A Season of Sorrow

Spring melt

King Solomon who is described as have being the wisest man on earth tells us that “to everything there is a season, a time for everything under heaven.”

At the beginning of March my husband Tim and I had went away for the weekend to plan and regroup. The long range forecast was promising a ‘warmer’ month of March and we had hoped to jump into our work early after winter shutdown with fervor and renewed energy. Finishing off orders and being prepared for the spring rush.

As we were chatting on our drive home, I said to him that I felt a longing in my soul to STOP, stop striving, stop pushing, stop trying to do and be more. I felt a need to just be in the present, to do what needed to be done and to not worry about the ‘next’, the ‘more’, the ‘opinions’, the ‘drive for improvement’. I am not sure if this explains the sensation or not but I wanted to take the moment as it came and not rush through just move into my natural slow rhythm. Being content in just being.

Within minutes of getting home, I found out a friend that had helped me out of the kindness of her heart when I was in the season of small children, had died in her sleep. It felt like God had put an exclamation point onto my thoughts of slowing down. What is the point of rushing and striving towards; what death, transformation to heaven? God put many beautiful things in front of us to enjoy. How many have slipped by unnoticed because I was chasing something? Never making it over for that cup of coffee and a chat.

Still reeling from this shocking news, the kids told me that my friend had called and that I was to call her back. When we connected she gave me the news that a dear pastor and friend had passed on to heaven. My husband had known Pastor Claude from high-school when he was a truant officer and he was always a jovial fellow teasing my kids especially my son Fred who really loved him. He was someone one to counsel with in our early “growing years of marriage”. Never saw this coming. Sudden. Final.

I attended two funerals that week and my mind was set. Exclamation point boldly in place. Slow down, smell the roses. Be you, be “?” what, happy!?

Life went along, continued doing the daily grind. Working towards our goal of getting the mill running, the kids educated, was pleasant really, tucked away in my home with my family; existing.

On Sunday that pleasantness came to a screeching halt. Two phone messages, one from my mother, one from my aunt, hadn’t even listened to them and I knew that it could only be one thing. My grandma! My childhood friend and playmate, my spiritual giant, my gramm. Yes she had taken a turn for the worse, she was now “palliative”, was not expected to live much longer, so after two years of covid separation we could go in and see her. Honestly, anger and grief flooded my soul. My mind went taring and I knew I would be packing a bag and staying with her as long as she was on this earth. Life could wait.

I held my grandma’s hand. I read scriptures to her. I prayed with her. I had a cuppa (tea) and ‘told’ her the cookies were good and I was happy to be there having tea with her. The time drew near, I knew she was slipping away. I hoped that she heard me, I hoped I was a comfort to her, and I hoped that she knew how much I loved her. I hoped she would open her eyes even for a moment and see me and say “oh Candy your here, I love you” the way she would. I struggled in my mind with the lost time together, because of covid and the years of famine when just getting by was prioritized over time with grandma. Regret comes easy, but only when it is too late. She made it to heaven in time for supper 5:34 pm ‘a feast at a table in the presence of thine enemies’. I could almost hear my grandpa’s voice saying to her “what took you so long woman, been waiting for you, it’s about time we eat don’t ya think.”

After grandma passed on I spent a couple of days taking care of my oldest daughter at her house as she had taken ill. No matter how old or independent my children become when they are sick I need to care for them. I needed to be sure that she was going to recover and be okay. Funny how fear can grip you, even when you know that you know not to be afraid. She is healthy again and back to her life. I look forward to celebrating belatedly her birthday with her this weekend the Lord be willing.

What followed was two more weeks of shocking moments and forced quiet. As first Tim’s uncle passed away, then his aunt passed away in her sleep, and finally when life seemed to be starting to go back to normal and I was getting my feet back under me my uncle passed away.

We have had 6 deaths, 3 close, one extremely close and two friends in the month of March. As we were mourning we fought off a virus. And for myself it felt like I was treading water and tiring quickly. Praying for quiet peace away from pain.

We missed out on all of the celebrations of life of the the last four people, it has been surreal. There is a comfort to be found in these human rituals of life and death. A necessity of closer and an ending, a reminder of life being short. A renewal of the day at hand.

The beginning of the month of March, a month that is sometimes springlike, sometimes a miserable extra month of winter. My hope had been for spring, for new life, for flowers, the Son’s warmth warming deeply to my soul. Instead death’s winter grip seized me, shook me, shocked me, crushed me. Reminding me that we hustle and bustle, we plan and we fret, and it means nothing. There is a season for everything under heaven, and we do not have the control of the seasons, only God does. Striving comes to not, God blesses and God takes away, and we, we have this moment that we are in. But even as snow comes falling from the sky today and the atmosphere is dreary I will hold this day as long as it lasts to be forgotten on the morrow as memories fade more quickly as time goes flurrying by. Tomorrow not promised but if it manifests another day to delight in or mourn in until our tomorrows are eternal. Season after season till the end.

“Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.”

Back on track

Confusion, chaos, darkness, fear spiral around like monsters. They cry, “Look at me! Look at me!”

When the distraction doesn’t work, their claws grip into the chest, trying to steal the Life Breath.

Held down, distracted, lungs squeezed, body wracked with pain and disbelief. Hopelessness grabs towards the truth and light. It tries to snuff out glory with lies.

Set back, retreat, hide, curl up, wait to die.

Darkness cannot hide from light. The light pushes back the darkness through the night. It guards protects, provides needed rest. Light bides it’s time and sooths, caress.

He waited for the cry to come. To speak truth. Lift up. Tell me to carry on.

One foot He placed back on the path. Said rise child, trust, listen for My will.

Stand reborn on trembling legs, I will guard and wait for strength to gain.

Today just stand upon the path, absorb the light, the warmth, the mercy, the grace.

Just be still and wait.

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1 Kings 19

Seeking Solace

Last week was an unusually stress filled week. I was dealing with negative things I could not control. It was so negative, I actually went to the dentist just to relax!

I am usually a glass half full/overflowing type of person. I can distract myself with blessings and gratitude.

Last week I tried, I faked it, I reached for crutches, but really my insides just churned, and my body rebelled.

Saturday I was engaged with my daughter and her disc dog. That was fun. A bit of distraction.

Two 2nd place wins, happy girls

Sunday the family headed for “my happy place”, Algonquin Park. Usually I can sit and reflect, and feel the love of God through the beauty of creation wash over me.

This week surrounded by nature I struggled to find that peace. In fact I was grasped by such depression as I haven’t felt in a long time. Hopelessness in fact!

How can one feel so negative when witnessing such stunning scenes?

My journal didn’t help. Despair came over me. It held me in it’s claws!

I know in my heart, “be anxious for nothing, give it to God in prayer, with thanksgiving.” Sometimes it’s really difficult to do. Even when your faith is strong, your circumstances on this earth can be trying.

The moment that finally broke through my misery was when God gave me a fish. The fight, the surge of adrenaline, the success. Wasn’t a huge fish, but it was a fun fish. My smile in that moment became genuine.

Kickin’ bass!

For awhile it felt good to be alive. The trouble disappeared from my mind, and I found myself firmly planted in the moment.

As we packed up to come home, we all agreed what a great day it had been. No one knew of my struggle.

Exhaustion set in, it was hard to stay awake on the trip back. Something I try to do, to watch out for the eyes of animals along or on the road. The moon guided our path.

I fell into bed, crashed for the night.

I woke up thankful for a bass, that for a while, brought my heart and soul back to the present moment and gave a little burst of joy, a moment of solace.