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Archive for the ‘Family stories’ Category

Tears reside in the corners of my eyes, dripping down my cheeks ever so often. I don’t have to be watching news on TV, or looking at photos on the Internet of innocents, just barely beginning their own big lives. I don’t have to hear “semi-automatic” one more time. I don’t want to see terrorized parents outside a school building, waiting news of their child’s safety — or not.

Tears and a flu-absent stomach that broils and turns and is connected to a head that throbs, knowing the story has shattered…for all of us. Sending children to school today in America, a new residing consciousness of vulnerability…one we don’t want, need, or ask for.

Is there any comfort in starkness? I do not know.

There needs to be a new story…for us. How long will it be before that story comes into being? None of us know. No one can say anymore, “I never thought that would happen here.” That story is gone forever. No one can remain personally unaffected by the large mass of grief being experienced by the loss of our young children. No one can live and believe as they once did…it seems…so long ago now.

I stop my own words and share some words from Jean Houston, from a writing course I took a few years ago. About Re-Storying your Story.  Humanity is at a place in time where, being a writer or not, it must learn how to do this.

 

From Jean Houston: Finding Strength When the Story Shatters

“There are circumstances that must shatter you;
and if you are not shattered, then you have not
understood your circumstances.
In such circumstances, it is a failure
for your heart not to break.
And it is pointless to put up a fight,
For a fight will blind you to the opportunity
that has been presented by your misfortune.
Do you wish to persevere pridefully in the old life?
Of course you do: the old life was a good life.
But it is no longer available to you.
It has been carried away, irreversibly.
So there is only one thing to be done.
Transformation must be met with transformation.
Where there was the old life, let there be the new life.
Do not persevere. Dignify the shock. Sink, so as to rise.”

Written by Leon Weiseltier, Kaddish, page 226.

From Napkinwriter

Sometimes life hits us so hard, so unexpectedly, that we drop the ball and story shatters. I stood by close family friends, who in one shattering moment on a dark night on a Georgia Interstate, one woman’s life was snuffed out, who was daughter, and mother and wife, cousin  in a family that lost all those relationships and love in one indefendable freak accident in the middle of the highway, returning from family vacation. Lives shattered, dreams dashed.

A life-defining moment where, existing with the shattering, having to create a new story including what just happened to one family.

Shattering events are all around us and we are not exempt from them happening in our own life. It interrupts the everyday story is what Jean Houston writes.

Yes our personal and worldly story is in a state of INTERRUPTION.

Our shattered story needs rearranging.

Do we start with….”Once upon a time…”

God bless all the families and school personnel, who have been shattered by this latest vicious attack on our school children.

And God help us all. Please.

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I believe it was the Dali Lama who said that kindness was his religion. On Sunday, the dismissal hymn was “And they’ll know we are Christian by our love, by our love. And they will know we are Christian by our love.”

Will they? It is up to our and how we choose to share ourselves in the world, a world so much in need of kindness.  Mother Teresa said, “Christ has no hands but ours.” I look to see what my hands are doing.

Pema Chodron is a favorite author and spiritual influence upon this Christian. Her Zen Buddhist way of life and teaching indeed teach me much. I particularly like her book, “When Things Fall Apart.” The title was a shoo-in for me when I ordered it off Amazon.com.  Things were pretty much falling apart for me at that time. I found it and my Christian prayers both to be way-showers for me.

“Be kinder to YOURSELF.  How frequently I need that reminder. For kindness cannot flood into my world when I an unkind toward myself.

“Her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.” That continues to be a guiding scripture for me. I am That I am.

 

 

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The birth of our grandson, Andrew was an event no less than the creation of the stars, recounted in the Bible.

 

In fact, I gave him his birth scripture that told us about the creation of the stars, and how God made man and woman no less than the stars and gave us dominion over all creation.

 

Andrew embodies that dominion within him as I watch him grow into full manhood, now a first year college student. This dominion he carries in his wide smile, his gentle ways, and his passion for perfection and musical magic with discipline.

Andrew has studied voice, percussion, piano and leadership with this talent and he, I am sure, will have stars named after him in his life of love and service to humanity.

Dominion comes with responsibility. He carries that responsibility well. I will listen to his drum beat.

 

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Tom and I received an invitation in the mail today. We will be marking the date for a visit to Christ the King School for Grandparents’ Day on Monday, April 30, 2018 to be with Amy, age 10, in the fourth grade. Well, it was not actually THE invitation. It will follow. It is a SAVE THE DATE heads up.

