It’s been several years since Henry, my quiet, introverted husband told me “we”, meaning the McFarland’s, are the Loud family. This may have come from a conversation he was overhearing between my brother and me. Or it could have come from the many times Henry has tried to get in just a word only never to be heard over the Loud voices of my brother, his offspring who carry the gene or me. Our children seem to have missed this particular gene.
My sister and I don’t share the same father who passed on this gene to my brother and I. But it was her laughter today that mama kept hushing. It’s a 45 minute drive to mama’s residence so Lisa and I had time to share her latest observations of mama. We spoke to the director when we first arrived. Joan always makes time to stop and share with us her observations and gentle guidance.
We hadn’t been in mom’s room long when Lisa laughed at something and mama shushed her. Which caused her to laugh more followed by me and joined by mama. What better thing can three women share than their laughs at life. It’s as if we’re saying ‘You don’t scare me, life. We can laugh right along with you.’ And we’ll do it loud.
It occurs to me later we live loud. It’s not just our voices that rise to be heard over the nearest competitor. Its our life. Over 30 years mama has lived her life so loudly in this community that people continue asking about her. There is rarely a place we go someone doesn’t stop Lisa and ask about Pauline. She has been the Salvation Army in this town, living loudly her service to others.
There is nothing louder than this life of service that has been our inheritance. It’s not the words but actions of mercy and grace that have been heard above all from this servant. That’s the kind of loud I want to be. I have the volume part down. Henry knows that full well. But the actions of giving, selflessness, volunteering, loving……these are what I want to be heard from my life. I want those to drown out the cheap words I manage to utter.
I hear my nephew now, running through the hall of the house on the wood floors. It’s loud, his footfalls hard. But this is a Loud family. Meant to shout out life! Can you hear me?