Family stories are amazing to me. You hear of family members long ago and through the retelling of their lives you can get an idea of who they were. And by hearing about who they were, you can find timeless wisdom that can apply to your own life now. My great grandma was one of those people.
She never said much but through what you heard and what you felt you knew she had lived life and learned from her experiences. I'll never forget the story my mom told me about Great Grandma. Great Grandma cooked for a crew of 24 farmhands so most of her days were taken up cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a bunch of loud, rowdy, complaining men coming in from hunting or farming, depending on the day. She took care of five children as well so her house was a busy little place, but where you would find Grandma Etta the most would be in front of her stove, likely stirring a pot of something.
The kids would run in and she'd give them a hug and some kind of chore to take care of and then she'd go back to stirring. The men would come in and clean up all the biscuits and bacon and then she'd start on the next meal, once again standing and stirring at the stove. They'd tell her how wonderful her food was and then lay all their troubles at her feet as she listened and stirred.
One time, one of the farmhands broke his hand while bending a fence. He finished the fence and then came in to get fixed up. She stepped away from her stirring and cleaned up his hand while Grandpa got the doctor on the phone. Once all was taken care of she went back to stirring. The funny thing was, with as much stirring as Grandma did life seemed to just come to her. She'd make a remark about how wonderful the fabric was in town and how she'd like to make Ruth a dress out of it. That was all she would say and then she'd go back to stirring and somehow, some way, that fabric would appear from a neighbor or maybe the money would just happen to come along right at the right time. It got to where if you wanted something and you convinced Grandma it was worth having then it would somehow magically appear, even through all the hardships they endured.
One time Ruth watched as the farmhands ate quickly and went back out to work, hearing all of them complaining about their lives. Then one by one each of her children came in to tell Grandma their own woes. She would smile, give them some kind of advice, and keep stirring. Ruth watched sitting at the table and when everyone left she said, "Mother. How can you just sit there and stir? 'Ve had enough and you can not take anything? Do something … Stop stirring! " Grandma looked up at Ruth and smoked … and kept stirring.
"Ruthie do not you know that the stirring is very important? You see, when I'm stirring I'm putting all my thoughts and dreams into that pot. I think about what I want life to be. His broken hand I wished for him to be well and put my thought in my pot and stirred. As everyone comes in and tells me about their life I put the love and positive thoughts into my pot and stir. Have been given a pot full of hope. How do you think everything that comes to us, comes to us? I put all my gratitude for my life into this pot and I stir. If we have any kind of problems and I envision a solution and My stirring is what keeps me focused on what is good in the world. As long as I stir I know it will all be taken care of. So instead of worrying about all that is around me I keep Stirring knowing that all is well. "
Ruth did not say a word. She just watched Grandma keep stirring with a focused stare and a slight hint of a smile. Grandma was working her magic into her life through stirring. So next time your outer world seems to be too much to bear, or you have a problem that you want solved, do what Grandma said. "Keep stirring. Just keep stirring and envisioning what you want. You'll make a pot of hope and dreams that will come true for you as long as you just keep stirring while you wait for it to be done. Taken care of. Just keep stirring. "