Joy for the Friendships


There is a scene in the musical Les Miserables when a young man is mourning the tragic loss of his friends in a battle.  He sings of the Empty Chairs and Empty Tables, those places where once they all sat together as friends, planning their futures, planning how they would fight in the revolution, singing and drinking, not knowing what fate awaited them.  

I’m not one of those revolutionaries.  Far from it.  Yet the grief he speaks of in that scene, the unspeakable loss, is a sorrow that, as I write this, I know others are walking through.

From my childhood home came news in the last couple of days of a terrible auto accident and the untimely death of a mother and daughter I have known for a very long time.  And I’ll be honest with you; though I have not had contact with this family for a few years, the shock and sadness have really knocked me down.  It’s hard to think of anything else.  

There will now be a huge gap in the lives of those left behind.  Something as simple as an empty coat hook, or a task not done, or who knows what….simple little things will trigger the grief and suffering all over again.  And my heart goes out to all.  To all who are feeling the loss of those they loved so dearly.

Seeing how this tragedy was really keeping me from doing much, I knew I needed to act. 

I took time to meet with a friend here locally who is a quilter, and she is teaching me how to do paper piecing.  It was great to have my hands on something, doing a creative task.  I am a firm believer that art saves; doing something creative gets us in touch with a vital part of who we are and rescues us in some way.

Later I called my other dear friend from my hometown.  We talked for a long time about life.  There were tears, and laughter, and comparing notes about being grandmothers now, and just the sound of her voice lifted me like you can not imagine.  

The two of us would have gone bike riding with this friend who died.  Each of us would have held her daughter when she was a baby.   We shared this common bond of growing up in the same place, and those memories today became a soothing balm for our hurting hearts. 

happy days

We all went to the same school, and I’m pretty sure we may have used this same reader in first grade (or one similar) to learn to read.  

It’s the conversation with my friend tonight that remind me of those carefree times of childhood, those bike rides, the hair done in two pony tails, and slumber parties and then boys and high school.  Gone so fast.  But the memories became more of that healing.

How do I end this post?

Not with sadness, but with joy.  

Joy that I knew this woman and her family, her daughter, her husband (who remains in the hospital), and another daughter who lives with her own family now.  

Joy for the friendships that were, 
the friendships that are, 
and the friendships that are to come.

Splashing in the Mud on a Winter Day

A winter day, a sunny afternoon, snow melting, and a park to explore.
A daughter, a grandson, and me with my camera.
The perfect combination.
The giggles, the hiding, the “hey, Mom!”, the simple pleasure of just being a boy.
My grandpa used to tell me that his light meter 
(which was separate from the camera) 
would let him know if I needed to wash my face. 
I held my camera close to my grandson’s face 
and told him that the camera could tell me 
if his face was dirty.  
I think he believed me….
Splashing in the mud on a winter day.
With grandma and her dirty-face-detecting-camera at the ready.
This is that part where I swoon….

Seeing through the tears

Mums on the table

Blurred images are not something I usually post here.  I like those that are focused or at least give you a sense of the depth of field…photographically speaking.

However…I am not speaking as a photographer today.  

I chose this image because it more accurately represents my vision today: a bit fogged, rather blurred, and maybe just watery because of all the tears I have cried.  

Just when I think I have regained some control the tears come again.

Mark conducted his last worship service here this morning.  He cried from the first moments, from his first words, and that means we all cried along with him.  I had begun my tears earlier this morning as I wrote a note to my dear friend.

Goodbye is never easy.  Hello is much preferred.  (A card I received a couple weeks ago was all about “goodbye” but the word on the front said “badbye”.How I understand that word now!)

Yesterday I was asked by a very special friend to photograph her artful decorations that she spent hours preparing for a wedding reception.  This pot of mums you see here was part of that.  She and I had worked together for several years in the same office, our cubicles occupying the same room.  We found that creating art was a good release for each of us in our own way, and over time we shared each others projects in photos and fun conversation.  

It was really cool to see her finished product at the reception venue.  When I was finished taking photos we said our official goodbye…and cried.   

Then I participated in a “Paint and Partake” event at another friend’s home last night.  Good food, lots of fall colors, painting an image of a fall tree, and so much good conversation and laughter.  I came home with a painting that I will call “The Farewell Tree” because I know I won’t be painting for a while.

Unless you count painting the walls of our new home.  There will be lots of that.

In my crazy way of looking at life I see that this all connects.  Creating friendships, sharing meals, saying the words from the heart that tell what we mean to each other.  Painting art and enjoying the process.  Perhaps those connections come because we are being our true selves in those times, living from a place of love, listening quietly to the nudges of our hearts.

And then there is the phone call from the new friends in that new place that came later on.  In that new place there are people making preparations for our arrival.  A yard is being mowed, weeds pulled, bushes trimmed, garden spot being tended to, and loving prayerful thoughts being uttered.  They know that today is a tough day for us while they simultaneously are anxious for our arrival there.

My vision is kind of blurred today, yes. 

This image keeps coming to mind like that in a science fiction show: a person is reaching through a wall that looks like liquid silver, touching it ever so carefully because they are not sure what it will do.   And I’m that person. Standing on one side, in the close of a chapter of a book, tentatively reaching through that substance and touching the other side…turning to read the first page of that new chapter.  

Seeing through the tears I see that this is a beautiful place we will leave.  And we will see much of the same beauty and love, possibly through more tears, when we reach our destination.  

When you next hear from me it will be from our new home.  
Please keep us in your thoughts.
 ~ Deb ~

For this new day

imperfect flower

Note to self…

Take a deep breath and face this day. Be open to each moment.  Don’t try to figure out what is going to happen. Stop analyzing what came before.  As so many have said before you, this moment is brand new.

Be real. Be you. Be kind.
Most of all, be kind to yourself.  Remember to breathe.

Remember that no one is perfect. All those little imperfections are part of our beauty.

Photo edited in Picasa using ‘pencil sketch’ feature.