Sunday, June 19, 2011

Not Father, but Daddy



As with all special occasions and holidays, they come around every year.  Father's Day is no exception.  God called Daddy home forty-six years ago.  He was only forty-nine and had finally stopped drinking, remarried and was happy, probably for the first time in his life. After so many years of turmoil and unhappiness, I ask again, Why, God?  

I didn't know Daddy very well.  I won't bore you with all the details, but briefly, Mother and Daddy divorced when I was seven - the typical dysfunctional scenario - young parents who didn't have a clue, throw in alcohol, very little money, struggles within the family members to stay afloat and stay together, and there you have it.  As I look back, we didn't have a lot going for us - that's not an excuse, it just was what it was at the time.

After the divorce, Daddy and I were, you might say, estranged.  Oddly enough, I didn't think much about it then - my life was moving along, ordinary but okay.  I was married at eighteen in my sister-in-law's home - I don't remember either Mother or Daddy being there.  Later, the children came along, and from time to time we would visit Daddy and his wife.  As well as I remember, it was always an obligatory thing - not a 'real' family gathering - I guess it was because we were never a 'real' family. 

After he quit drinking, Daddy was a different person, but perhaps by then, we had grown too far apart, too distant in our own everyday lives.  Had I realized, of course, that our time was limited, I would have made more effort - but isn't that always the way?  As they say, you never miss something until it's gone - and my Daddy was gone way too soon - before I could say, "I love you, Daddy - I'm sorry we weren't closer, but we'll do better from now on."

Daddy died in a tragic car accident - taking someone else's place at work one day.  Why that day?  Why couldn't it have been the next day?  If this doesn't confirm the adage 'being in the wrong place at the wrong time'  - or maybe not.  My beliefs have changed over the years and today I know in my heart, it was his time - I don't know why, but I know God was ready for him to come home. He gave Daddy that opportunity to change his life and to come to know Him - if not for that, I would have some serious doubts, but thankfully, I am comforted knowing he's with the Lord and hopefully can look down on me and my family and look forward to the day when he can meet his grandchildren, great-grandchildren and we'll finally be a 'real' family.

So, here's to you, Daddy - I hope you can hear me when I say I love you and miss you.  Sorry we didn't spend more time together, but one day we'll have all of eternity to catch up. 

Happy Daddy's Day

Thursday, June 16, 2011

AFTER THE STORM



As most of you know by now, mornings on my porch are my favorite time of day. A place to meditate, contemplate and mentally and spiritually restore, reflect and renew.

I marvel at the tranquility and sense of normalcy after the intense storm last night. I have seen storms in my life, but this was different, not just in intensity, but the overall experience. The power went out shortly after sunset - the darkening night sky began its transformation into an awesome display of nature's fury totally unleashed!  What made this storm so unusual was this cloud in the distance, clearly defined and set apart with a display of  continuous lightening so bright I would have to look away. That's not so unusual you might say - but what was unique to this particular cloud was its color - it was red.  It looked as though the area below was in flames and the lightening was reflecting this in the night sky - like something you see in one of these 'end of times' movies - honestly, that's what it looked like - a special effects scene staged to frighten its audience with 'shock and awe.' 

Usually, summer storms blow over quickly, but not this one.  Although the wind was fierce, this storm wasn't affected - it kept its steadfast position until all its energy was used up.
In the midst of it all, my grandson, Tony, who always comes up with his own particular style of humor, says "I think it's the rapture."  But, since we're still here this morning, that was not the case.

A new day has dawned, God's in His Heaven and all's right with the world.  We are back in the morning routine that pervades my little back yard world - birds busy with the things birds do, cows contentedly grazing ( I did worry just a little about them, although I am much better about that), flowers are bright and refreshed after the much-needed rain and the air is a bit cooler. This is life - this is how it's supposed to be.  If we didn't have the storms, we wouldn't appreciate the moments of quiet inner and outer peace that surround us - such as this, another ordinary morning after an extraordinary experience of God's amazing Power and Love.

