“Oh, but ain’t that America…”

Rattlesnake Bayou. I’ve written about it before. It’s where my folks live. Half swamp, half river, half highway. No rattlesnakes. Just fish and ducks and alligators and heron and fiddler crabs. Fiddler crabs on the lawn – always a good reason to wear shoes. But not this morning.

This morning I went out barefoot and fully pj’d. No time to change, the weather could heat up to excruciating levels very quickly.

The grass soaks my feet up to my ankles as I high-step it to the wooden swing near the water’s edge (keeping a careful eye out for those little crabs with one large claw).

And there it is. Rattlesnake Bayou.

The tall grass island across the bank is lit in the morning sun. Unseen animals’ tweets and croaks sound off to the morning and me. The white water lilies are blooming, and a turtle pops his nose up from the water for a quick bite of air. Tires bumping and thumping over concrete bridge sections adding a layer of background noises. What? Did you forget about the highway?

That’s okay. I think it’s there to remind anyone at the bayou that the rest of the world still exists. It exists mostly for truckers, it appears. But it exists.

My new husband and I drove down to Alabama for a few days to see family. It’s been a good trip, but I woke up sad on our last day here. There’s nothing like coming back to your childhood home. Nothing so good and nothing so … well, I’m not sure.

I’ve had father issues. I’ve had husband issues. Heck, I’ve had mother, sister, and brother issues. And though most of it has been worked out by time and God’s grace, there is something very unsettling about the past that haunts the present when you come back home.

I’m struck by the graciousness of my folks during our stay – of how important our comfort is to them. And how easily comments like “the bedroom is too stuffy” shoot out of my mouth. I want them to. I’m a grown-up, I tell myself. I’m strong enough to tell my parents what I really think.

Just because I can doesn’t mean I should.

Passivity was a weapon I wielded for decades. The harder and meaner someone pushed, the deeper my anger, immobility. Though outwardly yielding and accommodating, inwardly tossing another log on the fire of “I will never forget or forgive”. Passivity is an ugly disease. But thankfully not without cure. Thank you, Jesus.

And I don’t want the ugly flip side of passivity, either. Rudeness, aggression, grabbiness. I want to be gracious – it’s one of the traits I admire most in my husband. And it shocks me whenever I see it displayed by him or anybody. I want to shock myself every day.

Rattlesnake Bayou. So many phantoms to wave off. So many faceless, featherless noises from the marsh meeting real world highway traffic. Suddenly the song “Little Pink Houses” comes to mind.

It’s getting late. Better head back to the house and pack.

See you later, Rattlesnake Bayou! See you later, marsh grasses and water lilies! See you later turtles and heron and fiddler crabs. Time to join the trucks on the highway and head home. I miss my kids.

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