Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Figurine

While sitting at my kitchen table, I noticed the glass figurine with words etched into the glass. Don’t we all have the odd nick nack sitting on one of the shelves or set in just that special spot? Perhaps it was a gift from someone very special to us. Maybe it is just a simple quote that has words that will pick us up when we are feeling down? Just at that moment when you need a little encouragement it catches our eye and we read it. Whatever the saying, it’s words have some kind of power. Like maybe a footprints poem written on an old clock. For years it sat on that wall and perhaps you never read it. Because the right time had not come. The clock catches our eye and we read that poem which says:

One night I dreamed a dream.
I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

When the last scene of my life shot before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
There was only one set of footprints.
I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life.
This always bothers me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.

“Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You,
You would walk and talk with me all the way.
But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life
There is only one set of footprints.
I just don’t understand why, when I need You most, 
You leave me.”

He whispered “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever,
During your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

Margaret Fishback Powers.

Once in a while these ornaments catch our eye. We pick it up, dust it off and read the message. Whether by some divine leading or not, today, is that day when the words come alive. It is a day when you are overwhelmed by many emotions - you can’t sleep because the thoughts roll in your mind one after another: Why questions? Where questions and how questions? How will I get through tomorrow, if I don’t know if I can make it through today? Years ago, after the loss of a close family member, I wrote a song with those words. It was on a day when I was alone, sitting in a canoe with no one else around. My song had all those questions. My heart felt broken. I never heard some of the answers until years later. Even still, there are many things I don’t understand.

The grief we feel at the loss of a loved one can linger for a long time, feeling like a big rock tied to our kite strings. We may wonder, how will my kite ever fly again without that person in our lives? That is how we might feel because of what I call the great disconnect that leaves a hole in the heart.  We don’t have a crystal ball which tells us the future. We can’t fathom that one day we will smile or even laugh again. 

Time goes on and eventually the ached in the heart seems less and the heart begins to heal. The kite begins to catch a breeze and begins to slowly lift from the ground.
All that being said, I sat today with the sun shining through my kitchen window, music playing, my heart feeling a mixed bag of emotions. The sun shined on the little glass figurine that was sitting on my table magnifying the words which read:

“MOTHER You have filled OUR LIFE with unforgettable memories of laughter, LOVE and a wonderful place called HOME." 

My heart cracks a little more as that Love pours in to my soul. It is like nourishment to my soul. The words hold so much meaning. In life we all take a journey and we have unforgettable memories of laughter. We reminisce and remember those great times we have enjoyed along our journey. Of course, we who have lost our mother’s can appreciate what those words mean. Maybe those words apply to someone dear to you who is not your mother? During times when I was feeling depressed or just upset about something, my Mother would give me wise words. She would tell me to pray. Count my blessings and take one day at a time.

As I read the words of the poem "Footprints" I recognize they are very much familiar to the Words Jesus also spoke to us when He said, “Never will I leave you nor forsake you.” May we find peace in knowing that even in the most despairing times, we are not alone. When we invite Jesus into our despair, grief, loneliness or simply into every part of our lives, we have a Saviour who hears our heart cries, knows our pain. God wants to bring us comfort and also carry us during those times.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The White Birch Tree

The White Birch Tree

Just the other day I walked my dogs around the neighbour’s pond located at the back of our house. The long grasses and weeds filled the field, still a little wet from the morning dew. The unplowed corn stalks stood tall as the dogs and I walked through the rows, pushing their leaves out of my face, and swatting away the bugs at the same time. Who says, I can’t multitask? Finally we made it back to the starting point. I sat in the chair overlooking the pond noticing all the trees which clustered along the pond’s edge. In ten years they have grown from small saplings into tall trees. A variety of trees; cedars, pines, tamarack. My, how abundantly, they have grown along with the weeds in the surrounding field. Over the summer even brown patches of weeds and algae has also grown throughout the pond. What was the cause of these changes? Was it the steady rains, hot days combined with the runoff from the chemically sprayed corn field? Whatever the cause, the pond is looking like it is dying. The pond which once looked blue as the sun and clouds clearly reflected from the blueness of the sky onto the calm of the water.  Flocks of geese gathered daily. The geese don’t land in the pond much anymore. I don’t see them bathing their wings or hear the synchronous honks of the flocks as they land. So the pond sits, somewhat stagnating. I noticed the changes. Nothing is ever done. Doesn’t seem like the owners care or even inspect the ponds or see the damage being done from the poisons seeping their way into these waters. Some of the causes could also be environmental. I’m not a biologist, so I only look from the perspective of what I see and not what I know.
            I sit in the little white chair taking a moment to talk to God about the things I see. After all this is our little garden that we share. It is my quiet place. I must confess that this summer, even I, have neglected going there. My path to that quiet place actually grew over with weeds too. The narrow path to my quiet place, where I often met on a regular basis to talk to my Heavenly Father was almost difficult to find, until one day my husband took the lawn mower and cut a path. The creep of simply having too many things to do which pull us away from our daily devotions, is perhaps one reason?
            I continued to talk to God our Father, and to my surprise, I also noticed one little tree amongst all the other trees around the pond’s edge. The sun was shining bright on that day, the sky was blue and this white tree stood amongst the evergreens. It stood looking at me from across the pond. It did not have a leaf on it. Just a white leafless tree standing out in the crowd. It came to my mind that I too, had become like that tree. I was not a pine tree full of lush green needles sitting at the water’s edge, full of life. I was like the white dead tree, with no fruit, no leaves. I stood out, but not in a good way. It was a dead tree. It still had a beauty about it as the sun shined on it, magnifying it. It was a surreal moment, where God showed me a picture of myself. That white tree still had a purpose. It had a voice for God to speak to me, in our quiet place. I believe he did speak to me as I looked at that tree, not in an audible voice, yet I recognized the voice of my Heavenly Father.  His gentle voice paints a picture so vivid. God did not yell at me and throw guilt trips at me for the things that I did or did not do this summer. God our Father was loving in His gentle rebuke, His Holy Spirit showed me a picture. As a Father, I have known His discipline. As a father disciplines his children, so God the Father at times disciplines those He loves. Our talk was not about  God's discipline, it was the voice of my Heavenly Father telling me to take notice. It was about me finding the discipline in my daily life to make time for God. It was as if I could hear God tell me, Daughter, I AM still here. I have missed our daily visits, and your prayers. I know your struggles, how you busy yourself, your questions, your doubts and fears. You don’t have to be like a dead tree. You can be like the tree whose roots goes deep into the water. I know that often you feel separated from other people and like you don’t fit in. I know your loneliness, frustrations, and worries. I am here to help you overcome them. Often you try to take control and cope with these things on your own. How is it working out for you? I still come to this garden every day. You stopped coming.