Thursday, January 28, 2021

When Grief Sneaks Up

My daughter's neighbor died today. It was sudden and unexpected. He was a man in his early fifty's and left behind a wife and two children, a daughter of 14yrs. and a son of high school age. They are a nice family and my daughter feels the loss with them.

Although I didn't know this family I can't help but feel that aching bereavement for those left behind. I know the weight of loss and it never gets lighter. The irony is the person you lost is the very person you want to talk to about your grief.

Somehow, in those first few days grace carries us and we overcome the shock of it. We muddle through funeral arrangements and financial decisions and unknowingly gain an iota of strength. But in the aftermath true mourning begins.

We prepare ourselves for it to accompany us to anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. But when grief sneaks up on us and clings like plastic wrap it robs us of breath. The suffocating awareness and overwhelming stab of loss pierces our armor and we're left sobbing in the middle of a grocery isle, or other chance places. 

That little bit of perceived strength we acquired immediately turns to water and our first inclination is to hide the tears. We're embarrassed and vulnerable. Grief doesn't follow the rules. It doesn't come with an expiration date and it isn't kept out by a 'No Entry' sign.

It's been nearly nineteen years since my daughter passed away suddenly, and the grief still strangles me sometimes at the softest whisper. If we are going to survive the agony we must give ourselves permission to grieve. No matter -- public or private. No one, not even ourselves have the right to speak into our lives about processing grief. 

Sometimes in the midst of that crushing sadness a humble human comes along. We're shown compassion and kindness. Our spirit is once again lifted to a place where grace is free and strength doesn’t need to be earned. 

Other times we will walk the path of grief alone at our own pace. But we will come into our own peace, in our own time. And there is love and comfort in Jesus who is near to the brokenhearted and comforts those whose spirits are crushed. 


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Happy New Year!

This past Christmas 2020 was not a merry one. I can't say it was my most sorrowful, but it was less than sweet.  

Like many other families, the Covid virus interrupted our holiday gathering and essentially put an end to our traditional home for Christmas. And, I am still saddened and perplexed about an incident that took place a few days before.

But there were also some twinkles in our Noel. My youngest daughter and her family took us to see the Carnival of Lights at Jellystone Park. We returned home and reviewed the highlights of our outing. The ocean scene was a favorite with jumping dolphins and a waterfall all done in blue lights. But, the one that gave us the most laughs was when Jeremy accidentally lost sight of the road and nearly drove us into an empty field. 😂 Fun times!

Christmas Eve was the usual celebration at third daughter's house. This year being a bit different because we all brought our gifts there instead of "home". And in jest maintaining that the party was indeed due to second daughter's Christmas Eve birthday.

On Christmas day hubby and I still feasted on our time honored Christmas dinner. Later in the day we enjoyed more time with youngest daughter at her house playing games. She came up with a cute idea to wrap up some new games as well as some old favorites. Then, whichever one our granddaughter unwrapped, we would play one round of that game. It was an enjoyable time with lots of laughs.

But now, Christmas is behind me and the new year looms before me.

This New Year like so many before has come to mean a new beginning, a fresh challenge and especially hope. Hope, that feeling of expectation and desire for some achievement or aspiration; a light at the end of the dark and dreary tunnel. 

I too, am hopeful. I'm hopeful that the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine does it's job and the end of Covid-19 is near. And hopeful that my family, my husband and I continue to be blessed with good health. Hopeful that bitterness is put to rest and love conquers.

