Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Hot Air Dream

I have a dream... It involves hot air... a lot of hot air.

The dream started with my Dad and I.  We both wanted to go for a balloon ride together.  We had it on our to do list.  There are some things in life that don't make it off the to do list.  This was one of them.

The last time Dad and I talked about going for a balloon ride was the month before he passed away.  He was sick, but the dream was still there.  I told him we could get a balloon company to come to the farm and even if I had to wheel him out to the flight pad, I would do it.  I wanted to see the dream come  true.  He said that would cost too much money.  He was right.  I knew it...but the dream of flying with my Dad didn't cost anything.

After Dad passed away I still had the dream.  I had mentioned to my nephews about going for a balloon ride as a memory trip.  That was five years ago and it was still too much money.   But the dream didn't die. 

I mentioned it again to my nephews this week.  The dream is still there and I still want to soar about the earth.  I would be looking at three to four hundred dollars a head.  Dad was right.  It is too much money.  Is it worth it... for a half an hour in a basket... for $1200????  I wish it was.  But it doesn't make it up high on the priority list.

So if I am going to put my hot air dream back on a list, what list does it go on? .. on my bucket list, my wish list on my prayer list?

Ben, Sean:

If all three of us dream hard, maybe we can fly one day.  We will take a picture of Grandpa along and remember him as we soar over the city... or the countryside... which ever way the wind takes us. 

 As for now... let's book that trip to the golf course.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"Wake me up, Jesus."

I wrote a story a few years back when I still lived in Calgary.  The story was a conversation I had with Jesus.  Heaven was the setting and the conversation took place after I had committed suicide.  The story was entitled "Walking off the field."  (click on the link to be connected to the blog post.)  

I wanted to address the subject of suicide and what would possibly be Jesus' response to his child after such a tragic end to life.  For someone so familiar with depression, I have also been familiar with suicidal thoughts.  I understand what it is like to feel like there is no purpose in life.  I understand the desire to leave everything on earth behind and pursue a life with no pain and no tears.  Thankfully enough for me and for those who love me, I never acted on those thoughts.  I don't think I ever had the courage to see it through.

I was thinking about my conversation with Jesus again.  This time it wasn't after a successful suicide.  It was after a death that I had no control of.  I have often wondered about that moment. Following is the conversation that I wrote called : "Wake me up, Jesus!"  

Please note:  My understanding and imagination of Heaven has changed in the last five years.  You may notice that difference when you read "Walking off the field"                                                

Wake me up, Jesus!

Falling asleep... that is how Jesus called death in this world.  To fall asleep in one world would indicate I can awake in another.  What that world would be is  yet to be known.  Is it a new Heaven or a new Earth?  To awake in the new world, where would I awake?  I would like to imagine myself on a grassy lakeshore surrounded by the sweet smell of wild flowers.  I would hear the movement of the water lapping on the shore from the gentle breeze that caressed its surface. 

J: Ruby.

The sound of His voice drifted in and out of my subconscience mind.  I knew that voice.

J: Ruby.

I had heard the sound of my name on His breath before .  It was more of a whisper then, not as clear as I was hearing Him now.

J: Ruby... you can wake up now.

R: I know you

J: Yes, you do.

R: I am dreaming.  I must be dreaming.  But I don't remember falling asleep.

J: What do you remember?

R: Driving.  I remember driving.

J: You were.

I sat up and glanced at my surroundings.  It was beautiful.  I was lying on a mossy patch  on a hill overlooking a beautiful green coloured lake, reminiscent of the copper tinted waters I had seen before in Banff National Park.  The landscape was speckled with wild flowers... colours of red, blue, yellow and lavender. I saw hills across the lake, in the distance, covered in evergreens. 

R: Where am I?  I have never had such a beautiful dream.

J: If this were a dream, you would be in the middle of your most creative imagination.

R: I have imagined a place much like this, but the beauty is so much more than I could have ever imagined. 

J: Ruby.

R: Yes.

J: You aren't dreaming.  This is very real.

I looked at the lake shore .  All the trees lined the shore were full of life.  There was no dead wood to see. I perused the banks and the grassy hill.  I could see a perfection in the creation before me. I looked back at the One who had awakened me. 

J: What are you seeing, Ruby?

R: Perfection, flawless perfection.

J: That is what We created in the beginning, that is what it is here.

R: If this is real, not a dream... am I...?

J: Yes, child. 

R: Dead?

J: To those who knew you in your life before... Yes.

R: I don't live anymore?

J: You live, but you live here now. 

R: Death, A doorway to life.  I wrote a poem about that once.

J:  "Death is but a doorway that leads the lover home."

R: Yeah, that one.  I wrote so many.  I can't remember them all. 