From firm roots, grow beautiful leaves…

Indeed!  It is winter here in Kentucky, with a cold spell and snow on the ground, but I know we are blessed with firm roots, even though we planted those roots several times in different orchards.

Our first beautiful leaves…

These two awesome leaves gave us our grandchildren leaves.

Devon…first born granddaughter

what a new world opened to us.

 

 

Her brother, Andrew, now a first year Central Michigan University Marching Chippewa in the percussion section…I always knew he would play the drums; this year he clanged the symbols mightily in one of the best college fight songs there is.

 

Their love and talent in music stems from their passionate mother… a CMU marching band alumni, Tekonsha school music director 5th grade through high school, and community theater music director for children and adult performers, and Misdirection Jazz Band founder who books gigs and outings in her area. She has NYC in her sights…

 

Andrew

Lucy and Andrew

 

Cousins

 

So many leaves filling out our tree…such solid roots of love…

And then comes dynamo, Amy Frances Mitchell, who is taking her mother’s energy to a new level…

Amy’s leaf blows cheerfully in the wind as a sports enthusiast, a gifted and joyful pianist, a Minecraft  exquisite designer, a math wizard, and fashionista, just to name a few.

Amy is always watching out for grandma and dziadzia, telling us she is S T R O N G. Here she is helping us replant our roots in our second apartment in Lexington in one year’s time.  I feel our roots deepening here for a strong hold over a long, long time, now feeling another orchard is on the horizon for awhile.

 

Pumpkin girl

Christmas surprise

 

Clownfish

She likes horses and is taking riding lessons. So I gave her a copy of BLACK BEAUTY for Christmas, one of my very favorite books which I was a young girl, oh so very long ago.

A kalaidscope now, all the years running together…our arms threading into the  leaves like branches, not getting to hold them as often. Devon, a college graduate and married to Tyler, a new grandson leaf on our tree, making their way into an “out-of-school” world, and holding promise of future young leaves we will get to share our love with. Andrew, totally engaged in the college scene, with a musical beat and a friendly social presence that promises so much fun. And close-by Amy, who brings light and young energy to her grandparents that feed their souls.

Scrabble

A beautiful Christmas gift made by Devon.

 

Grandparents day 2017

Last Year’s Grandparents’ Day

 

Beautiful leaves from a grateful tree.

 

 

 

 

 

Bride Devon

 

On the Journey

Thank you, God.  We are loving the journey.

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The symbol of the turtle. Turtles take their homes with them wherever they go. Turtles remind us to remember our roots while still welcoming new places and phases in life.

Turtles remind us to appreciate our simple, true necessities; shelter, food, drink and most importantly,  faith.

 

The turtle’s slow gait requires the animal to have faith that it will eventually get where it is going and that its needs will be satisfied along the way.

I have been doing some process art study with Cat Caracelo over the past year, including Quest Journeying with image and art mediums and turtle has come over and over again to me.

Turtle once visited our labyrinth in our backyard, a very large land turtle.

Turtles are on my mind.

 

I wonder how the turtles fared during Hurricane Irma.

 

One of the most beautiful beaches in the world was hit hard by hurricane force. This is a beach we have had the pleasure of being on several times when visited my parents.

 

St. Johns Virgin Island

 

 

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It is Monday morning, September 11, 2017 and Hurricane Irma, with devastating power, has torn across the Carribbean  islands, leaving wide wreckage in its path, then winding northward between Cuba and the Bahamas now has made landfall in seven different places on the Florida coast.

The sounds and force of the blowing plus one hundred miles per hour winds and the sights of the surge out to sea and back in again play across the television screens of all of those not knocked out of electrical power in the effected areas.

Hurricane Irma cuts a wide path of destruction across the entire peninsula as her Cat 5 rating lowers to a 2 and then as a 1. Then the tropical storm heads into the Southeastern states with plenty of wind and rain left to cause havoc to residents along the way.

The sounds and images of this traveling disaster that are imprinted upon me, one who resides outside the danger area, are the human sounds and sights of help and consideration. Everywhere in the physical areas awaiting the storm, officials took charge and put their Disaster Plan into effect and kept their number 1 priority the safety of its citizens. Even with warnings that went ignored by some at their own peril, their directives were largely heeded by the majority of Floridians.