So, I go forward in this new year hoisting the banner of hope. I anticipate it flying above me. But not beyond my reach so that I can grasp it and wrap myself in it's warm embrace whenever I feel the intermittent heaviness of life or the raw temptation of despair.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Regarding Henry

"When you've had enough Mr. Turner you say 'when'.
I'm saying 'when' to something that was started to bring people together, to connect us to each other has sunk to a level of degradation. What started out as a friendly vein of filaments is becoming nothing more than an unfriendly, heartless hub to the desensitized society of the social network. How easy it has become to blatantly comment on a screen, that inanimate object, without heart or soul. How quickly we have become a network comprised of many who forget or chose to ignore that they are connected to their fellow man, a living, breathing human being.
It's sad days as I've tuned in to my social network page and seen things that are hurtful and insulting, things that are degrading, things that make me mad but also things that lower the dignity and offend my family and friends.  Certainly, I am not a perfect person, and I've never claimed to be one. But, just as certainly, I am not a mean person. It's not kind to say whatever you want and never take into account the other person's feelings. It doesn't make anyone bigger to make someone else smaller. It's bullying to beat someone down with a gavel of rude and malicious gaggle.

I love people and I have many colorful friends from all walks of life. They include left wing,  right wing, richer, poorer, gay, straight, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Muslims, and Jews. I have friends that straddle the fence. And that's okay because sometimes I'm on that fence with them and the view from there often takes in a farther reaching perspective. 

But I'm saying 'when' to the ceaseless political rants, the degrading memes, the ugly, malicious insults, and to those who have nailed someone to the cross for their own agenda or because someone holds a different point of view. Honestly, I don't know where they find the time. I am too busy muddling through the pain and adversity of my own life, and beating down the stress and uncertainty of tomorrow to waste my precious free moments on divesting the individuality of others.

I have no power over any one individual to sway or shame them into being kind and considerate of their fellow man. But I can be true to my God and myself. I can say 'when' to what is not love!  I can continue to follow Jesus Christ, to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind and to love my neighbor as myself.  

My life will continue to be open to those who desire my friendship. I will pursue love, kindness and equality for humanity. I will take care of what is mine and share as much as I can. I will be thankful for God's green earth and all that is in it. I will enjoy the talents and gifts He has given me and I will love!

Friday, June 1, 2012

No Reason to Jump for Joy

The passing of my Arabian horse, Shafi Halim is heartbreaking for me. He was a part of my life for over twenty years. Neither words nor pics can describe the amazing horse he was or the joy he brought to my life and the sorrow I now feel.

And God took a handful of South wind
and from it formed a horse, saying:
"I create thee, Oh Arabian.
To thy forelock, I bind Victory in battle.
On thy back, I set a rich spoil
And a Treasure in thy loins.
I establish thee
as one of the Glories of the Earth...
I give thee flight without wings."
~~Ancient Bedouin Legend

His is a power enhanced by pride, a courage heightened by challenge. His is a swiftness intensified by strength, a majesty magnified by grace. His is a timeless beauty touched with gentleness, a spirit that calls our hearts to dream.
~~Author Unknown

All horses deserve, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.
~~Author Unknown

Let a horse whisper in your ear and breathe on your heart. You will never regret it.
~~Author Unknown

To many the words love, hope and dreams are synonymous with horses.
~~Author Unknown

In the steady gaze of the horse shines a silent eloquence that speaks of love and loyalty, strength and courage. It is the window that reveals to us how willing is his spirit, how generous his heart.
~~Author Unknown

You took me to adventure and to love. We two have shared great joy and great sorrow. And now I stand at the gate of the paddock watching you run in an ecstasy of freedom, knowing you will return to stand quietly, loyally, beside me.
~~Pam Brown

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ending Turned Beginning

A lonely bow sits in a corner wishing for a brightly colored package to crown. Garland droops in sadness and ornaments hang their heads. Holiday cheer that warmed the house is now ember memories. Sons and daughters are kissed goodbye, released from a warm embrace to fly away. Such is the twilight of Christmas.

I await the dawn of a another year in an eclipse of a new beginning shadowed in an ending. Sadness ebbs and the familiar feeling of loss flows in quiet tears while the apex of hope peers over the edge seeking a bright future.

Wishing you all a bright and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Holiday Tinnitus

As is the norm in our century-plus old farmhouse a two hour project often takes up the whole day. Such was the case when hubby and I installed a new ceiling fan with light. We struggled and laughed, got frustrated, and stepped out of the clamor more than once to refocus.

