Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fridays words prompt: Hold

I hold in my memory and in my heart many things.
One year ago in the early morning hours I received the kind of phone call no one wants to hear especially when you are sound asleep.
I listened to the voice on the other end of the phone line as I stirred myself to wake up.
My dad had passed away sitting in the quiet of the foster care home.
I remember how I curled in a ball in the bed as my husband held me.
I had just seen him a few days earlier in the hospital not feeling or breathing well with iv's and oxygen closely monitored.
When I left I didn't say good bye to him as he was resting and didn't want to disturb him.
Maybe I should have.
My counselor always said to me, should cannot be in a recovery 'dialogue' or thought process.
Should brings forward obligation, guilt, remorse, regret and shame.
"I should have said good bye and now the opportunity is over.
I will never be able to do that."
What does that sound like?
Shame or regret or sorrow or... you fill in the blank.
I didn't say good bye because he knew I was there and he knew I cared and he was uncomfortable and needed his rest.
Ever have the feeling when leaving someone that it might be the last time you see them?
Yeah me too.
If given the chance what would I say to him now?
I would sit next to his chair and hold his fragile hand in mine and then say:
"I know our relationship was not close.
I also know in my heart you understood me on some level.
We missed many years together and many important events that could have been shared and that was a great loss for both of us.
You were not there.
You didn't see me graduate from high school or walk me down the aisle at my wedding.
You were not there when your grand children were born.
You weren't there when I was sick for many, many years and needed a dad to talk to, to be encouraged by and to just have in my life.
I am not saying this to shame you or hurt your heart.
I am just saying on many levels I didn't know or experience my fathers love.
I think at one point in time you told me you loved me but I remained cautious and didn't let it in too close.
Now it is clear to me your past and the lack of knowing how to be in a relationship was deeply embedded in you.
It was not your fault. It was what you learned.
You can't give what you don't know.
I am sorry for both of us and I forgive you."
Then I would hug him and let him go home for he would be very tired.
I live with the knowing that I didn't say goodbye.
I hold in my heart the older years of his life.
We missed many years together but I hold onto the gift of some
and they will always be treasures to me.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Grief is a process

Grief is not a state but a process... like a walk in a winding valley with a new prospect at every bend. ~ C.S. Lewis ~
I have been thinking a lot about those who we have lost in the last few years.
Mom's and dad's and good friends too... adored pets have joined that journey of leaving us.
Grief is a process.
It is embedded in memory, in songs, in smells, in dreams.
It is when one makes a special meal 'you once shared' with another.
It is a conversation you knew to be special.
It is a blanket or a warm sweater that 'they wore' or their favorite book or hat or cane.
It is remembering a time when you all laughed or cried together.
We have lost a lot this year.
Like the leaves on the ground who are beginning to fall.
We remember... in pieces.
In fragments.
Disjointed and scattered, oh in time the pain lessens.
That doesn't mean you didn't love or miss them.
It just means our hearts are not raw any more.
I was thinking of my dad today.
He left us last September. 
Almost a year ago I was in the hospital with him along with other family members.
He was uncomfortable but able to say, "I want a doughnut." 
A diabetic can't have that but he knew how to manage the sugar and 
he loved a maple bar and my sister bought him some.
You don't deny something from someone who is dying.
My dad was kind of a mystery to me.
He didn't let others in too close but as he grew older and sicker that wall lowered 
and he shared some things with a few who were near to him.
They talked of matters of the heart issues and requests made to be honored.
I remember the first time he came to my house when I lived in the country it was strange to see my dad drive up the long driveway for a visit.
He wanted to spend time with us and I had to take that into my heart very slowly.
He brought with him his big dog and always his 'humor'.
It will always be a precious memory for me having dinner with my dad while we sat outside on the deck.
All we have now are memories. 
My husband and I have lost our parents.
His dad left last March, my dad in September of the same year.
My mom in June of this year and other friends too in the last few months.
My husband lost a brother and his mom passed from us four years ago a few days before Mothers day.
The hardest part of someone leaving is saying good bye and sometimes you don't get that chance.
It is a process... a journey.
Sometimes very expected and other times the news is shocking to our heart.
We say good bye in layers for we know grief is a process.
Because we know when you love from your heart
it is never easy to let go.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday word prompt: Ready

It brings about a sense of anticipation.
When someone says, "are you ready?"
Either we are going to go somewhere that is fun and exciting or
we are going to do something not so fun like the dentist or doctor.
The other choice is what my neighbor just did when she was ready for a new baby to be born.
Ready ... it sounds like an action word.
Dictionary.com says it is to be willing, completely prepared for immediate action.
Prompt with a state of readiness.
When someone says it to me I get anxious.
Like I am expected to 'do or say or perform or understand'.
It is anticipatory to action.
Are you ready?
It is a question of the heart on many levels.
It can be something very simple like, are you ready for school
or difficult like are you ready to understand and forgive.
It is alert, acute, sharp, prepared.
As in a race when the racers are bent low to gain speed when
the person calling out saying to them, "Ready, set, Go."
We have all seen this kind of excitement.
I think every morning when we rise for a new day
we should get in the habit of choosing to say to ourselves.
Are you ready?
Then begin with a clean slate and a new anticipation of what is ahead of us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The basket of words

I have yet to finish the series on the basket of words.
Fall will soon be here and there will be new stories of tradition and thoughts to share.
Words have meaning when we take the time to explore them.
The basket of words has been something that stirred within me.
The Lord was leading me into this direction then life brought a few distractions.
My mother passed away and also three friends of our family.
My thoughts have been a mixture of many things on many levels.
I will continue this journey.
The encouragement I have received from many of you has been a blessing and good for my spirit.
Thank-you for walking alongside this little blog and the one who writes it.
This journey has been long, and intimate and challenging and good.
Let us continue what we began.
The basket of words.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday's word ~ Whisper

Joining Friday's community.
Write for five minutes without editing.

