The People in My Life

I hate talking about myself. Who cares that 1I love coffee and 2hate brussels sprouts?

If a person is defined by the company he or she keeps, let me tell you about some of the people who are dear to me. That may tell you more about me than my blathering.

All her life, my mother saved newspaper clippings. When I cleaned out her desk, I found that she had saved clippings about me — from 3when I volunteered at a Red Cross bloodmobile as a teen, from 4that time USA Today featured my family in a little story about the Baseball Hall of Fame, from the interview 5when I was coaching the high school swim team and I didn’t say all the things I said. My mother wasn’t good at overtly expressing love or letting me know that she was proud of me, but those clippings said a lot.

My father asked me to be 6his health care proxy many years ago. Until we sat in that awful meeting with the doctor discussing end-of-life care for my mother, I didn’t realize what a heavy burden that was. To make those decisions is not for the faint of heart. Of late, I have realized that one of the things I have disliked about myself — 7that I am an INTJ — is the very thing that equips me for that task.

Thankfully, too, 8I have three surviving siblings (Donabeth, Peter, and Jim) that will stand, sit, and walk beside me when the time comes. I’m not alone.

9My oldest brother, Stewart, had a fatal heart attack in 2014. 10I hadn’t returned his final phone call to me a week before. I’ll have no regrets like that from here on out — I’m going to love and care for my family with every ounce of my being.

11My husband is my biggest supporter. I couldn’t do what I’m doing (12caring for my father) without him. Our time together these days is limited, but that makes it all the more sweet when we can get away together, like 13our trip to France last year and 14 to Laity Lodge this April.

15We have eight children (Philip, Owen, Sam, Helen, Jacob, Karl, Mary, and Laurel), three daughters-in-law (Amanda, Emily, and Donna), and two grandchildren (Henry and Everett). Getting everyone together is rare and so very sweet.

Zaengle gathering 1985

My husband is from a large family — thirteen children (joeybuddyjackiebillydonnytommyjimmyeddieanniemaryjanniejeanniekenny), although two are now deceased. When they all get together, with spouses and children and grandchildren, whew – what a crowd! 16I love large families. 17The introvert side of me, though, needs lots of recharging after family gatherings.

I’ve met some of my favorite people at an event called 18Hutchmoot. Those friendships have extended beyond the conference. Alyssa and I have kept up a correspondence for years that involves the baring of hearts and sharing of lives. Helena sent me her book when I asked her about it. Melanie sent me an out-of-print book for pretty much the same reason. I sent David chapstick when I heard he hated it. Libby talked to my daughter Mary about being a librarian. Leah traveled the world with me. Kim came to my son’s wedding in British Columbia. A group of us went to Laity Lodge together and hold each other in prayer regularly (including AE, Jade, two Kristens, two Lauras, and more).

19I love meeting people from other cultures, and some of my favorite people are Muslim. I’m looking at you, Maftuna, as well as Hanka, SabinaŠefika, Amina, and Ayla.

20I skipped out on my 40th high school reunion last summer. I couldn’t get past the thought of making small talk for hours. Thankfully, though, one of my friends, Dana, called that weekend and we went to breakfast together to catch up. Another friend, Brad, stopped by the house. Still others – Jack, Cheryl, Beth, Dan – keep up with me on Facebook. I see Mark almost every time I go to the grocery store. I ran into Hugh last week at a party. Who needs a reunion?

I wanted to introduce you to so many others — Anna Brown, who is a delight, that I met through blogging and then met in real life; Laura Brown, a fellow caregiver and a great teacher, whose superpower is encouragement; women from our church in Greene (Donna, Kay, Joy, and Tammy) who regularly check in to say they miss us and ask how we’re doing; Pastor Amy, who touched my life in ways I can’t express; friends like Jan and Mary whose families parallel my own — but this is already too long.

I think I blathered.

But I’ve listed more than 20 people and numbered 20 facts about me.


My challenge for June:

8 thoughts on “The People in My Life

  1. I adored this. Honestly. Not simply liked. Not even loved. I wholly and truly adored it and I feel really privileged getting to know 20 things about you through the people who really matter to you. I send you particular strength to cope with each day that you and your love are apart whilst you do what you need to do, what your Dad needs you to do. I know how it is. Living parted much of the time. My time parted has come to an end and I will never forget how hard it was. So I send you strength and fortitude for those moments when you feel you can’t. Just that.

      • Understanding is much more important than a mention. You have been a more wonderful friend to me than you know. Just because you get it. So there!

  2. Bravo! Fellow INTJ female here. I’m totally with you on the recharging train following social events. Very brave of you to share these personal challenges. Best of wishes to you on your journeys.

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