The Beautiful Death

My friend Deirdre loved and cherished all those who crossed her path. She welcomed people from different faiths and different cultures. Her death was so amazing with people of many faiths joining together to send her on her way. I wrote this poem following that experience. The “all shall be well” is a loose copy from Hildegard of Bingen.

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The Death of De

The light is waning and the gloaming is here.
There is a hush in the turning of the earth
it holds its breath for just a moment.

We stand watch sensing each breath
matching it with our own
anxious with each pause
while darkness encompasses the room.

Her soul loosens but holds
I sign the cross on her brow and Christ is here
A Hindu friend joins and her prayers are added.
Another comes and the prayers to Allah are lifted up.

With loving hands we anoint her with sweet lotion
brought from France by another.
All faith is here, we can feel God's gentle breeze,
there is true communion

My friend is held in the arms of love
She is suspended between life and death 
through the night.

As the sun lifts itself into the heaven
love lifts her on her journey
and with the smallest wisper
she is gone.

Behind her from the air come the words...
All shall be well
and all shall be well
and all things shall be well.

 

Musings about unlimited love

no limitsThis morning someone said “love has no limits.” The idea struck me. What exactly do we mean by limitless?Does it mean that we love not matter what or that the love is as wide as the universe? I suppose it can mean either.

On the face of it,it is true. Love should have no limits. That’s when we think of unconditional love. The kind of love that keeps on loving no matter what. This is a mother who loves her child who is a serial killer. This is loving the warts and ugly temperament. This is loving the child who actually hates us.

But there are some loves that even though limitless must have constraints on them. An abused women loves her husband but needs to learn to love herself and move away from the abuse. A child will love a drug addicted parent who doesn’t care for them. That love doesn’t make the neglect forgivable. A spouse may have to divorce an alcoholic partner. The love may still be there but the situation is unmanageable.

There are cases where the love may be limitless but one sided and the relationship is fated to fail. Is it possible for the limitless love to continue? I don’t know.

love isIf we are Christian we are asked to love without reservation. Loving this way may not require us to accept the behavior associated with it. We are also asked to love ourselves and this may be the hardest thing of all.

It seems to me that to love genuinely and unconditionally we must first love and accept ourselves with all our flaws. This is what allows us to love others flaws and all. This may be love without limits.

Pets are a joy

It is impossible to say how much I love having dogs. I grew up with dogs as my mother and grandmother loved them and we always had at least one. Now we have two rescued basset hounds. For 50 years of my married life we had dachshunds. One day my son brought a sad looking basset hound to our house. A friend of his couldn’t keep the dog and my son knew that we were easy marks. Once she came into the house that was it. At the time we had two dachshunds. We didn’t really need another dog. However, she is a joy. Calm, loving and peaceful. She knows when I am stressed and will come to bond with me putting her head on my knee.

Shortly after we got Tillie we lost first one doxy and then another. We decided to adopt another basset to keep Tillie company. We ended up with Crash.

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Tillie in her usual half asleep mode

Crash was so named by his foster family after he was found by a basset rescue agency. They felt he had been hit by a car. He was emaciated, covered with fleas and ticks and had a broken pelvis. When we got him he had been treated extensively by a vet. He was better but still thin.

Crash was definitely the right name for him. He crashed into our house and life has not been the same. He has relieved me of at least six pairs of shoes until I learned to put them away properly. It was his job to take this task in hand. He succeeded. He is terrified of thunder storms and cowers by our feet. He hates for us to leave home and howls the basset howl for the neighbors to hear. While we are away he pulls towels down from the racks, rearranges all loose rugs, pulls out any laundry left on the floor of the laundry room and removes it to other places in the house.

Nothing is harmed, nothing is chewed….just moved. Crash is joy personified.

Pets are wonderful things. Whether you love dogs, cats or some other pet they bring joy to your life. They improve our health. Their love is an example to us of how God expects us to love. If you have pets I hope that they bring you as much joy as mine do.

A spiritual connection to the earth

We have had our friend, Harold Littlebird, here for the last few days. Harold’s heritage is Pueblo (I’m sorry I don’t remember more specifics) and he is an amazing potter, poet, storyteller, songwriter and singer. He is amazingly talented.

This is one of his pieces. Each piece has a story attached to it.

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He is also deeply spiritual and an amazing Christian. He sees God as both infinite and immanent. God is present with him at all times and when you are with him you can feel that presence. It is a joy to be with him.

Having him in our home is such a reminder of the things I fail to do each day to connect me with God. Silence is his friend but he can also be fun and funny.

