Happy 50th Birthday, Mama!

Hello, my Pretty Girl!

Wow…50…sounds strange, lol. I planned on visiting you prior to today, but it just didn’t happen. It’s darn cold out, and I know that’s not a good excuse but I carry you around in my heart. I truly don’t feel like I have to go out in the elements to see ya, you still pop into my dreams from time to time. Plus, my heart is warm and Houston just isn’t right now, lol.

I am learning so much, Mama. Nothing is the way I thought it would be and it’s much harder than I could ever imagine sometimes. School is rough. Working for more than half of my life has made me a bit jaded in some areas. I don’t feel like a full adult yet because I still need help from time to time, but I’ve improved on asking. Vows crashed and burned; and I don’t fully miss marriage or him. My health is still a little strange. I keep a greater control over personal matters and I no longer argue or influence heated conversations (unless I’m championing something, lol). And the acne has decided to move onto my body now. What gives, man, lol?!?

But Mama, my goodness, I see God in all of it. I feel His presence so deeply. I’m always a breath away from tears these days and it has nothing to do with being miserable or depressed. I am none of that. I’m simply overjoyed with all that God has allowed me to experience. It’s unshakable. 

Yesterday, I visited Rothko Chapel and had to quickly get out of the place to keep from crying. When you enter, there are spiritual books for every religion along the bench in the foyer. The moment you enter the fullness of the chapel, you can literally feel the profoundness of peace. I was overwhelmed. Mouth wide, I groped for a seat and sat alone on a bench amongst other visitors. I could hear nothingness. It doesn’t exist enough in day to day living. I looked up at the fullness of the canvasses on the wall, at people in prayer, at people sitting and waiting for something to happen, at the symbolism of how small we are in the vastness of His grace and my head became light. The Holy Spirit, my Lord, His divinity is in that space. I felt like what I imagined the early people felt like when approaching the Holy of Holies. I just couldn’t close my mouth. I felt like I needed to lay on the floor. I felt like…maybe…how you felt when Jesus welcomed you home?

It was powerful. I was invigorated when I left but I could barely convey the experience without tearing up. Mama, I’m like this on a daily basis now. DAILY. His grace blows my mind!!! You know I love food, and it’s been a difficult thing to physically navigate these past few months, but Mama I teared up over a steamed sweet potato just the other day, lol! It’s incredible!! I mean, it was the actions that brought on the sweet potato exchange, but still…choked back tears of deep appreciation with every bite.

All the things that I see, that I get to say, eat, touch, do…you’ve watched with our Father and I know you’re proud. I speak 3 languages now, albeit 1 fluently. And I intend on getting an insane amount of stamps in my passport. I still don’t foresee children, but if that happens…even if it’s a grand-dog…they’ll know about you. I have so much more to see, Lord willing.

I would’ve wanted to experience Napa with you, truly. It would’ve been an awesome birthday gift! I’m holding out on visiting, I don’t think the people there would understand my actions. So, a glass to you, Thing 1, from Thing 2. I miss you more the older I get. Time draws nearer for our reunion everyday. I’m not rushing it at all, though—you have a front row seat to how your legacy is impacting my life.

Love ya…miss ya…talk with you later.

~Ashley

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