At the end of the day the fan was finally connected to the power source and firmly mounted to its support. I flipped the 'On' switch and watched as the blades happily twirled on the base. An added bonus were lights that no longer flickered with every gyration of the whirligig. But the best part was the sound of silence. Instead of a rickety-racket rotation the only feedback was a serene hum. As I stood there admiring my handiwork my mind searched for the last time I tuned in to the sound of silence.

In this technical age we are surrounded by modern noise. Sirens and signals scream at us. Traffic jams in our head. Cell phones call us to attention. Larger than life flat screens blare across the room and music blooms from tiny buds in our ears. The sound of silence is deafened by noise. In addition to this daily commotion we will also soon suffer from what I call holiday tinnitus − the ringing of the busiest season of the year.

Holiday tinnitus causes silence to compete on two levels. Not only with our media mania but also with the very season that is meant to bring quiet moments of reflection, thanksgiving, and peace.

With the added cacophony of gobbling turkeys, Black Friday, and silver bells, we chance becoming dull to the din around us. We drown out the silence of a leaf dropped from the hands of a maple and become numb to the pure quiet of wax running down the side of a candle.

How do we arrange a silent bouquet in this arose such a clatter? Try snipping off those distractions that deafen the sound of silence; for example, the television, computer, and ipod. Disconnect from your routine. Step over to the other side of prayer and just listen. Grab a notebook and write what you hear. You might be surprised to find that in the absence of noise there is serene feedback.

When we consciously snip back the thorny distractions of our lives and step out of the clamor into the quiet presence of God. He is there waiting for us. When we stop long enough to experience the sound of silence He will speak. The voice we hear in the absence of noise will encourage, inspire, and heal us. We will find our-self connected to the power source that will support us even in the rickety-racket rotation of life and the ringing of holiday tinnitus.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just an Ordinary Morning

When my feet hit the floor my internal temperature guide immediately told me it was a crisp September morning. It was the first of the season. The leaves on the trees were still green, and the grass was still a faded funky color from the dry summer. In the east the early dark clouds formed a line of peaks that reminded me of the Rocky Mountain skyline I saw many years ago.

It was Labor Day weekend and while many were tying up the ends of their summer vacations, or enjoying the last of their cookouts I was intent on laboring to finish up summer projects and chores. Hubby had to work the car lot because their Labor Day sale was in full force. So, like many other daybreaks it was the usual routine. But even in routine every once in a while something comes along to make a mundane morning something more. 

That morning as usual my tiny canine fur ball signaled her need to use the Pomeranian potty so like every other dawn I scooped her up in the palm of my hand and set her gently on the front lawn. When I looked up I saw a bicyclist making his way down our country road. This was no ordinary cyclist, or rather he was an Ordinary cyclist. Yes, you read me write. I mean right. Now I'm confused. Was he ordinary or wasn't he? Okay enough play on words. 

That particular cyclist was riding an Ordinary and he was dressed the part. With short trunks and knee high stockings, old fashioned button shoes, and a vintage sweater it looked as though he had just pedaled his way out of an eighteen hundred something photograph. The image he evoked was a pleasant scene definitely out of the ordinary. 

I paused on my front porch taking in the impression of a time gone by. Perhaps it was an occasion when one might have enjoyed more of the simple pleasures, like the unfolding of a rosebud or the peaceful lull of a Mourning Dove's coo. A period when handlebars were mustaches and the only bustle was on the back of a woman's dress. It was a season of ballgowns and grand hotels. A tea-time lingering of friends. Possibly it was a time when we could ignore time. When we could forget for a little bit that we reside in a grown up world of schedules and routines. 

For a few moments I stood somewhere in time, wrapped in the simplicity of an era of afternoons in the park and the clip clop of horses hooves on cobblestones. In a wrinkle in time I let the cares of my day wheel away with a penny-farthing cyclist on a high wheeler, and I was thankful for just an Ordinary morning.
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