I listen closely as the words were softly said to me.
It was a strain and a stretch my ears could not hear the hushed tones spoken from another.
Since I had the mumps a few years ago one of my ears does not hear as well as it is used to.
Often times words are missed.
Yet in this frustration the quiet and the hushed tones are a gift to me sometimes even without me knowing it.
Moving away from the loud voices surrounding our world the quiet is nice, refreshing...delightful at times.
It is very similar when one is walking outside among the rustling of the leaves in the wind or as I walk near the waves of the ocean on the sandy beach. 
They each have a whisper to them bringing life and hope.
I call it a voice of their own.
Hushed tones are often private.
Not meant for everyone to hear.
Whispers in secret even God did that to a few who followed closely.
Whisper ~ it is a gentle soft word.
Not loud. Not intrusive. Not invading one's space like loud noises.
Shh ~~ there was the horse whisperer, the dog whisperer, a baby whisperer.
Shall we include a 'Holy Spirit' whisperer to the quiet places in our heart?
I listen closely to the soft words spoken to me and I lean in to listen.
Then I know what was missed the first time and I tune my ears to what is needed to hear.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Clothe yourselves

"Therefore as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."
Colossians 3:12
A few years ago I was thinking about this verse and wrote a few thoughts about it.
The writer starts out with 'therefore'.
Most pastors say, whenever this word is written, it means, now listen, pay attention, this is very important.
So we are not to miss the fact that we are God's chosen people.
That is a wonderful promise and thought.
Not only did he choose us, he admonishes us to put on spiritual clothing so others can see Him through us.
Then the writer goes on to say,as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, you are to clothe yourselves.
For me that means we have a choice to present ourselves in a way for others to see, it is purposeful.
It is an action word such as putting on a sweater or zipping up a hoodie or throwing a blanket on yourself when you are feeling cold on the couch.
So what does this really mean for us?
It is about attributes that we represent and share.
Dictionary.com says: Attribute is quality or characteristic of something (something we believe in).
SO as we get up in the morning and get ready for our day.
We can ask ourselves.
Do I want to wear the red sweater and black pants,
or do I put on compassion.
Do I want to wear the denim shirt with the denim pants,
or do I put on kindness.
Do I want to wear the soft flannel shirt with flannel pants,
or do I put on humility.
Do I want to wear the frumpy pants with the frumpy shirt,
or do I put on gentleness.
Do I want to have a dress up day and wear something fancy,
or do I put on patience.
Just as we wrap the love of the Lord around us we also choose
to wrap around ourselves his attributes.
The characteristic and quality of who He is.
It is not often natural for us to be compassionate or kind, humble or gentle and it is not natural for us to be patient either.
It must be a choice for us.
Just as we get up in the morning and decide how we are going to look and dress for the day,
we also choose how we are going to present ourselves.
It is an heavy thought to know that what we choose is what others see and believe about us.
I think for today, it is 'something to think about.'

(this is a revision of one written in 2010)


Monday, September 1, 2014

Vandalism ~ A new thought

When you read this word, what image came into your mind?
Did you think of someone spray painting a wall or throwing a rock threw a window?
The real definition of vandalism is this:
willful destruction with malicious intent, to do harm or to destroy,
or willful or ignorant destruction of artistic or literary treasures.
I remember a few years ago our pastor was sharing on this topic.
It stirred me to think deeper. (imagine that)
The word vandalism brings up many negative thoughts and as I was thinking about those images it is true to say, we would never take a spray can and ruin some one else's property.
We would say it is not good or considerate and even breaks a law.
Now in saying that I challenge us to think about this word in a different way.
When we talk bad about someone or spread a rumor that might not be true against them.
When we choose to believe the untruths without knowing full facts.
We are committing vandalism of the heart towards one another.
Fragmenting and hurting the heart and treasure of another.
Our Pastor said it is like homicide of the heart creating damage and death to a relationship.
When we place judgement on each other we injure the spirit of the person and the content of their story.
The willful destruction is when we choose to spread the rumor or believe the untruth.
The malicious intent is when we choose to say unkind words against another and then begin to believe them.
This intention does harm to us and does harm to the one we are speaking about.
It is unkind and it is non relational and leads to death of a relationship.
In this journey we call life.
We must take responsibility and choose to be kind.
"And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:2
God has given each of us the ability to choose wisely and to have and use discernment when making that choice.
We must take action to be cautious and careful to not harm the heart of another.
When we grasp the pure holiness of another we will refrain from intention to hurt.
When we learn the value of others as God intended them to be valued.
There will be no room for vandalism and intentional pain.
The challenge for us to examine our motives and the intention of our hearts.
Are we choosing words that hurt or heal?
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, Oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14
(this is a revised reprint of a writing I did in 2010)
Let us use wise judgement and be encouraging towards each other.