My Blog List

Monday, February 25, 2013

True Grit

       There are alot of stories about true grit. Even a very famous one about a girl who seeks to atone her fathers death. Its been made into a movie a couple times already. Us ordinary folk bump into true grit all the time. Just ordinary people who use grit to make their way through life. Grit, says the dictionary is rough, hard pieces of sand. Or... stubborn courage or brave perserverance. And haven't we all had to have true grit a few times, atleast?
      I met up with true grit a little while ago. True grit is a little girl. She is three years old. She has white-blonde hair, the wispy kind, that won't stay tied neatly up. It has a habit of falling across her face, and she brushes it back with the back of her tiny hands. Her name is Phoebe.
     Phoebe is from the Greek language, another name of Artemus, goddess of the moon, and the Roman Diana, virgin goddess of the moon and the hunt. In old poetry, Phoebe meant the moon personified. I was there when this small Phoebe was born, on that hot, windy day in the high dessert country of eastern Washington. I knelt down and cut the cord. That lifeline that connected her to her mother. I saw her take her first breath. Perfect, tiny miracle of love and life.
    Later that night I was awakened by the the sound of panic, and I heard them rushing her off in the wee hours, in her Daddys yellow mustang. I lay there with her sisters. They are sleeping and I am asking God to let His perfect will be done. when dawn comes I get up to make coffee. her daddy comes home. I can see the weariness in his face. I can see the tear in the corner of his eye. He tells  me that she had stopped breathing. They had got her breathing started again, but were sending her up to a bigger neonatal hospital to care for her. They didn't know how much damage had been done. But he hugs me, and he says, "She is going to be alright." His voice holds faith and comfort. I believe him.
     The days and nights are a blur, as we try to live our everyday lives. But as we work and play and eat and sleep, we pray for Gods perfect will. We shed tears. We try to smile and gather up some grit.
And always, her daddy says. "She's going to be alright." I want to believe him, but some times, the news is not so good. We make the three hour trip up to see mommy and baby. The girls are too small to understand what's going on. They fret. They miss their mommy. We have to scrub up and take turns going in to see Phoebe, They have her in an induced coma, hoping things will heal up.
    Some of it seems like a bad dream. But I will never forget being in that sterile room, standing beside that tiny crib. Phoebe is hooked up to tubes and wires and machimes that hiss and beep. She sleeps without moving. Her daddy puts his huge, work hardened hands in to the crib. he places one strong stout finger in her palm. Her tiny little hand closes around it. He stays there so still, loving her, letting her love him while she sleeps. My heart melts. I feel it down to my toes. I am humble and small and I whisper "thank you".
     Now I go there to spend a week. She goes to Head Start. She is very proud to go on the bus every day, like her big sister. She runs to  show me her back pack. It looks big. She un zips it. Her hands don't work very well, but with true grit, and time, she gets it open. She pulls out her things... her tiny wrist braces, her pink foot and ankle braces. We admire them together, Phoebe and I, and put them carefully back. She struggles, but she gets the zipper shut.
     We play. I feel the incredible strength in her wrists. She has to use them alot! She asks no specialties. She does everything by her self. Getting dressed, going to the bathroom, brushing teeth, eating, holding a glass. They are all a challenge, but she is determined, and in time, she gets them all done. Out side shes clumsy, but she smiles. She pulls herself up when she falls. "I'm alright," she says every time. I smile through my teary eyes, because I see that her Daddy was right. She is okay.
   She climbs in the wagon and I pull her around the yard. She jumps on the tramp. She comes with us when we walk through brushy trails in the back yard. Her knees and her hands are dirty, from falling. Real grit doesn't hurt you when you have true grit! 
    I watch her playing with her best friend, Meredith. They are the same size. They have their backs to me. Their arms are around eachothers waists. Phoebe tries to quicken her steps, to keep up. She stumbles. Meredith holds her up. She slows down, so they can walk together. They laugh and keep on going. I think that  I have witnessed true grit, and true love."Could I have some of that, please God?" I ask.
   Let me quicken my steps, to keep up. Let me slow down and hold someone up. Let me walk together with my fellow man. Let me laugh,and keep on going. Give me some of that true grit. Let me get up when I fall. Let me say, "I'm okay." Let me dance with braces. Let me use my wrists if my hands won't do what needs to be done. Let my knees and my hands be dirty, from using them.
   When Phoebe hugs me good bye I feel her strength and her grit flowing in to my soul. Thank you , Lord, for Phoebe. We are okay!


  1. Oh Anne!!! You had me blubbering like a baby as I read this.....brought it all rushing back! What a Blessing Phoebe is....she makes me so proud to call her my niece! True Grit indeed....thank you for your amazing writing!


  2. Bawling mom. I wish I could know Phoebie, and glean some of her mamma's grit. God is good to us.

  3. So beautiful. Wow!

  4. LOVE this! Little Phoebes is so precious to us and I hope Meredith will always laugh and slow down so Phoebe can keep up. True love indeed!

  5. Phoebe's gift and Phoebe's grit. God gives us all little pieces of the miracle that make each life so beautiful.

  6. I think you have a real gift and I suspect True Grit also. Beautifully expressed.