On Beauty in Sadness

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We spend much of our time pursuing happiness, joy, contentment. Peaceful bliss. But what of the experience that sadness brings? When grief descends upon us, enveloping with a haze of memories and emotions, do we try to escape its embrace? Do we turn our hearts from pain? Shelter our feelings from any knowledge of the unpleasant?

The sun blazes down. It is a scorcher of a day- 30 degrees in the city, where we find ourselves looking for one particular church. We are headed for a celebration of fifty years of married life, an occasion designed to praise the commitment two people made to forge a  jointly-lived life complete with its joys and sorrows. Complete with its highs and lows. But for today, of course, perspective is largely focused on the bliss. Attention is given to the delight found in exquisite beauty cultivated from meshing two lives into one.

These are for them the golden years. Just like the song says.

But there is something about the lyrics so sweetly sung by a daughter and her father that make me turn my eyes away. I find tears would come quickly- too easily, but for my attempt to re-focus my attention on the people around me. I scan the room while the duo at the front bring their song to a close. This music- it ignites within memories and feelings that are particularly tender and vulnerable today, a day marking another kind of anniversary. An anniversary within an anniversary.

Two months. Fifty-two years.

It suffices to say: it has been a beautiful day; but it has also been a difficult day.

I hear myself offering a word and the possibility for quenching the dark cloud: “I don’t want you to feel sad” I say to the one I love. But I wonder within the moment if this is truly wise. We must feel the melancholy that searing sadness and pain can bring. For grief is what helps us heal; it is what enables us to feel better. It is what enables us to find joy again. Rejecting those early feelings of seeming despondency so as to only accept the forced happiness we crave is to reject the necessary emotion that enables us to mend our broken hearts. Sadness serves a purpose that joy cannot: it is there to bridge the gap from one joyful moment to the next. Without the sadness, we are often stuck in stagnation. We are immobilized and halted.

We need to let ourselves feel.

Jonathan Safran Foer contends that “You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.” If we are to experience a life rich with emotion, we must allow our hearts to burst with joy when the moment decrees, and then break with sadness when we experience loss and pain. This is all part of being and becoming human. Allowing ourselves to be in the moment who we must be and yet enabling ourselves to become who we are meant to authentically be in response to what is happening in our lives.

This poetic Biblical passage says with eloquence what I am feeling tonight:

A Time for Everything

3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes Chapter 3: 1-9, NIV)

Everything is beautiful…in its time. Beauty in sorrow. Beauty in delight.

He has made both joy and sadness beautiful in their time.

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Because She Cared

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world; for indeed, that’s all who ever have.”- Margaret Mead

The writing I do is largely about my vision of how attentive care impacts within the school system. Yet in my awareness of care that I ascribe to, I truly believe care is fundamental to everything I do. If I care as a teacher, I will care as a human being in all the capacities in which I serve. I write so as to give example to a more innovative way of perceiving care as the foundation to living and learning. It has been my utmost desire to live my life according to these principles.

I wish to share with you a story, and it is a tender one for me to tell. It is a story about my grandmother and her selfless life of service. Her gift of caring for others is the legacy she leaves to me, her granddaughter. She was once a student herself, a young scholar sitting daily in a one-room schoolhouse. Perhaps there was a teacher at some point in her life who was the guiding light leading her forward. Whether this is the situation or not (I cannot ask, as she has already passed from this life to the next), she has been for me a beacon of hope. She has lived out her faith based on the following biblical principle: “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being” (NIV, 1Cor. 10: 24). Here is her story.

Born on October 3, 1920, in Cody’s New Brunswick, she was one of fourteen children. But rather than fade into the background, a face amidst the throng, she made a name for herself as being a favorite sister. A confidant, friend and caregiver. A kind soul. That care-giving would come in handy later on as she went on to be a nanny, most famously for the movie star Donald Sutherland. This experience (along with a photograph of her famous client) was her sole claim to fame. But certainly her most meaningful care-giving was saved for her own three children, one of whom—a son, was born with Down Syndrome. Little did she realize, her widespread commitment to care-giving had only just begun with tiny Eldon Berry’s birth in 1956.

