There Must Be Magic

By GirlWithACamera

But the Greatest of These . . . Is Love

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13.

Sometime last summer, I picked up a bag of pretty, colorful alphabet beads on clearance. I should have known better, really, for it was the start of a new addiction, er, I mean, hobby.

I began using the beads to make words, and then bracelets, some of which I gave to the ones I love. When I made the trek to give my big sister Marilyn one in early December, I told her to wear it always, and KNOW when she looks at it that she is so well loved, and thought of, and prayed for, often; in fact, without ceasing.

Of course, I quickly ran out of certain letters in that set, namely vowels. So I had to buy more. And buy more, I did. I ordered some that were supposed to glow in the dark. And they do, sort of, but only gently. And the colors on the new ones when they arrived were far less bright and fun than the originals.

I started out by putting hearts between my words on the bracelets. It just seemed to make sense. Then I started running out of hearts. So I bought MORE beads, a whole set with little hearts this time. I also found (on Amazon) and bought a set of colorful letter beads that were exactly like the first ones I bought, and loved. Guess what: I've made even more words out of those. Now I would sell my kingdom for an E!!!! I'm about to write the company and ask - come on, Alex, can't you just SELL ME A COUPLE OF VOWELS HERE?

I discovered that beads come in all sizes. The HOLES in them come in all sizes. The elastic string that you use to make the bracelets out of, well, there are different kinds of THAT. The first kind I bought, I couldn't even tie, it was some weird plastic-like string. It wouldn't knot! Then I got the better stuff, in both black and white. So now things are humming along. 

I also learned some things: did you know the average adult female wrist is 6 to 7 inches, and the average adult male wrist is 6.5 to 7.2 inches? So if you cut a string that is about 10 inches long, that'll give you plenty of length, plus a bit of extra to tie it off; you can also trim it a bit when you're done. Each one has around 20 or so beads, total; some, a few more.

I also found that corralling all of those little beads can be its own challenge, and I got tired of picking them up off the floor. So I bought a half-dozen colorful trays at the Dollar Tree in Altoona that day that my mother-in-law got her car towed. When I'm working on a project, I just put the beads in one of those. I can even sort of stack the trays, with the beads still in there. It saves time. (In the scene above, the top tray has hearts; the tray immediately beneath has the colorful alphabet beads.)

I recently came up with a concept of making friendship bracelets that display favorite quotes, song lyrics, and yes (above), even Bible verses that I have always loved. I want to remind myself of what I believe in; of what inspires me; of words that lift me up.

I grapple each and every day with the losses of the past several years, including, in September, both parents within less than 8 hours' time. I try to make my peace with it all. I hear my father's voice in my head, and yes, we TALKED about the death of loved ones. I can hear his voice saying, on the day that we buried my big sister Barb; and again, on the day that we buried Aunt Mae, who was the "Barb" of his family: "These are things we must learn to accept."

Well, Dad. I'm trying. I'm trying to remember everything you and Mom taught us. I am trying to be brave. I am trying to be good. I am trying to follow your example. I am trying to accept it all, to make my peace, to keep moving forward, even when I look back and find that some of those I loved best are no longer walking along beside me. Some days it is HARD. I wake up startled: Where did they all go?

I watched a Johnny Cash tribute on TV shortly after his passing, in fall 2003. Johnny Cash was a favorite of both my parents, and they saw him live in concert (courtesy of big sister Barb) for their 25th wedding anniversary. I remember the speech his daughter Rosanne made, and you can watch that here, and hear her sing one of her father's songs.

Rosanne said that your parents will still keep teaching you lessons long after their passing. In speaking specifically about her father, she said, "He keeps pointing us in the direction of our best selves." She quoted her dad as saying, "Children, you can choose love or hate. I choose love."

Yes, these are all things we must learn to accept. 
And yes, I also choose love.

My soundtrack song is a favorite, and I know I've used it before. But I just love it and I enjoy watching those guys pal around in the first minute or so, making fun of each other. When Sting does his raspy Bryan Adams impression, I giggle. Anyway, it's all good. And here are Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart, and Sting, with All for Love.

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