Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Pond

It is winter, the season with the reason to be miserable. Is this true? Many people live life like winter gives us some permission to let out all our frustration on others. I was talking to someone the other day and he said, "It must be winter because everyone seems to be so miserable." One person comes home from work all stressed, angry and acting like she lives in bitch city. Her poor husband and children have to live with her bad moods day in and day out. Then there is another guy who wants to throw his computer out the window because it won't download fast enough. Someone else is all depressed and lonely because they have been staying indoors for the last few weeks, determined not to go outside in the minus zero temperatures. What are the root causes? Not enough vitamin D? Not enough social interaction? Not enough sex? Just asking.

The overcast grey skies creep into our souls and people become miserable. The news forecast is a daily re-run of bad news and horrible world events. That is not even mentioning all the other personal things people endure each day. We don't know how the mind works. I've been feeling the winter blues myself; feeling like I desperately just want to escape everything, everyone and go lay on a nice sand beach, soak up the sun, feel it's warmth and the gentle breeze and yes have a nice refreshing drink to sip. Sounds dreamy to me. That is about where my imagination stops and reality kicks back in.

Yesterday the sun actually shined and the sky was a beautiful blue. Go figure the pond had frozen over nice and smooth. It is a big pond. Without anyone to join me, I went out back, put on my cold rusty skates.  I pulled out an old hockey stick that had been leaning against a tree for the past two years then I threw down the little black puck. For the next hour I skated from one end of the pond to the other. My beautiful dog Camber ran by my side the entire time. It felt invigorating and refreshingly wonderful. While skating, I had a lot of time to listen to God and also talk to God in the quiet of the great outdoors. It was our time.

That is what I did. I said to The Lord, "Okay, if there is anything you want to tell me Lord, I'll just be quiet and listen. There was no one else around. It was so quiet. I thought, well I can't lay on the nice warm beach, but I will just lay in the middle of the pond and wait on The Lord. There I was - looking up into the vast canopy and all I could see was blue sky with some rays of sunlight.  I felt the same warmth, I once felt as a child. This was not my first time laying out in the middle winter looking up and experiencing the presence of God with me.  It really could not have been much better if I was on a nice sandy beach. Did I hear God speak to me in an audible voice? Many would like me to say yes. No. However, I have to tell you, there was more than once where I heard the moaning and grumblings of the ice upon which I lay. It was almost scary. For a moment I thought, the ice could break open and swallow me up. Not likely since the ice is about ten inches deep. Then my thought drifted off again for another  moment. I even thought, Oh, I wonder if God will just rapture me. That is how much I believed that God was with me

Then I thought, how incredible the sounds of the ice. Then I heard a crow squawking in the distance and the sound of whistles of the wind piercing my ears. Somehow to me, it seemed that God was speaking and letting me know that he was there. There was no loud deep voice speaking Moses (Rebecca) you must do this or do that. In my prayer and meditation with God, I did share with Him many things, which he already knows anyway. What more can I say? It was a refreshing time. Once again I realized how great winter can be when we choose to enjoy it rather than complain about it.

So many of us, would rather look out the window rather than open the door and look with a new perspective. I'm guilty as charged. Now that I realize it. I'm going to go out that door again today. I could go skating again. I think. . . instead, I'll take my mum out and let her get some fresh air too.

Guess what? If you look out your window today, you will see once again the sky is blue and the sun is shining. Why not get out and enjoy it. Even if you are at work or many things to do. Consider taking a break. You could go outside for a minute or two and clear out the cobwebs, release the stress and while you are at it - talk to God. Don't be surprised at what you might hear in response.

You might not have a pond in your back yard. Come over to the one in my back yard or look around and you will find the equivalent. May God Bless you today and may He lift up your spirit to find the sunshine and help you through these winter blues. Amen! I think it is going to snow today. I might have to build a snowman instead of skating on the pond. Want to build a snowman?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Life on the Back Burner

Yes it is a New Year. Another year, 2014, and another one gone and another one gone and another one bites the dust. Glad to see 2014 go. It was one hell of a year with many twists and turns. Times of trial and testings. A few exciting events to help. I can recognize many times when God's hand was at work.

There were many mornings of wondering what the future holds. Mornings of tearful prayers fuelled by frustration. The Bible says, "The Lord disciplines those He loves." Was 2014 a year of discipline?  I believe yes, in some ways God was teaching many things, and changing me in the process. In some ways, it has been a year of sacrificing my own wants and desires. It can be a difficult time in life to enter. For me it was bringing mother home to live with us. It changed the dynamics of our lives in many ways. For others it may be different types of priorities and sacrifices.  It is human nature to want to have freedom and control of our lives. I always thought that freedom meant - being able to do what ever I wanted to do.  If I want to go weed in the garden, write a book, go shopping, have coffee with my bff or whatever I want to do, when I want to do it, I can. This year, I felt I could not do many of the things I wanted to do.