For on a cold December day, thirty-six years into her vibrant life, my eight-months pregnant Aunt Jeannie— my grandmother’s oldest daughter, was driving home from her day job as a civil servant with the Government of Canada where she worked with Indian Affairs. It was a clear evening, but snow lay on the ground. She had a little economy car and visibility was quite possibly low. The doctor said later if she had have moved her head an inch to the right she would have avoided that truck’s plow which smashed through her windshield, slicing cleanly through her skull and brain. That inch— it wasn’t meant to be. Neither for her, nor for her baby. And from that moment thirty two and a half years ago, (a time when Jeannie was just about the age I am now), until she finally left this life, my aunt lived the life of an invalid. Unmoving, un-speaking, unable. She was robbed of everything save the compassionate care she would live to receive throughout the remaining days of her life.

Her primary caregiver, my grandmother, gave her life in service to my aunt’s care. She spent thirty-one years daily making trips to the various establishments (hospitals, manors, long-term care facilities) where my aunt was located over the duration of her illness. My Grammie spent thirty-one years holding her daughter’s hand, stroking her hair, wiping the crumbs from her face. Spent thirty-one years advocating for her—both within the various medical establishments and beyond. Spent thirty-one years acting as her accountant, conducting her financial business up until the age of eighty-nine years old. She spent thirty-one years of her life solely dedicated to her daughter’s well-being. My aunt received the best care of anyone in the province of New Brunswick, I am sure of it, and there are several experts to vouch for this fact. After thirty-one years of living her life shut up inside a building—living life shut up inside her head, my aunt’s body released her spirit and let it sail home. Less than one year later, my grandmother said her own farewells to this life and she flew away to join her.

My grandmother is an inspiration to me. She is one of many, but she is certainly among those I consider most influential. She wasn’t perfect- far from that ideal. But she was admirable in her own way. I hold her in the highest esteem in terms of her ability to care for those needful ones in her life. I have watched her carry out her life’s work and calling from the time I was eight years old. We spent many a day as her grandchildren walking the sterile halls of silent manors, the reverie broken by a moan or a cry from one of the residents. We spent many hours bedside, watching our grandmother hover and fuss. And in watching this unfaltering champion of her own beloved child—an unsung hero during her time here on earth, I was given an example from one of the best after which to model my own life and practice.

The life of my grandmother is a shining example of Jean Vanier’s (1998) concept of ‘becoming human’, with regards to being a care-giver; perhaps she is one of the best I might ever find. For I believe in paying tribute to those who have gone on before, we are reminded anew of why we must continue to carry the torch onwards, until at last we ourselves reach the fading light of day. We care so as to carry on the legacy. We care because the future depends on this decision. We care because we must. We care. And this care is part of what it means to become human: to compassionately extend ourselves both for the benefit of our own personal growth as well as for the betterment of others. To care both for ourselves as well as for the world and its inhabitants therein is the mandate of our heart.

For All Those Who Cannot Face Mother’s Day

When my mother turned 65, my sisters and I had pre-planned a quiet celebration for her at a local café called Samuel’s.  We met on a dreary Sunday afternoon for chai lattes, specialty coffees and cheesecake, while rain misted the windows and sidewalks outside the old heritage building housing the restaurant.  Upon leaving, we huddled together in the parking lot for a picture of this momentous occasion, quietly celebrated between three sisters, one sister-in-law and our beloved mother.  Shortly thereafter, we left and went our separate ways- unaware of what was to transpire just mere hours later.

That evening, my mother received a phone call from the manor where her sister and mother both resided, living side-by-side in adjacent rooms.  Her one and only remaining sibling, her sole (soul) sister, was physically very low.  Would she please come?  There were no guarantees of how much time was remaining.  My mom gathered up her belongings and left the next morning for Fredericton, and for the remaining two weeks prior to her sister’s home-going to Heaven, my mother stayed by her side.  Holding her hand.  Rubbing lotion into her soft skin. Adjusting pillows and uttering soft words of comfort.  Loving her sister the best way she knew how.

Little did my mama know that not even one year later- this time again just weeks prior to her 66th birthday, she would again make the trek to that same New Brunswick manor.  This time in the hopes that she would arrive in time to bid a tearful goodbye to her mother who had sadly fallen ill over the winter months and rather quickly took a turn for the worse mid-March.  Sorrowfully, Mom was not to be there for this quiet home-going.  She arrived to a closed door shut on an empty room, no welcoming smile to greet her.

