WHERE THERE IS SADNESS, JOY

She began to talk to me of times of JOY. She spoke of happy things and times and places. 
Upon leaving, I said,
”See you when you come home”.
“Ok honey”, she said

Always Generous, Gracious and Giving

She was my JOY.   Now she was gone…
I asked her, only hours after Grandma died;
“How does it make you feel?”
“Like an orphan”, was her answer. 
“But Mother”, I responded, “You have us.”
“I know honey”, she said. “But this is different.”
Carrying our second child,
I was filled with the JOY of life and annoyed at having to deal with death. 
I wanted Mother to tell me it wasn’t so bad.
Grandma was old. Eighty years was a long full life.
In a coma, Grandma hadn’t suffered. 
I wanted Mother to move on to lighter talk and future plans.
  I wanted her to ask how I was feeling today,
resuming our daily ritual.
She was always the giver. I was always the taker.
Years passed and now Mother was in her eighties. 
She shared with me the ominous news
that she had found a lump in her breast. 
“Mother” I said, “I am absolutely sure that it will not be malignant.”
When the report came back Mother said,
“Well, you were wrong. It is malignant and the involvement is extensive”.
Now, I who never wanted to deal with anything uncomfortable
was required to face the unimaginable.  
Mother was  going to die. 
Try as I would, I couldn’t get my mind around that fact.
A friend said to me,
“It’s part of life, although it’s not the best part.”
I was angry with my friend
for her crude and thoughtless remark. 
How could she be so matter of fact in the face of my devastation?
She offered.  I refused.

In the days and months to come,
Mother calmly accepted the diagnosis. 
She was always generous, always caring, always gracious and giving.
She was ever accepting. I was ever refusing.
The following January,
a friend and I vacationed for two weeks in Florida.
Upon our return I learned that Mother had suffered a heart attack
a few days earlier.
She didn’t want me to be told
because she wanted me to enjoy my vacation.
I could learn of it when I returned home.
She was protecting. I was accepting.
I visited Mother in the hospital the day after returning home from vacation. As she lay in her bed she was cheerful
and interested in me.  
“Maybe it wasn’t so serious after all”, I said.
  She answered “No, something very serious is going on.” 
She began to talk to me of times of JOY. She spoke of happy things and times and places. 
Upon leaving, I said,
”See you when you come home”.
“Ok honey”, she said
for she was due to come home on Monday.
She would be in the hospital one more day.
The next day, she died.
She always gave me her love. I always accepted it.
 
Mother was gone.
I felt smothered by a blanket of grief.
She was as much a part of my life as my heart and soul.
Now she was gone.
Her belongings were still here; her clothes hung in the closet.
Pictures she had painted hung on the wall.
They were only “things”.
Weeks passed and my seemingly endless river of tears
began to subside.
On a stark February night, I visited my friend
who is a shepherd.
It was lambing time.
She was required to make frequent visits to the barn
to check on the well being of the ewes.
I found her there
and we began to talk.
Surrounded by the rumblings of her flock
and the sweet smell of freshly scattered straw,
the rawness of my grief began to pour out.
 
With gentle encouragement
my friend shared her own journey
through the painful loss of both parents
during the preceeding years. 
With deep compassion she shared her healed grief. 
I knew that with her consoling love,
I too would be healed through this journey of grieving.
My friend offered. I accepted.

Next morning as I prepared my morning coffee,
my glance fell upon a plaque hanging on my kitchen wall.
Reading it as if for the first time,
I understood the message of St. Francis of Assisi.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness,JOY
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in the giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Dear Lord
Thank you for the loving, giving people you have placed in my life.
Help me to be the consoling,  understanding, loving and giving instrument of your peace
which has so graciously been given to me.
Amen
copyright©2019
 
Printed May 2017 at Sunlight Press
          Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck
          memoriesaremadefromthis.com

HE'S WAITING FOR YOU

Today, the television brings the world into my living room.
The good news, the bad news and news that isn’t news at all
invades my life
every day. 

(That night, Paul had a dream. A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea. “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map…we knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.)    Acts 16.9( The Message )

The world of Paul seems far from mine.

Today, the television brings the world into my living room.

The good news, the bad news and news that isn’t news at all

invades my life

every day. 

Paul believed God was sending him to preach in Macedonia.

God was calling him.

The planet earth can now be seen from cameras on a satellite

revolving through space. 

Through the lens of a camera

carried by a robot,

I can watch as the moon is explored.

With a computer,

a phone line, a connection to the Internet,

I can visit with someone who lives in France or Greece,

send them a picture of myself,

communicate with them.

I will never meet them.

However, it is possible to maintain a friendship with these persons

in far off lands.

One may inhabit an operating room in Australia

through a camera fixed in position

as a human heart is removed,

repaired and replaced

in fine condition,

into the body of a man

who’s name we will never know.

Why would we pay any attention to a dream or a vision

when life in the 21st century

has so much to offer?

As a child I was warned,

“Don’t let your imagination run away with you.”

Learn to be sensible and realistic.

 “Keep your feet on the ground”.

Could the God of the Bible become a real part of my life?

The Apostle Paul believed the Holy Spirit could speak to him
through Paul’s own affliction,
his thorn in the flesh.
That was Paul, not me.
Then God’s message began to come to me 
through the timely witness of a friend,
the words of a song,
a recommended book,
an inner urge
to learn and experience
this thing call Christianity.
There were new opportunities to serve Him in the church.
There were continuing revelations of an elusive “something more”.
The God of the universe became personal to me.
The good news is that He cares for me. 
He knows my name and all about my life. 
He knows my deepest and most private thoughts.
He knows the unspoken desires of my heart.
In John 5:1-9 (The Message)
“While Jesus was visiting Jerusalem for one of the Jewish religious holidays,
He came to the Sheep Gate near the Bethesda Pool.
It was here where crowds of sick people waited for a miraculous healing
by entering the stirring waters of the pool. 
One of the men by the pool, who had been sick for 38 years,
came into Jesus’ view. 
Jesus asked him, “Would you like to get well?”
 What an interesting question for Jesus to ask the man. 
Hadn’t he been coming to this pool every day
in order to be made whole? 
He had been crippled for 38 years;
of course he wanted to be healed.
The man responded that he couldn’t be healed
since he had no one to help him into the pool.
He believed that it was the fault of his friends
who hadn’t helped him,
that he had been unable to be healed.
Jesus said to the man,
“Stand up, roll up you’re sleeping mat and go home.”
Instantly the man was healed.
The word of God became personal and real to him.

The moment comes

when it’s time to move

from where I am

to where He wants me to be.

The Holy Spirit speaks to me in my condition

while living in my home, my church and my world. 

The move must be made unassisted.

Are you where He wants you to be? 

Have you experienced the vision?

Is the Holy Spirit using a time in your life

to call you to witness for Him?

Have you heard the message from God?

You there,

get up, pick up your sleeping mat.

Step into the stirring, healing waters of life

in Jesus Christ.

HE’S WAITING FOR YOU

It was a time when I felt that God was calling me to share.

I studied and became a lay speaker

in our United Methodist Church.

The meaning of the scripture became steadily clear.

I wanted to share my personal walk.

I want to invite others to travel with me.

Searching for meaning,

He showed me The Way.

He really does know me!

Copyright©2018

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com