Many women are good at juggling the many aspects of their lives. It seems that when I was younger and my children were at home, I could do that without feeling much stress. Now that I am older, and going through the reversal of puberty, I can't seem to juggle as many things. Or maybe I'm juggling more. I can't really figure it out, but over the past year I have felt stressed, overwhelmed and at times like I was losing my mind with not being able to cook six pots on a four burner stove. Are some of those feelings symptoms of menopause thrown into the mix? It has been a year of disconnect with all my close relationships except one. That relationship with my mother (Mum). The constant flower in my entire life.  

I realized about a year ago that my mother won't be here forever and our precious relationship could come to an end any time. Only The Lord knows. I could not be here tomorrow. I know life can change on a dime when we least expect it. I was fearing that one day I would get that dreaded call? Many times throughout my life of ups and downs, my Mum has always been one of the few who always cared about how I was doing, she sincerely wanted me to be a part of her life. All the years of my life I have depended on her to help me through all the storms of life. Over the last few years the tides have turned. As she gets older, she has depended on me more and more. I'm thankful for my family who also help our mother.

We share a wonderful mother and daughter relationship. I have always known she loves me and that I love her whole heartily.  I tend to love deep those in my circle.  When my  circle gets broken, I get broken.  Mum has always been there for me to cry on her shoulder; always there with her wise advice. Sometimes that advice has been hard to receive, even though she is almost always right. Over the past few years it has become my turn to be there for my mother to care for her, love her, listen to her. This year even more so with her failing health.

God has been with us. My mother and I share a main ingredient and that is our faith in Jesus Christ. There have been many times of prayer, especially over this past year. I recognize God's hand at work in me and in my mother. I see Him preparing us for whatever the future holds. He is lighting our path along the journey.

I reflect on 2014. I know that many of my needs were put on the back burner. We all go through different stages in life. Our lives are like a stove with four burners and there are usually four pots boiling. There are many needs to care for, people to see, places to go and things to do. It is hard to watch all the burners. I know this because I constantly let the pots come to a boil and overflow all over the stove. We try and make the perfect meal in life. Individually, we try to fit into the pots of those relationships closest to us. So often because of the busyness in everyone's lives these days, sometimes we get placed in the pot that gets put on the back burner and left there to simmer. That is the pot that is often forgotten. The water comes to a slow boil and eventually just boils dry. So, my conclusion as I enter a New Year is that I feel like that dry pot melted to the back burner. I've spent years trying to keep the pots topped up with enough water and nutritious food. Sometimes the pot boils dry. Just ask my husband how many times I've burnt rice.

Just the other day, I put a pot of water on the stove.  I was going to cook some pasta in it. I turned up the temperature and the water came to boil, and it boiled and boiled until it was dry. I got busy doing something else and totally forgot about the pot of water boiling. For a moment, I even forgot what I was boiling the water to cook.

The slow boil which evaporates over time and there is nothing left in the pot. Relationships can be like pots too. The relationships/friendships drift apart like vapour. Usually it is the one who feels like the back burner pot who is left with that lost feeling of neglect. In the end result, it is easy to stay melted to the stovetop. Easy to become a recluse. Stop cooking. Give up. Keep the pots shiny and new sitting in the cupboard. Stay unscathed. That way, one does not have to feel the pain of neglect one more time.

On the flip side, now my Mum has chosen to live in a convalescent/ nursing home with many others who have aged. That is not easy to watch either. It would seem to be another stage in life. Once elderly people go to live in these homes, many of them tend to be put on the back burner by their family and friends. Many don't get visitors. I see this every time I go visit my mother. Some families put them in the home like they are a pot.  Then they get busy with their lives again and don't visit. I'm happy to see my Mother having visitors.

 Sadly in this world, often people are treated like they are recyclable. Throw out the burnt pots and replace them with the new pots. We live in a recycle society. Many times, I've gone through the recycle box too. When that happens, it tends to leave a person feeling insignificant.  It feels like being a pot on the back burner.

I don't know what I would do being an empty pot if I didn't have my faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. He is the pot maker and the one who fills our clay pots with living water. Many people struggle with similar challenges. Whether we have faith or not, sometimes we don't feel strong or joyful. I don't believe that we can always maintain human strength with the power of positive thinking. God knows when we are weak and all about our struggle. He can make us strong. We don't have to pretend. We can't live a life in pretence. We live life in truth.  Yes, we can make better choices on a daily basis. We have free will to choose right or wrong. I believe that relationship with Jesus is one pot that will never run dry. When I feel the water in my pot starting to evaporate by life's struggles, I cry out to God - Fill my pot Lord. I lift you up Lord. God gives great cooking lessons.

Going forward into another year, I think I'll do less cooking and more eating out. Hopefully, the spills will become less and the pots will remain sparkling and clean and full. I'll leave the cooking to the Super Chef.

To update Post - My mother passed away that following year. I am grateful for the time on earth we shared.