All was silent.

I can’t imagine what that must have felt like to have seen the door shut like that.  To have realized that behind that closed door was no longer that comfort of the living. No tender smile or warm touch.  To my mom, there was the realizing that this chapter of her life- life lived with the constancy of family and heritage: it was now over.  Every one of her immediate family members- the ones she grew up with, lived with and loved- were now gone.  And all that awaited her upon arriving at the residence she had visited for so many years was the shell of the one she had forever before known as MOTHER.

This Sunday will be her first ever Mother’s Day lived without her mom.  I really can’t yet even imagine what this must be like.

There are so many people grieving the loss of a loved one in these difficult days leading up to Mother’s day.  There are children wondering how they will navigate the days leading up to this hugely celebrated holiday with its focus on cards, crafts and trinkets all made for mothers.  There are teenagers trying to process their feelings about what this all means and young adults trying to be there for their siblings in ways that a mother would, even though that is not entirely their burden to carry.  There are grown women who still crave their mother’s words of wisdom on the other end of the phone line or who yearn for the physical presence of their mother at the kitchen table; and there are husbands who are faced with being both mother and father to their Littles and Bigs, in the wake of their chosen partner in life’s passing to the Great Beyond.

How do we as people do these hard things?

Jason Tippetts, husband to Kara Tippetts of the beautiful blog Mundane Faithfulness wrote transparently these raw and beautiful words about life and its ebb and flow for those left behind:

“These are the events that I dread. I remember asking Kara to help me plan this year of firsts. I assumed a long and hard conversation, I would take notes and then feel better about the plan. But instead Kara’s answer was, “You will be great. You will know what to do!” Not the answer I wanted but it was the answer I needed. I needed to know that I could fumble through this, that I would do okay. That I could process through decisions without her input. I needed to know that whatever we as a family decided to do was okay. I so appreciate that freedom she gave me.”

To all those who are hurting right now and who dread this upcoming Sunday of celebration for one reason or another, know that whatever you decide to do (so as to pass the day, celebrate the day, commemorate the day or skip the day entirely for this year) it is all okay.

There is no right or wrong way to work through the pain of these difficult years of firsts.  You will know what to do when the day comes.  Do it and feel no guilt for your decision.

I know that there is no way to compensate for the loss of a loved one- no one human being can ever take the place of another precious soul.  But may we all be cognizant that there is much pain and heartache around us.  Sometimes the most beautiful of holidays can evoke the deepest anguish.

To all those out there who are hurting this Mother’s Day, may you find peace and strength and comfort from Above.

Love and light and hope to your and yours.

We can do hard things…

It is hard not to succumb to the sadness. Challenging not to give in to the fear, letting it wash all over us. It would be much easier to sink deeper and deeper. Because everywhere you turn, there it is. Pain. Sorrow. Grief. Trouble. Distress.
It’s there, wherever you turn.
And days like this one, when we are reminded yet again that life is not fair, that life can seem to cheat us of what we wish to have- it’s days like these that we feel it the most. Despair. And we just would rather lie down and let it beat us than try and stand and fight it off. Fighting’s too hard sometimes. It require too much of us. For it requires planning and a vision- it requires a revelation and the hope of a promise. Fighting means believing. And believing means hope.
Sometimes it’s hard to get there- hope seems too far away. It seems elusive. Like sands in an hourglass.
But hope is what we crave- it always will be.
And I was reminded today- on a day when I woke feeling like hope was at its faintest, farthest point…I woke feeling that hope was too far out of reach. On this very day when I was at the lowest,I was reminded by someone very young, of a very great truth. That truth is this. We might be down, but we are not defeated. We might be disadvantaged, but we are not without aspiration. We might despair, but we are not left without expectation. We are able- we just need to believe it.
Because we can do hard things.

WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.

Isn’t that incredible? WE CAN. And I was reminded of this great truth today for the millionth time.  Just when I was nearly about to let go of believing. We can do this life. We can do hard things.

We can face adversity and come out stronger.
We can deal with hardship and thrive.
We can go through extreme difficulty and persevere.
We can suffer misfortune and live to tell the tale.
We can endure harsh conditions and grow tenacity.
We can look danger in the face and say the words: Love is stronger.
We can win over fear.

