Searching for the Silver Lining (again)

Some sayings just lend themselves well: “a stitch in time saves nine” and the like. But other sayings make me cringe on a very deep level such as “suck it up, buttercup”. I mean, I get it. Constant complaining and whining is annoying. But I hate the way that particular saying is bandied about rather freely, often without regard to the other person’s feelings. I loathe it. I try not to complain, I really do. This is a warning that I am about to vent a little bit. Please, stop here and read no further if you are experiencing more than enough stress of your own at the moment. I sincerely do not want to add to your burdens. Okay, if you choose to read on, you’ve been warned.

Before I get to that, another saying I love is “every cloud has a silver lining”. I believe that. Good things can come from the worst of circumstances. I am trying to find that silver lining in the most recent hit. So, if you follow this blog you know that this year has been filled with challenges for my husband and I. He has had diabetes (type 2) for about twenty years. It has led to a lot of health issues: heart failure and kidney failure among them. Last spring, he had to have emergency gall bladder surgery – surgery that required anesthesia and kept him in hospital for about three months. During that time his kidneys failed and he had to go on dialysis. In the weeks following his surgery his kidneys bounced back enough so that he no longer needed it. My how we rejoiced.

Unfortunately, his kidneys have worsened once again and we are now waiting for a spot in the dialysis unit to open up so he can receive this much needed help. I guess the silver lining is that dialysis exists to do the job his kidneys can no longer do. I am trying not to worry. I am praying that he can get back into the dialysis unit here in town – the alternative is having him do it in Edmonton which is a five-hour drive away. I am hoping his kidneys continue to function until that spot becomes available. It is scary. I am doing my best to have faith; to trust in the will of the Creator. Most of the time I can and do find strength in my faith, but I am feeling weak today. So, forgive me if I cannot “suck it up”. I am doing my level best not to get sucked into the black vortex of worry and despair. Hopefully I will have something more positive to share when next I visit WordPress. Right now, I am just sad and tired. I will bounce back. I will. And I will find more silver than cloud in this present challenge.

Christmas in a seaside village

Silver tinsel on the tree

Frost on the window panes

Out on the bay ice caps frozen

Floating snowflakes drifting lazily from the skies

And in the fields hopping madly

Jack rabbits go bouncing by

Moonlight sparkling on the snow

Smoke curls and lifts upon the breeze

Lifting gently up into the atmosphere

In the cabin, cozy and warm

Fire flickers in a pot-bellied stove

Wood stacked neatly along beside

To keep the fire glowing on the morrow

Sleeping babe in a crib does lay

Beside the bed where parents rest

Coats on hooks upon the wall

Ready for the trudge through snow

Kitty purrs contentedly

Upon a rag rug on the floor

And up top the tree so shiny

The silver star reminds us all

Of another babe within a manger

And the precious gift once given

Across the world many leagues away

Centuries past and still and all

Here in the vast countryside

Beside the sea, now still and calm

Poor folk and rich folk too

Celebrate the wondrous tale

Of Christmas

Christmas preparations

A Christmas past

It’s hard to believe it is the 1st of December already! I used to hear adults talk about how fast time flies when I was a child. I thought they were delusional. Not any more. Age really does make time seem to speed up, or perhaps we just have more to do and more to think about as we get older. At any rate, time has made its circuit of months once again and here we are merely weeks from the big day. At least, in most households in the western world, Christmas is a huge deal. Many people have already dragged out the decorations and trimmed the tree. Not me. I may get into that next weekend. I haven’t decided yet. I do love Christmas. People generally seem more inclined to think of others and become more compassionate at this time of year. Despite my aversion to black Friday commerce, and the unending advertising hocking every possible thing we can think of, Christmas is still sacred and special to me.

Christmas unleashes my creativity and I usually am busy with making home-made gifts or baking goodies to share with family and friends. But more than all the hoopla, I enjoy the spirituality of Christmas. The whole idea of sharing our blessings and being cognizant of the trials and tribulations of others strikes right at the heart of what Christmas can and should be resonates deeply with me. I find myself wandering often through past years and enjoying fond memories of years long gone, but which influence how I celebrate this joyful and spiritual time of year. I feel so splendidly and generously blessed in my home, in my family, in my country, and in the world at large. My heart is both full and lightened. I pray yours is as well. May your preparations bring you more joy than stress. May you have many people to bless and cheer you. And may the days leading up to Christmas day find you with peace in your heart and a smile upon your face.