Be Blessed and Be Encouraged............

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Actions - not Words

As much as I love words and love to write, that scripture keeps coming back to me: "Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only."  Words are empty without action - a false commentary with no meaning, no committment - the easy way out.

Do we see and hear ourselves as others do?  I think not. We all come from our own place, where we are, and we think what that place is is important - and well it may be - important to that person, but not necessarily to anyone else. As they say, 'you have to be there - you have to walk in another's shoes.'  Not always possible physically, but if we learn anything from God's teaching, it should be compassion and sensitivity to those less fortunate.  

Being less fortunate doesn't mean, less money, less material things - it means 'less anything that keeps a person stifled in their suffering and feeling of inadequacy.  "Do I count?  Do I matter? Why am I taking up space on this earth?"  If any of us have these questions, we could be one of the less fortunate.  One definition of 'fortunate' is:  receiving good from unexpected or uncertain sources. 

I am the first to admit, I don't understand how this works - knowing God doesn't play favorites, how can it be that so many are so unfortunate?  Some say we create our own problems and misery - to an extent, I believe it.  Others say, we make our own luck, yet others say there is no such thing as luck.  These are more things I do not understand - we all have our own personal experiences and beliefs. 

The one truth I am sure of is that the Lord didn't put us on this earth to be hurtful to one another, to ignore those in need, whether a friend, family or complete stranger.  I often look back at missed opportunities when 'I was too busy, or it wasn't a convenient time' - it saddens my heart that I have these memories, these missed chances to show God's Love - and I know it saddens Him as well. 

My job is not to analyze why and wherefore - my job, in my opinion, is to recognize and be proactive - not ignore a situation because it doesn't fit my schedule.  It takes more than words to mend a broken heart, to lighten someone's load, to share a grief or loss - it is the direct and personal touch of a hand or comfort of a shoulder, or perhaps just the presence of a fellow human being, listening and walking with you side by side, saying "I am here to help - take my hand lean on me."

Be encouraged and be blessed,






Thursday, June 2, 2011

Passing it Forward




The reality of my need to write was recognized many years ago.  Most times when the spoken word fails me, the written word will take over.  I have stacks of journals and folders filled with 'writings' and have often wondered why I've kept them all these years.  There is a reason I now realize - they are to be most useful in writing my memoir.  The problem will be to make the time and have the patience to go through them all.  I know, though, once I start, it will be done in one sitting so there must be no distractions and no place I have to go for at least 24 hours.

I am reminded of something I just read in Natalie Goldberg's, Writing Down the Bones - "When I reread my notebooks it never fails to remind me that I have a life, that I felt and thought and saw. It is very reaffirming, because sometimes writing seems useless and a waste of time.  Suddenly you are sitting in your chair fascinated by your own mundane life...........we awaken ourselves to the life we are living."  I guess that's my feeling also.  Yay - I have something in common with NG, an awesome writer and teacher!  So, who am I trying to impress?  I am not in her league, her circle of literary friends - I do not have an agent or have the phone number of a New York publishing house - but one thing I do have - I have an  extraordinary group of people in 'my circle' who support me, listen to my whining and so important, are always encouraging of my sometimes lame efforts at being a writer.  {Those last words are from 'my inner censor' who just has to speak out at times - I've given him a little space here, if for no other reason than to acknowledge I know he's there and I recognize him for who he his - and then I move on secure in the knowledge of who I am and that what I write may not be important or interesting to everyone, but it's not meant to be.  One person may be encouraged or lifted up, and if it is just that one, it may make a world of difference in their life.

I have so much I want to share with others - if I can touch them, those whom I will never meet personally, by connecting through the written word, perhaps my story will help to write theirs.  It's by our life experiences that we learn our own truths and values.  One important truth I have learned is that we are created uniquely with our own special gifts and talents to bestow in whatever way that might be of help or service to our fellow man. Now that I know this truth, I feel compelled to "pass it forward" and to believe at the end of the day it will made a difference.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you - I welcome you to share yours with me.