Pause and Reflect

This Christmas what I wish for doesn’t come packaged inside a box or glammed up in a gift bag. Long ago, I boxed the photographs and tucked away the memories of Christmases past.

 

 

Tree is Up
Tree is Up

 

Perhaps it’s the wisdom of age. Or just plain old weariness. I long for simplicity and gifts that can’t be placed underneath the tree. There is nothing I need; the possessions I own just fanciful and temporary, faded and broken.

I long for Peace. Peace on Earth. I want to live in a world that is kinder, a more compassionate place. A world where wars become stories in history texts.

I long for love and belonging. No child forgotten.

I long for family to circle round. The world is way too big now.

And finally, as I think about the upcoming holiday season, I whisper a “thank you” to my friends. You hold space in my heart.

x

Three Words

Peace On Earth Postcard - Rifle Paper Company
Peace On Earth Postcard~ The graphics and colours are oh so lovely.
– Rifle Paper Company

https://riflepaperco.com/

Peace on Earth. Three blessed words. We hear the phrase spoken, breathe the message. Why then, is it so difficult for human kind to live the credo?

Once children, we played by The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. ” We grew up, we forgot.

Three words. A stretch of the heart; the pull a reminder to soften. Peace on Earth, an opportunity to show compassion toward another.  We cry the same tears.

“Hush,” you say. A hand reaches forth, a light shines in darkness. “Walk with me,” is the whisper.

I cast a stone to the ocean. Who am I to judge? The waves lift and carry the offering

to land at your feet.

Do you see now? Connected, our actions ripple and roll from shore to shore and heart to heart. Stand with me. Hand to hand, our fingers weave together, arms reach around the globe. Peace on Earth.

Three words.

The inspiration for this passage came from the Rifle Co.- Peace on Earth Postcard. As we move toward November 11, the Canadian Remembrance Day and American Veteran’s Day, I felt the message timely. Peace on Earth. 

x

 

It’s Still A Beautiful World

That there is still decency and kindness in the world.This morning on the downtown eastside I sat in my locked car at a busy intersection and witnessed an action that reminded me there is good in people all around us. It also reminded me about judgements.

A woman struggled to get across the busy crossing before the “DON’T WALK “symbol appeared. Confined to a wheel chair and shoeless, she struggled to push the chair forward with her shuffling feet. As she struggled past, I noticed one foot wrapped in bandages and the other covered in a tattered sock.

Suddenly, out from the shadowy streets ran a man, an oddity with his own set of issues. Long hair a mess, eyes unfocused; he jittered forth. This man noticed the woman in the wheelchair and paused. As he bent to whisper words in her ear, he grabbed the handles at the back of the wheelchair and silently pushed the chair through the cross walk to safety, leaving the somewhat surprised woman to negotiate the edge between road and sidewalk. A random act of kindness and compassion toward another.

In fact, I saw several acts of compassion on the downtown eastside from vendors offering a cup of Joe to marginalized people outside the trending coffee shops to two city police officers that knelt beside a forlorn man seated on a blanket. They gently spoke with him.

A reminder to look beneath the surface. One man’s random wish to help another human navigate through this often confused and chaotic world made a view outside the car window a whole lot brighter.

What will you see today and who will you help?

 

Let it Snow

It happens every December. I fall head over heels into the holiday season.The sight of first snow, tumbling flakes dancing across the blog page, to the real version, delights. I imagine the forgotten child who once found beauty in the simplest of gifts. A first snow evokes glorious moments, past holiday memories. I will that child’s sweet feelings of hope to return.

More than the beauty of the season beckons. Yes, it’s true~ possessing a need to touch the shiny surfaces of the glass ornaments laying in shop baskets, I pause and lift one. Glitter and sparkle catch my eye. It is more than the superficial. I know that.

Momentarily, I become a child again. Tip toeing through the quiet living room, wandering to the front window to gaze out, my eyes look up to the heavens. Enchanted. Nightfall blankets, a starry sky twinkling back as the first flakes tumble to earth. Beholden to a powerful spell, captivated by a belief. I know the world truly is a magical place.

So long ago, a tree stood in a corner of the dimly lit room, evergreen boughs laden with twinkling lights. A soft glow illuminated the darkened room. Branches sparkled, adorned with colourful glass baubles. A shiny star graced the uppermost tip of the tree. Tinsel dripped, hung like frozen icicles from the branches. A cheap, chubby plastic Santa leaned into the base of the tree. We begged mother to buy it. Just a doll yet it looked so real.

It’s so simple. A child waits for Christmas to appear. A child believes.

Older now, I muse, If only it was that simple. If only wishes really did come true. Picking the plastic Santa from the ornament box I notice the colour has faded, rubbed away. The eyes still twinkle. Sighing, I need a moment to collect myself. Sometimes memories ache.

I know the world isn’t such a magical place. Poverty is real, children go hungry; they shiver in fear. Disease consumes. War and hatred rage on. Love is fleeting. Tears rain and hearts break. What we do to one, passes to another. We understand that as children.

The plastic Santa remains, a child’s symbol for hope. It really is simple. Be compassionate. Show up for someone. Share friendship, exchange a hug, hold a hand. Donate to a worthy cause. Keep an open heart. Be grateful.