And we can do this- we can do these hard things because we’re able. We’ve been enabled.
My source of strength is drawn from the One Who gives limitless strength. And because He’s able, so am I. His Promises are sure: I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me. And when the words say ALL, I believe it.
I can face uncertain days, live with pain and suffering, accept the life I have been given and know for sure that this life was meant to be lived by me. This way. I can know for sure that I was meant to thrive, not survive.
And all because I believe. I BELIEVE. And because I believe in One who is able. So then am I.

I can do hard things.
And so can you.

So let’s just live it, like we know it’s really true.

You don’t know what you’ve got. Until it’s gone.

I’m doing double-duty tonight.  Husband lies feverishly curled up in the fetal position on the couch under that stringy, blue blanket that has seen better days.  While the girls and I tiptoe past like fervent mice on a scavenger hunt.   Then, on up the stairs to bedtime routines and tuck-ins.  I haven’t done the bedtime gig solo for a while.  Makes you appreciate what you have…a  capable, competent life-partner to share the load.

You don’t know what good things you have until they’re gone.

We brush teeth, wash hands, taking care with the green marker-puppet drawn on one set of fingers.  We scrub until most of it is rinsed away.  Green soap suds, washed away.  Another day gone.  Clothing is slipped off, pajamas pulled on in their place.  Four stories are selected, two picks from her and two from me.  And then the prayers.

Ah.  The prayers.  They are either prolific or torturous.

Last night’s prayers killed me.  She held her hands pressed tightly together in the iconic prayer clasp.  Her cherubic pose, one for the record books.  This is not our norm, so don’t be fooled.  Most nights, there are pleas from the Mama for her to co-operate and settle down, and “would-you-please-say your-prayers”.  But tonight, she obliges without a fuss.  I leave her in her cozy bed to go to the others.  Same thing, different faces.

The Older One has a tummy ache.  The magic bean bag is fetched, heated, delivered.

I read to the girls from a Christmas chapter book.  Because I have made this the one chapter book I will finish this year.  Even if it is January.  Christmas is still very much a topic of conversation in our home.  Youngest informs me she already knows what she wants next Christmas.  A train set, a camera and a surprise.  Her sister tells her to wait for her birthday.  We finish the book.  Check.  I can cross that off the to-do list.  But it really isn’t a chore.  I enjoy this time spent with my head stuck in a good book.  Making it come alive for my children.

That’s what readers do.  Make it all come alive.  Even for the moment.  Because the smallest of moments are those we often remember best.  And they slip away so quickly.

You really don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

I lay down with the Boy.  We talk about this and that.  Moments later, I am tucking him in and then that the door too is closed.  Another page in the chapter of our lives turned.  Did I make this day count?  Was it all worthwhile?  Did I treasure what I had?

No regrets tonight.  But I reflect on this: a wake for a woman I never knew.  Late afternoon, I watch as a family celebrates the life of their mama in stills.  Black and whites.  Technicolor.  I would’ve never noticed either had the circumstances been different.  Had I arrived a half hour earlier.

We drive the short distance travelling winter roads that takes us to the funeral home.  Predictably, we’re late to the wake.  We nearly miss it.  “Should we turn back,” I ask.  “It’s nearly four.  The wake…it’s over soon….probably not worth it to drive in,” I add.

We arrive to an empty parking lot, but on a whim, go inside.  Just in case. The family is gathered around a screen while pictures fade in and out.  Three boys, grown men now.  The pain evident on their faces, for they are still boys inside.  A mother knows.  I understand. They are their mother’s sons.

The black and whites are simply captivating.  I am drawn in, wanting to know “with whom” and “where” and “when”.  What was her story?  The moments she made count.  Her life in pictures: a reminder to the living to breathe in the here and now.  Seize the day.  What a family has left when the music fades and the song is done is never enough.  But a picture counts for something.

Photographs.  Those precious moments, preserved for posterity.  They tell a story.  They breathe life into the desolate and bring hope to the grieving.  And these happy memories are only possible when one has invested the time in those smallest of moments.  The simple joys that happen.  Inside a day, inside a moment, inside a memory.

We don’t know what we’ve got.  Until it’s gone.

