Hope is a Choice

Whoever you hold in the heart of youIMG_1970

Is forever and always a part of you.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Ps 116:15 NIV

Ten years ago … the world lost three wonderful young people, my son, my daughter, my future daughter-in-law … leaving a massive vacancy.

This morning, my still-on-the-planet daughter called to remember the day of loss … she told me how she and her husband had been at a cafe and were speaking to their three children about the remembering. And the sadness felt because the children never got to meet their auntie and uncle … My daughter was getting teary and her five year old asked “Why are you crying Mom?” She explained the loss, and my granddaughter(8) spoke up to say … “Oh we’ll meet them already.” “Really?” asks Zech (5) “when?” In heaven,” his sister explained confidently. “Oh,” he said, down cast, “That’s like in a hundred years.”

I can tell you Zecher, I feel that way too, sometimes. But, for me, having two treasures in heaven, makes the prospect of eternity, that much more tangible.

I know there are many others that carry the weight of sorrow, and loss … May you be blessed this day.

Hold on to Hope, it is a gift.

Hope is a choiceIMG_1969

Hope has given me my voice

to question to doubt, to scream to shout

Hope has been in the midst

as a spark, as a river

a cause to shiver

Hope behind, hope before

Hope surrounds as it opens and shuts the door

The taste of hope and I want more

More of the source, more of the truth,

more of the grace it has given

I want Hope on this earth

And a taste of Heaven.

The edges of God are tragedy. The depths of God are joy, beauty, resurrection, life. Resurrection answers crucifixion; life answers death.     Marjorie Hewitt Suchoki

IN remembrance of Brittany Jane Marie, Jordan David Isaac, Jamie K, all three shone like the stars of heaven … you are missed more than words can say.

 

Jocelyn is the author of: Who is Talking out of My Head – Grief as an Out of Body Experience  

 

Quack-grass like Apathy

DSC_0527After fourteen hours on the road, across two and a half provinces I arrived at the memorial garden dedicated to my son and daughter, in what has become my annual trek to plant the garden. It did not help that dark rain clouds hovered, and cold north winds blew, or that the harsh winter had killed off perennials of a half dozen years. Quack-grass had spread like apathy and despair, it crept in to take over where a lush garden thrived. As I stood shivering all I could feel was the extreme loss that had brought this garden into being. I felt like the lone still-grieving mother doing battle against the universe. In my tiredness, I saw the garden as unkempt, impossible to clean and full of weeds. And the beauty was hidden from my eyes.
I paused, and breathed a prayer. Surely the quack-grass should not dominate!
After the next morning’s rain and a good night’s sleep, I returned in the sunshine to discover, there was still much beauty here, the fountain was flowing, as was the offer from camp staff to help dig … spirits lifted.

Today the garden lesson for me was in persistence for beauty, that joys fought for are worth the battle, that passion for beauty nourishes the soul.
People have come alongside. Unearthing beauty and joy is my challenge and delight in the garden and in my day … so let me laugh in this moment, let me keep the weeds at bay … and let me use Round Up wherever I need to.
In preparation for this year’s garden trip, weather worn signs needed replacing and rewording.
What can you say as an epitaph for two vibrant young people?
In my search for words I came across this poem, and knew it was the one.

I Will Not Die an Unlived LifeDSC_0508
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
To allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
More accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

Dawna Markova

Photos are from previous years at the garden, evidence that beauty is present, and needs to be fertilized.

Serendipity

ser·en·dip·i·ty serənˈdipitē/ noun
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. “a fortunate stroke of serendipity”

One of spring’s sure signs is this one: IMG_4692
The beauty of garage sales … one person’s junk is another’s treasure.
This past Saturday of the long weekend I thought it would be fun to drive into the country for the five miles north of town sale … I breathe deep as a hawk soars overhead, the Rocky Mountains look hazy in the west. The sunshine most welcome after being hidden for days.

“If we can fold this lounge chair back in the bag, I’ll take it” … I can envision myself at Two Jack Lake, book in hand, feet up.
The owner shows me the collapse trick while he tells me that he and his wife are197712_400273336692344_62719513_n moving to BC. He sells a young man a hammer and crowbar for $3. Throw in a $2 camp pot for me and everyone’s got a great deal.

Back in town, neighbourly kibitzing happens as three houses make this a multi-family garage sale.
At door number three, a young lady re-aquaints with the house-owner.
Are you still at the school?” Turns out she had been the well known, long term school secretary-now would probably be called the office manager. (I am reminded of a slighter version of the iconic Ms Janzen from my high school era)
“Oh no, I retired about five years ago” I didn’t want to interrupt the conversation, but I was curious as to what I was looking at. Either a large dog bed, kids mat?

Oversized pillow shams, in a brown faux suede that had come with a bedspread she bought. Couldn’t haggle with a one dollar price, I could use them as a throw in my car for an impromptu sit along the river …
I took one, and the other bargain hunter snatched the remaining two.
Then she spotted the real treasure.
“Are you still painting?”
“Not so much.”
“I’ll take that, it’s beautiful. It’s like I have a Mrs Kelly original.”
“Oh, just hang it in your furnace room”
Mrs Kelly says.
“Oh NO” … she pauses … “You see my mom died recently and she always loved IMG_3029flowers, this painting makes me think of her.” The painting was a bouquet of hydrangea flowers, in shades of pink. Mrs Kelly gets teary eyed. I feel a part of this moment, and add “That’s so nice, in a sense it’s like the sympathy flowers … I think she should sign it.” By now I discover that it is Peggy and Kari, I am talking to. Kari felt so fortunate to have found Mrs Kelly and the painting. They have a hug, and I think I’d like a hug too … and they comply. What a beautiful moment. I tell them I will mention them in my blog … Kari wants to know what the blog is about, I say it is about grieving. After unloading at my car, I return to see if I could get a picture of the painting .. and Kari was gone … “Only for a moment and the moment’s gone.”
My vehicle is full enough and it’s time to head home…
Aah, the joy of serendipitous moments. I hope my eyes can stay open to them.

(Note the painting inserted is another serendipitous moment/story, the artist is Tyrell Clark)