I place the plastic Santa beneath the tree, an endearing symbol for hope.The world truly is a magical place. Believe.

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On Being Thankful

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This weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving; another opportunity to pause and remember all the blessings in my life. First, to family and friends. Even apart you stay an important part of a life story. I raise the first glass of Pinot Grigio to you!
There is my dear one; an excellent athlete and a gentle spirit. One day you will understand that the world doesn’t care about whether you run the 8 minute mile; rather that you kept trying to improve yourself on the track of life. (An aside rant- One day a curriculum will question the standards of a system that fails a child who runs a mile in 12 minutes! Both will be thankful for the lessons learned. Keep trying to improve; in the big picture that is all that matters.)
To my kids; you make me proud of who you are and who you will continue to evolve into. You stand up for right; you care about others, you are kind. We raised you well.
To my family; thank you for being there. Kind of like that 12 minute mile. We limp along, moving forward; sometimes we struggle through to strengthen our hearts. We circle the wagons when one of us falls off. Everyone needs to belong to something and someone’s clan!
To friends~ I’m grateful for each of you. Your laughter, stories and your mischief reminds me that together we are all better people. We enrich one another.
Raise a toast to the laughter, the fun, the struggles, the tears, the joys and the words; all moments to treasure. I wish you a gorgeous day with those you love and care for and I thank you for sharing and caring in my life.
x

Wise Women’s Club

The aroma drifts from the restaurant’s kitchen, teasing all who enter. Encircling, enticing, enveloping, the aroma begs us, sit for a spell. Coffee poured into waiting cups, chatter and laughter bubble forth filling empty souls. Who knew something so simple held such power.

They wait for me in the booth. We embrace, members of a club.  The Wise Women. Well, so much wiser than we were once upon a time before we grew up. Before the littlest moments captured our attention. Our fingers lace around warm cups. We smile; we share our secrets and fears.

We notice little moments now that we’ve matured, like the ladybug drinking the water droplet after the sprinkler’s mist. The golden rim of a child’s greenest eye. We wonder who the government’s new strategist is, chuckle at the lack of strategy. Call us, we muse. We share stories of children, aging parents, trips we’ll take, books we’ve read, journeys we’re on.

My treasured friends, long-standing members of an informal circle of women that joined hands years ago. Once upon a time, we chased our children’s joy, earned our degrees, worked full-time, worked in and worked out. One day, just like that, the years flew by us.

We can’t save the world, some days we only save each other. Aware of each member’s weakest heart spot, we probe gently, cautiously choosing wise words, affirming worth.  We’ve all shivered in grief. My friend turns and asks,

“Will you have regrets?”

“No,” I reply, “no amount of money will fix it or make me happier.”

It’s never about money; it’s always about love for another. At least that’s how it rolls for us.

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We stand, gather our bills, head over to pay the cashier. We embrace, already awaiting the next time. The Wise Women’s Club adjourns.

 

Strength in Struggle

 

 

Charles grew up working class poor. There wasn’t much money. Emigrating from England with parents and two sisters, settling in a small, bleak town. Land was available and his father saw an opportunity, the chance for more. The land harsh, unforgiving; the family scrapped on.

 

People living off the bleak land didn’t have much in the way of extras; if they did, they shared with another. They tirelessly toiled, hand to mouth, along with sent up prayers. Religion played an important role in their lives; they buried sweet babies in the local cemetery.

 

Charles lived respecting the principles of family, stay loyal and inclusive of one another. In later years, he dutifully went to his sister’s side to help a child she bravely and lovingly sheltered from an institution’s walls.

 

There was military service, an opportunity to travel and fight for freedom in the larger world. Charles believed in worker’s rights and fought to unionize railway workers. He stood alongside the great Tommy Douglas, a Canadian leader, carrying forth the hope and promise of social medicare.

 

My grandfather Charles was the quietest and gentlest of men. Through simple acts of kindness, small actions filled with compassion, I watched him and learned how to treat others. He watched over our mother, checking in on her; he loved us. His eyes could see the words we never expressed; his heartbeat strong when we faltered. We knew.

 

A fleeting presence in life, Charles was one of the first social responsibility role models I knew. Stand up, be brave, be kind, are actions he’d support. Sometimes, I imagine him seated at my table. Charles removes his felt fedora and pushes back a strand of hair; his starched white shirt, sleeves rolled to show just a peek of a mermaid’s tail on a forearm, a tattoo from long ago. I smile at the sight of red suspenders, a signature piece he wears clipped to the waistline of pressed khaki pants. Polished boots, the leather gleaming will rest for a spell.

 

We drink a cup of tea; Charles loved tea time. Sugar biscuits, Alice’s favourite, shine waiting on a floral china saucer. He sips and swallows the steeped brew. After a moment or two, I will update him on the comings and goings of life; he will hang his head. When he looks up, his misty eyes will focus upon mine. We know.

 

“It’s okay,” I say.

In that instant we both look away; we know it isn’t.

 

Charles will leave; time is fleeting. Life unrolls. One day I  open a newspaper to read an article about a brave action, a loyal stance; a union’s notice lending support for worker’s rights. I sit within the loving circle of family and friends, safe and valued. I’ve learned to listen to the pause between heartbeats; it is there in that fleeting space where he stands beside me.

We know.