had endured multiple surgeries and lengthy stays in the hospital........he had just endured a liver transplant in August after becoming severely ill as his own diseased liver began to rapidly and violently shutdown. And then on that sweet sweet day in October, after Kristen and Josh had made the very sweet steps of bringing Cooper home from Texas Chrildren's Hospital, Kristen sent me a video of my hero Cooper "ROCKY" (that was Clint's nickname for him because he said Cooper was a fighter) taking his first steps! It was a moment of laughter and tears! It was the sweetest steps of my life! Yes, they were my steps too because Cooper is part of my family; part of my widened path of beautiful memories! He is at the top of my list of sweetest steps!
I hope each and everyone who reads this will realize the beauty that happens with each of the steps in their life. Whether the steps are from those joyous moments or from the tragic moments, they are all sweet steps! They are the sweet steps that make our lives! Enjoy them all!