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Archive for December, 2012

Merry Christmas

About three years ago we started a new tradition in my family.  We make homemade gifts for each other every Christmas and then on Christmas Eve after church we exchange our gifts.  Each gift has to use the maker’s own personal skills and has to be kind, no joke gifts are allowed.  My oldest daughter draws or writes stories, my youngest daughter creates with whatever she can get her hands on, my youngest son often makes coupons or games, but last year he was learning about Haiku and created one for every member of our family.  It was amazing to see his sister’s eyes light up when he managed to actually say something good about his little sister.  My husband who is not crafty or creative in any way (his words not mine) makes a scavenger hunt every year.  The kids have to answer his questions, fill in the puzzles and find the clues he has hidden all around the house.  He has been working on his for the last three days hiding his work just like the kids.  This is what he always dreamed he would do with his own children and our little tradition gives him the reason.

The unforeseen bonus of this activity is that instead of that torturous, nervous, anxiety that comes from wating for Christmas, you know it don’t you?  The anxiety and excitement that causes children to fight, eat everything in sight, cry, complain they are bored and more, instead of that,  every child in this house has locked themselves in their rooms and is secretly creating.  It is silent, except for a few knocks and ‘don’t come in’s.’  You can almost feel the positive intentions radiating from their rooms. Throw some Christmas music on and it’s as though the Christmas spirit is blooming in every room of the house.

Walking Two Worlds is my gift to you.  It is a story I started a few months back.  It is a story I have no idea where it will go or what the main character will find.  I have decided to let the Spirit guide this one.  It is a prayer, it is a question, it is a story and it is a journey in progress so where it will go or if it will end is an adventure for both of us.  Let’s hope it’s a good one.

May the peace of your destiny settle in your heart and soul this Christmas and keep you every day that follows.

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All I Have

I have written a number of blog posts in my head over the last few weeks.  In fact I think I would have been done with my three posts for the month if I just found the time to sit down and actually write them.  I had a post about how difficult it has been to get into the Christmas spirit after the death of my aunt and two more funerals immediately following.  I had one that started with my painful haphazard return to running and I also had a humorous post planned about my daughter’s obsession with Christmas traditions and her insistence of us, her parents, complying with what she deemed obligatory holiday activities. One was reflective, one was hopeful and the last was just short of crazy, hysterical and then the shooting in Connecticut occurred and everything suddenly became trivial compared to the devastating loss those parents are embroiled in and even Christmas spirit can’t help us through this one.

 My house is silent right now, no TV, no radio.  I am terrified if I leave one on like usual a news report will come on and my children will overhear something and turmoil will fill this home.  This past Thursday marked seven out of ten days I worked and every child was having some sort of emotional melt down.  I didn’t go to bed some two hours after brushing my teeth and putting on my pajamas because each one of them needed me.  They needed me to hold them, to tell them I loved them no matter what and to listen.  They can’t handle me working barely full time; they were at a friend’s house an hour before school and I was at the bus to pick them up!  How the hell would they handle this?

 But it is cowardice to run right?  Right!  And I could live with that label if I had absolute proof they would never find out.  If I knew for sure that none of my twenty girl scouts would come to me with a question.  If there was a strong possibility that not one of the 300 kids I substitute for would come to me with fear in their eyes begging for an assurance that this would never happen in their own school, their own town, their own life.

 It feels almost like a video game or a movie to those who are not there.  To those who are sequestering their families.  It can’t possibly be real and when the kids are in bed and my husband try to educate ourselves in some desperate attempt to understand I find myself angry at the words, words like horrific, tragedy, and heartbreaking, because they don’t seem enough.  We have used these words to express fictional stories, used them in jokes and sarcastic comments that they have lost their power and they are insignificant when it comes to expressing the absolute horror that has happened to innocent children and to people who dedicated their lives to others.  One trite facebook post used travesty instead of tragedy and I raged like I was a mad woman.  I wish this was a travesty then this would all prove to be one rotten joke and we could all move on assuring ourselves that this kind of evil does not exist in our world and our children are once again safe. 

 So I have no choice, I have to figure out the words, Children will come to me and I will have to say something.  I cannot cower before their eyes.

 When my aunt was dying my youngest asked me if she was going to die.  I sighed and answered firmly, “yes, yes Aunt Ruthie is going to die.  When God calls you home you can’t just look at him and say; I’m not ready.  Could I have ten more minutes?”   I then looked at my son, “but if it’s not your time you can’t push it either because it’s amazing what you can live through.”  I don’t need my ADHD son making some impulsive choices because he suddenly thinks it’s not his time.  In that moment, I was so grateful I had built a spiritual belief in my children and during our time of loss they could find a slight sense of peace.  But I can’t use this to explain Newtown, there is no call of God, there are no loved ones surrounding the dying, there is no coming to peace with the knowledge that it is time to leave this life.  Lives were violently stolen and we can’t help but ask why would God let this happen, because that is what we teach in Sunday School.  God is taking care of you.  God is watching over you.

 So I don’t yet have my answer for my children.  I have only just begun to come up with an answer to myself and even that might change over the next few years but right now all I can conclude is that this is evil.  In the truest form and in the absolute definition of the word; This. Is. Evil.  The battle between good and evil rages within all of us; we struggle everyday between the right choices and the wrong ones.  When we let the feelings of anger, greed, and guilt, have more space in our souls than love, patience and compassion eventually those dark feelings come to take over those who are mentally compromised, those who have been wronged so badly they are not strong enough to forgive, themselves or those who have hurt them.  

 I can’t give my children a reason or a cure.  I can only tell them to love.  Love everyone you meet and treat every person with care and consideration.  Heal the souls of everyone around you with kindness, compassion and sympathy while you can.  We all have a few black spots on our hearts don’t we?  When I was a kid I kicked another kid while he was down because I was so angry.  That incident still haunts me today.  How could I have been so angry that I hurt someone?  What if that boy had too many black spots?  What if his heart got so filled with darkness that he couldn’t see good anymore.  Could we have changed things if we had noticed him sitting off by himself alone and scared?  Honestly I don’t know that we could have, but if I can give my daughter just a bit of hope that she could make this world just a little bit safer by loving and being kind to those she meets, even the kids who are not always nice to her.  Then maybe, just maybe, fear won’t take her because I have to do what I can to keep the darkness from her heart.  For a child who stresses about everything I have to give her something and as inadequate as it is, this is all I have.

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