The “L” Word

In less than a month Christmas will be upon us. For those of us who have close family ties and friends to share our days it can be a day of pure joy. For those who do not, well, it can be a time of great loneliness and pain. Christmas tends to have great focus on family, as it should, but often in our hurry and scurry we forget how hard this time of year can be on people who do not share in our blessings, for whatever reason. I am trying to be cognizant of this fact.

I have been immersed in reading a series of books called “The Angelic Letters”. The series includes seven books focusing on Christianity; on family; on morals and values; on the “L” word and what it means to each of us. It is a very insightful series written by Henry K. Ripplinger moving from the mid 1950s through to present days. Although at times I find it a bit preachy it is also inspiring and at times very hard to put down (hence my silence of late).

For many of us as the Christmas season approaches we turn again to that centuries old prayer of ‘peace on earth, goodwill to all’. Many of us turn with compassion to our fellow citizens who are suffering many burdens. It is easy to give up, to be overwhelmed by the great need we see all around us – both in our own communities and in the world at large. Yet, small efforts can bring huge rewards (even if we often do not see them). We never know what our small gifts may mean to someone who is carrying heavy loads. To love our neighbor doesn’t mean making grand gestures. Quite often, and, I would say 99.9% of the time it is the small gifts we bring: a smile; looking a person in the eye and recognizing their humanity; little things like a hot coffee on a cold day, perhaps. The thing is, we do not have to spend any money at all to bring Christmas cheer to another. The best gifts we can give come from our hearts, not our wallets. But, by all means, if we have the financial wherewithal to do so, we should do that as well.

Divine One, as we celebrate this sacred season, help us act with love and true humanity. Help us recognize the divinity that lays at the essence of each and every human heart. And let us not be afraid to utter the “L” word.

Your right arm

image by Pixabay

“I would give my right arm if . . .”

How often have I heard these words spoken?

But never carried through

The left arm, for most at least, less desirable as sacrifice

Word are cheap, when not adhered to

No, I did not need your sacrifice

But your integrity, honesty, and loyalty true

Yet, these I never had

Keep your right arm

Yes, please do

And flatter me not with your oaths untrue

My hero you failed to be

You, of feet of clay, as you proved to be

It’s fine, it’s fine

I will go on

And never miss

Your right arm

Or your lies

Masquerading as fine speech


Will you be revered

In my eyes

An example to follow: My brother, my friend

He was a very funny little guy and much smaller than his classmates, but his heart, oh my, his heart, that was bigger than words can describe with any sense of justice to a very kind and humane man he grew to be. Giving came second nature to him. Sharing was never something he struggled with, and that never, ever changed. He was brave. He was courageous. He was smart and caring and compassionate. Today marks the third-year anniversary of a terrible day for our family. The day that big, loving, generous heart stopped beating, forever. And the day that left a hole in each of our hearts that time does not heal and dates such as this reminds us of just what was lost on that highway. That highway. That day. When time stopped as we tried our best to wrestle with the shock and dismay; the pain and the sorrow.  That sorrow and pain that we continue to struggle with because it was all so very preventable and so surreal.

Surreal because he did not die of natural causes. Surreal because he was stolen. He died at the hands of an impaired driver. And so, it hurts more, somehow, knowing he had absolutely no control over his fate as he drove home that day.  I try very hard not to go there, not to imagine what he was feeling as he came upon that car hurtling toward him with no place to go to safely avoid the collision. But on this day … on this day it is nearly impossible to avoid thoughts of him. And thoughts of him invariably morph into the manner in which he died. To add salt to the wounds the impaired driver walked away with barely a scratch. A bump on his head and a sprained wrist the only evidence of his crime.

The impaired driver was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death and received a prison sentence. It doesn’t matter much because one day that impaired driver will walk free. Our brother walks free too, on the other side of the veil where we cannot see. All we can do is pray for strength and courage to carry on. And, perhaps with the grace of God, emulate to some degree the empathy, kindness, compassion, and love that were his hallmarks. Please, Divine One, let us follow his example.

On the Surface

On the surface

Maybe I am disheveled, unkempt

On the surface

Maybe I exude beauty, perfect face, perfect hair

On the surface

Maybe I appear haughty or cold

On the surface

Maybe I appear frightened or shy

On the surface

Maybe I appear approachable, welcoming

On the surface

Maybe I seem unfriendly and angry

On the surface

I may appear to be many things

But it’s all on the surface

You do not know me

You know not my joys or trials

My challenges, my pleasures

You do not know me

So, why?

Why do you judge me?

You think you know me

You do not

You know my surface

But not my tender underbelly

Or tender heart

That I protect

With angry scowls

To keep you away

It’s only surface living

That you see

You do not know me

Or the depth of my being

Or the depth of any human being

If all you see,

All you know,

Is on the surface