The Beauty of Today (Living in the Moment)

As a mom, I feel pressure to capture and preserve every waking moment of my four children’s lives. To photograph, video-tape, blog, anecdote; to keep a baby calendar, baby-record book, family scrapbook, and personal diary; to Facebook, Pinterest, Tweet and Instagram for the love of my children; and to do things the old-fashioned way: write them down on whatever piece of paper I might find stashed away in my purse.  In years past, I had been known to date, detail and file photographs of my little ones the same day as they were printed.  I have also lost sleep so as to record baby milestones in four separate Winnie-the-Pooh record books.  I have written blog posts into the wee hours of the night, trying to encapsulate every detail of an event involving my precious children.  And I have written weight, height and head circumference numbers on the back of receipts found inside my purse, only to discover these jottings months later, realizing I forgot to write down which child the stats belonged to.   In my best efforts not to forget the here and now, I might just have missed at times, the most important part of the present:  the beauty of reveling in and appreciating the simplicity of big and small moments.

Tuning out the noisy demands of technology, and instead allowing time spent with my children to be the focal point of my heart.

A few short years ago, a mother I was acquainted with at the time experienced a house fire.  When I went to visit her later in the afternoon, she was understandably in a blurry daze.  Her house was still smoldering in the distance, and she was left to pick up the pieces and forge ahead for the sake of her family and her children.   What she was most bothered by that infamous afternoon, secondary to the obvious loss of her beloved home and belongings, was the destruction of her three sons’ baby record books.  Although her boys were safe and sound and there was no loss of life, it was reasonable for her to grieve the cost of losing this most precious treasure: the chronicle of her children’s lives up to that fateful experience she was living that very moment.  It was heart-wrenching to watch her sadness.

And I understood on many levels what she was feeling.  I knew from my own record-keeping the memories those pages held and the time invested in chronicling those recollections.  Precious memories: that first of all photographs- the ultra-sound picture.  The miniscule hospital bracelet with baby’s vital stats.  The stories lovingly crafted while reminiscing and detailing the events of a baby shower or first birthday party.  The health record, complete with immunizations and reactions.  That first curl, snipped and carefully sealed inside an envelope.  A tiny hand-print and foot print sealed in black ink.

Priceless reminders, these icons of the baby years.  They are irreplaceable.  But they are merely symbols of life, and thankfully for this friend, the lives they stood for were still with her.

Another friend and I were speaking a few years later, this time meeting up in a grocery isle at Walmart.  The conversation again centered around loss and symbols, only this time the loss was the child.  As precious as the remaining symbols were to this mother- the little sleepers, the photographs, the receiving blankets, they could not replace the child they represented.  They were but painful reminders of what could have been.  A life abrupted.

As much as the chronicling of my own children’s lives means to me, the records I’ve kept are disposable.  The pictures fade, the plaster cracks, the baby clothes I carefully washed and folded away are all now musty, in spite of my best efforts.  Even the memories of time well spent fade and dissolve a bit in the passage of time. But what remains, in spite of my best efforts to preserve all that matters to me, are the relationships forged.   The things that stay intact in my mind are the feelings.   For I know at the end of the day, I may not remember everything about today, but I have carved out time to be part of my children’s lives.  And they know my love through my use of time.  Watching them play soccer after school, sitting side-by-side practicing piano, lovingly sudsing up fine baby hair with fragrant shampoo.  Holding hands, kissing cheeks, family hug fests.  Building ‘I love you’ into the actions, not just the words.  And for every parent who has suffered a loss, from one extreme to the next: know this.  You built love into your child and that is the greatest document to a life well-lived that there ever will be.

Time invested is a testament to the very essence of love.

So when I start to feel guilt that I haven’t updated my children’s  baby books, I gently remind myself that it is not the updates that count: it’s the beauty of the moment.  Although I still feel there is far too much pressure on parents to record every detail of our lives for infinity, I’m not advocating that we stop altogether.  We live in a digital age in which pictures are posted to a global community within seconds of being taken, where posts and statuses and blogs are updated at times on a minute by minute basis and where video is live streamed.  And the advances of technology have made it so much easier for parents to keep a chronicle of their children’s lives.  So I’m not going to stop record-keeping:  I’m just going to pull my head out from behind the camera and watch my kids with the naked eye rather than always observing them from through the lens of a camera.

