small pieces of joy

pieces of joy in each day


on July 18, 2018

A place is more than its physical location. The way it makes you feel when you go there. The way it appeals to your senses. The way it taps in to memories and can bring them flooding back without your permission or preparation.


Going to Pommes de Terre lake for the summer was what my family did, sometimes with my dad’s parents, other times it was with more family or friends, but often it was just us. We went to the lake. And we camped. And we sweat. And we swam and fished and ate and napped and swam and fished and ate and napped. When I think of that place, those campsites on the lake, my heart warms and a smile is brought to my face.


Recently in counseling we were working on ‘grounding’ techniques. Ways to bring be back to reality when I need it. She asked me to picture a place of peace and serenity where I feel safe. I began to describe a campsite on the lake. Trees rustling in the breeze, sun peeking through the leaves and making them dance. Waves creating a symphony, with a percussive beat and crescendo. Smoke filling the air and I could taste the hotdogs roasting on the fire and even the one that fell into the fire smelled appetizing at that moment.


And then I felt an overwhelming presence. I started to cry and smile at the same time, a wave of bittersweet emotion crashing over me. I knew right then I was feeling Dad. He was there with me as I was recalling my favorite place.


Yes, I was only thinking of the physical place in this exercise, but I didn’t realize how much more was tied to it. That place is beautiful in itself, but what made it extraordinary was that is where I felt closest to my father. That place is where I felt peaceful, serene, and safe.


I’m reflecting on this right in the middle of my summer vacation at a lake. It is not the same lake we went to growing up, but there are so many things about it that have been triggering memories. Like the Army Corps of Engineer signs everywhere, which bring back our conversations about the dam and manmade lakes. Or watching my kids swim in the lake with their dad and I’m immediately swept back to me jumping off my dad’s legs or a large rock underwater. Or getting stuck in a storm under a marina boat dock and thinking back to the few storms we experienced while camping, riding out the storm in the bathhouse.


At times this week it has been difficult for me to be brought back to those memories, knowing I won’t get to share those with him the way I dreamed with my own kids. Of course I am grateful to have had such simple and precious moments with my dad. Sometimes missing him overshadows my logic.


I think I’ve just been surprised by how emotional being here is for me. I’m not even at the same lake, yet those memories transcend.


His presence transcends.


What a beautiful and comforting thought. Especially in my moments of sadness. To be reminded that I can still feel him. I can still remember him. And that I can share these memories with my kids and they can know him through what I experienced.


His legacy will continue. It’s up to me to figure out how to do it.


Please share with me in the comments a place that means more to you than its physical location. What makes it so special?IMG_6267.jpg

Photo taken on our drive down to Table Rock Lake in MO on Saturday.

One response to “lake

  1. Grandma Kennedy says:

    So happy that you have good memories of camping at the lake. I too, often think of those times with fond memories of happy times.


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