We have other friends who are native Americans (First Nations) and I am always awed by their connection with God and the earth. We all need to learn from them. We are so often careless with our use of the resources of the earth that God has blessed us with. We are supposed to be stewards but we have so often raped the earth. Our total disregard of the fact that things are not limitless has made the decline of the earth almost inevitable. I really hope that it can be turned around and that the earth can be sustained. I worry about my grandchildren and now my great grandchild. What kind of a world have we left for them?

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I see on the web young people who are finding solutions to the problems that we have created and it gives me hope. Maybe it will take the next generations to reverse the trend. I hope so. I really hope so!

Seeing the destruction we have done makes me anxious for the future. Will we ever learn to care/

New day, new person

new dayToday I am waiting for news of the birth of my first Great Grandchild. I can’t possibly be that old. My granddaughter is in labor and her mom and her aunt are with her. They are both nurses. Her aunt is an OB nurse so I’m sure she is getting great care.

It is amazing to think that this is a new generation. One that I am unlikely to see become adult. That is such a sad thought for me but that is how life goes. I do not expect to live forever nor would I want to.

There is a pattern to life. Some Hindus believe that at each stage of our life we have certain tasks to complete. The last stage is to gain wisdom and enlightenment. I really hope that I can do that but I will have to do better than I am doing now. I do not spend enough time in silence. I don’t listen for God enough. I am terrible about turning things over to God and letting them go. I am trying and I will keep on but enlightenment seems a long way off.

At some times in my life I have had the incredible experience of sensing God’s presence. It is a mountaintop experience. Each time I spent time immersed in meditation and let myself approach God fully. I know god is there just waiting. It is up to me to seek that communion.

new day2Each day is a new day. Soon I will see a new life for my family. I think God is present in each newborn in a way that we can’t do as adults. Their connection to God is unique. They just came from His presence and can still experience the connection.

I look forward to meeting this new person and acknowledging God in his life.

Today’s relationships

My grandson is getting married this month. He and his fiance have actually been together since high school. Now both of the them are gainfully employed and have just bought a house. This event has made me think about relationships in the 21st century.

relationshipSo much has changed since I was their age. So many people live together rather than marry. I don’t know if it has to do with being unwilling to make a long term commitment or just not wanting to go through the legal issues. If there are no children involved I don’t feel as if it matters one way or another. Also, so many marriages end in divorce. Something has changed in how relationships are viewed. Does everyone think that relationships should be excitement and  passion forever? That’s not to say that some marriages have that forever but usually not all the time. Marriage is about growing into a deeper relationship. At least mine has been and I am grateful for that. There seems to be the attitude today that people begin thinking “if this doesn’t work we’ll just end it.” Starting that way puts an “if” in it from the get go.

It concerns me that the real losers today are children. Children seem to do best when parents are in a long term relationship with an eye to building something lasting. The focus on children is also part of the picture as it seems the children have become the primary people in the family. We have forgotten that a marriage needs work and time spent enriching it. Parents should be the focus. When this happens the children win. The children should be loved and cared for but not the focus of everything.

parentsI hope to write something similar to this to give to my grandson and his fiance. I plan to make my thoughts clearer in the hopes that they will start off with wide open eyes about living together “until death do us part.” The good and the bad happen but God willing your love will last.

Thank God for pets

I love my dogs. I grew up with dogs and so have had them in my home for 77 years. I don’t think that I would know how to live without them. If anyone gets to heaven it is dogs first.

For years we had Dachshunds but several years ago when we had lost one dog my son arrived at the door with at Basset a friend of his couldn’t keep. We are such suckers. If a dog comes into the house it almost never goes out. When our second dachshund crossed the rainbow bridge we adopted a second basset as companion for the first.

basset-hound-and-plants-funnyThese two are so funny. We laugh at their antics daily. They are good dogs with some quirky habits. If we leave them at home the towels are pulled from the bathroom racks when we come back. Sometimes the towels appear in the bedroom. Never damaged…just moved. There are so many toys under the piano in a bin that it is overflowing. I put them back and very quickly, with much rummaging, specific ones are retrieved and distributed around the house.

If one dog is outside and sees something to share (bark at) he/she comes in to alert the other dog to come and join in.

god smiledI could go on but you get the idea. Dogs are a gift. They are being used in so many ways to help us humans with our problems and disabilities. Their ability to hone skills that we thought were impossible seems endless. Service dogs are used to sniff out diseases, help persons with PTSD, anxiety and depression, autism and many other things.

We need to thank God for the gift of dogs and other pets who enrich our lives.