Over the years, I have been inundated with ways in which to preserve today’s memories for future generations.  But there is no time like the present in which to really live.  And I say these are the moments that count.

When joy and grief collide…

Supper menu: spare-ribs slow roasted in the oven, turnip and potato with brown sugar and butter, cabbage casserole with tomato sauce and carrots.  As an after-thought, I throw in the left-over fish sticks and oven fries from lunch, just in case.  I am home alone, and the house is so unnaturally quiet. I stand at the counter and peel the potatoes for supper; the sun is streaming through the windows.  It is a glorious winter day, and the world is crisp, fresh and beautiful.

So it seems to me.  But images like these can be misleading.

My mind drifts to the events that unfolded this afternoon.  A little boy crying, weeping for the passing of a grandfather.  The tragic loss of a life cut short, and the disbelief and shock that follow.  It is hard for anyone to accept tragedy when a life is snuffed out, but for a child, it is doubly wounding.

I watched him crawl up on his mother’s lap, and her arms envelope him.  His shoulders stoop over from the load he carries.  Too heavy a burden for a child to bear.

We question “why” a good God can allow such pain.  Yet, He does and His goodness is unchanging in the light of our suffering.  He is God, and we are not.  We are the work of His hands, and blessed to be called sons and daughters.

In my mind, I picture how it was just hours ago.  The boy, as he was led from the service, is emotional. It is hard to watch him stumble from the sanctuary.  He is led by his mother, and trailing behind is a little sister too young yet to understand.  I am drawn to follow them in the hopes that I can help.

I find them in the nursery.  The little girl is talking about her grandmother’s hair sticking up when she wakes in the morning.  “I can spell ‘pool’,” she says to me.  She reaches out to touch her brother’s head, and pulls on the mop of hair that covers his eyes. He does not return to her much in the way of attention.

I sit down beside him and put my arms around his shoulders.  I have little comfort to bring, and so I offer him a drink and a distraction.  I know this: distractions are just temporary band aids that soothe the soul like pain relievers.  You need another one shortly thereafter.

“Do you have a dog?” I ask.  “Would you like to colour a picture?”  “Can I get you a snack?”

Later, I think of this young boy while I peel potatoes.  I think of my own children.  How would I handle these hard things?  How would it be for my own to experience loss and suffering?

We want to protect, and yet we cannot.  God can, and chooses not to.  These are mysteries too great for the human mind to understand, but like a child we choose to trust.  Trust that a good God knows best.  Trust that a good God can heal the wounds that run deep.  He can hold us in His arms of love and safety and lead us through the storms of life.  He can allow us to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  We need not fear evil.

Much later, we are outside under the stars.  If it was a glorious day, it is an even more spectacular night.  There is a dazzling display in the heavens above as a shooting star falls behind our steel shed, much to the delight of my husband, the aspiring astronomer.

We head to the local sledding hill and hit the slope.  Everyone is enjoying the fun and excitement of playing outside after dark.

My youngest takes a blue sled down the hill, and she screams with delight as she spirals off down the icy path.   I do not see her fall off the sled at the bottom.  There is a spotter, and I am alerted that she might be in trouble at the bottom of the hill.  I try to place her, but it is dark, and the black of night surrounds her.  Yet, I hear her cries.  She is calling her Mama from the bottom of the hill, and I run to her.

“I lost my boot,” she sobs.  But by the time I arrive, it has already been found and placed on the cold toes exposed just moments ago.  There are a few more tears, and she regains the courage to make the long trek back up to the top.  I walk beside her all the way.

How like God to show me that I am like my own child.  I easily fall and lose my way.  And don’t we all. Yet, He does not prevent the falls of life, for they are as much a part of the adventure as the ride itself.  Still, He is there at a moment’s call to walk beside us from the bottom of the hill back to the crest where we will doubtless get back on and take another ride.

We make it back up to the top, she and I. In no time at all, she jumps on the same offending sled that led to the previous spill.  I join her this time making sure to hold on to the edge of her sled while I use my free hand to push off from the top. We are off like a flash down the hill with no worry about what lies in store at the bottom.  It is the ride that makes it all worthwhile.