Individuals and families prepared their physical properties as well as they could and followed the evacuation orders or shelter in place so as to save life and limb. Gas and oil companies, so often maligned, did everything they could to keep gas flowing for those travelers who had to leave precious belongings behind but take the only thing that really mattered out of harm’s way — their own lives.

People out of the danger areas offered up space in their own homes so the journey would not be so far for those with homes in flood zones. Out of State friends and family of Florida residents, if they could do no other, kept the highest good for their beloved ones in the top of their minds and hearts and offered what they could in support by prayer, monetary and durable goods to “flood” into the area that would have great needs over the next few weeks.

THESE ARE GOOD SIGHTS AND SOUNDS IN THE FACE OF HIGH IMMINENT DANGER.

This is humanity choosing to move forward each day, confident that somewhere within themselves they have the RESOURCES  and ABILITY to express life, love, wisdom and even the seed of divinity.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Ps. 118:24  Well, maybe we don’t rejoice IN the day that brings hardship, sorrow and trouble, but we reside IN the day with a spirit that is summed up in the Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change.
To change the things I can
and the Wisdom to know the difference.

There were many people in Florida embodying that short statement and still are.

And all God’s creatures.

 

And one mayor said,  “How can you help us?…Prayer is not the last thing, it is the FIRST!”

A friend told me this morning that she was recently in NYC and had seen and been deeply affected by the 9/11 Memorial. Today is sixteen years after the unspeakable horror of the attack on 9/11/2001.  She wrote this interesting observation:

“I’m guessing all of us remember were we were when we heard about these events of that day and how that morning turned quickly from the everyday, common tasks to grief and fear and so many other emotions. Why is it that we don’t realize the significance and beauty of ordinary things until those things are threatened or taken away?”

I ask myself that same question, realizing how the ordinary can blind us to its beauty and truth.

I learned in my childhood faith that a man who knew himself as Divine — Jesus — told us in many different ways, “I came so that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.”

I still believe that today, as a well-travelled spiritual seeker of truth, peace and love and elder  citizen.  Only I recognize that I don’t always know or acknowledge what and where my true abundance is.

I think the it is, for some reason, more visible in a time of danger and need. Can we carry this truth, peace and love on into our ordinary days ahead, once we have been restored to the normal in our lives and the disarray of our political system.

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Good Morning! I will believe in Good Morning. My body is still achy, numb, tired, and compassionate for my friends and their families who have suffered a sudden and traumatic and violent loss of their loved one.

 

A mother has lost her beloved daughter. A husband suffers the solitary loss of his soulmate wife who together created a life of good in their home, their work, and their play. Two young adult college age daughters have lost their earthly bond to their mother. Brother and sisters are minus one in their family – minus two, as they lost their father in his passing two years ago. Cousins, young, lively, playful, and filled with family outing memories, like the one they were returning from when disaster on the highway struck, suffer a hole too big to replace in the family fabric.  Friends and companion teachers stand present, yet walled in by the daily absence of Judy’s presence in their lives.  Students, present and past, have lost a friend, mentor and extraordinary woman.

 

I will believe in Good Morning….

 

Judy was a bright light and she shone brightest in two areas of her life – her family and her middle school classroom.  There is no light switch that can remedy the darkness in these spaces. A dimmer dims the spots she occupied and for now, it looks very dark and it hurts.

 

I will believe in Good Morning…

 

For awhile, our personal and world compass is turned upside down. South is the new North. Each of us must find new paths – paths we never intended or suspected we would have to take. Paths we don’t want to take. We look for an escape route and it is not there. We are stuck with  “what is.”  And we surely don’t like what is.  We are tired, beyond what we know, and each day comes, asking of us to take one step forward.  We don’t want to.

 

I will believe in Good Morning…

 

Husband, daughters, sisters, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, mother…..we want to be there for you in our own little daily world. It can look like, after the initial liturgies and visitations are performed, we go about our lives, as usual.  But it is not true.

 

You, dear ones, are the ones most deeply touched by unspeakable grief. But, as your friends on the outside, we too are changed forever. We will never, ever be the same within our families or our world, as we were before this loss befell you. It is in us as well and it will never leave us. Our composition is altered. We will all find new light eventually. We will all suffer the “new life” that will be lived. We will all feel the hole that only faith, hope and love can heal. We will all look at life with “new eyes” – eyes that cannot understand –eyes that want to see differently – eyes that look toward an earthly horizon and into the heart of the beloved one who has gone home.

 

I will believe in Good Morning…with a heart of hurting love.

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