J:  I liked your poetry.

R:  Thank you.  For someone so challenged in the realm of communication, it was a very helpful way of getting my thoughts out. 

My head hung as I thought in that moment of the one I left behind.  Remembering the feeling of loosing someone, I thought of how he must be feeling at the loss of his wife.  This was not an easy road for anyone.  It would not be easy for him.

J: You are happy to be here, but not happy to be here without him.

R:  I didn't want to be the first one to go.

J:  You would have chosen to spare him the pain of losing you?

R: Yes. I would have chosen to endure the pain of losing him to keep him from feeling the pain of my death.

J: It wasn't your choice.

R: What happened?

J: Is the knowledge of the event important to you now?

R: Yes, I want to know what he is facing now.

J: He is facing a lot of things right now.  He just lost his wife in a car accident.  He is in pain, but he is not alone.

R: I still don't understand.

J:  Do you want to understand?

R: Yes, I want to.  This is the place where I get to see clearly, right?

J: Yes.  Come with me to the lake shore.

He took me by the hand and we walked down the bank.  There was no beach, but a pebbly  bank.  The collection of rocks was so diverse.  I remember as a child, the fascination I had with collecting rocks of different sizes and colours.  Even as an adult, I had mixed rocks with my flowers and an ornamental display.  Rocks were something of a gemstone to me.  And instead of the much publicized streets of gold... I was walking with Jesus on a beautiful rock bed. 

He picked up a small flat stone and gave it to me. 

J:  Here... let's see how far you can skip it.

I must have looked puzzled.  I looked at the stone and looked back at my new companion.  I had been so focused at taking in the surroundings that I didn't notice until that moment the one stood on the river bank with me.  Every picture I had of Jesus in my mind (except for one) had him dressed in a long white robe and sandles.  There he stood in blue jeans and a white t-shirt and bare feet.  I remembered back to that time when that was the exact image I had created for the actor that portrayed Him in a one-act play that I had written and directed. 

J: Well, are you going to skip the stone or just stand there and admire my Levi's? 

He laughed and picked up another rock much like the one he had given me.  1-2-3-4-5-6 times the rock skipped when He threw it on the water. 

J: Your turn. 

I took the stone and threw it as best as I could remember.  1-2-3 times it skipped before sinking in the water. 

J:  It must have been the stone.  Your form is excellent.  

R: Why...

J:  The most asked three letter word. 

R:  Why blue jeans?

J:  I might ask you that?  You were the director.  You did the costume selection. 

R:  It seemed appropriate for the day and age I lived in.  No one complained. 

J:  Artistic interpretation.

R: I guess.  It just seemed to fit the spirit of the play.

Jesus picked up another stone and skipped it a little farther this time.  1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.  

J: Do you still want answers?  Sometimes it only takes a game of stone skipping to make someone forget their need for answers.

R: I guess I don't need them.  I trust you even if those questions go unanswered.

J:  Even now?

R: Even now.

It was then I noticed he was carrying a book in his hand.  He showed me the book cover.  I smiled.  It was mine.  It was the book of poetry that I had published in my fortieth year - "Still Broken". 

J:  Tell me about your favourite poem in here.  

He ruffled through the pages.

R:  I have a few.  "Provider of Peace", "Moulder of the Sunset" are very special, because you helped me create them.  Which ones are Your favourite, if you don't mind me asking?

J: Are you looking for approval?

R: I don't think so.  Am I?

J: To answer your question.  I liked them all.  They came from your heart and your life.  You are precious to me and what comes out of your heart is also precious.  Back to you... what other poem is extra special for you.

R: "Crossing Jordon" is one of my favourites. The poem I wrote for my Dad before he passed... ah.... before he came here.

J:  It was extra special that you could read it to him while he was still able to listen.

I thought of my dad.  If I was dead and this was life after death, then I would be able to see him.  I would be able to see a lot of people I had loved and lost.

J: You are thinking of your father.  You would like to see him... And you will.  Time is not a restraint here.  This is Eternity.  You will see the ones who came here before you, but you will be surprised at who you will see next.

R: I am enjoying seeing You.  You are the One I wanted to see the most.

J:  Remember what I just said about time not being a restraint here?

R: I heard that, but all I have known is time.  It is hard for me to understand existence without the restraint of time.

J:  Let me show you someone who is as anxious to see you as you are to see him.

R:  Dad?  I have missed him so much.

J:  No, not your Dad.  Turn around and look who is coming.

I turned around and looked to see who Jesus was talking about.  I looked and I saw someone I hadn't seen for only a few minutes, not a few years.  It was my husband.  He was coming toward us.  I wanted to run toward him, but I couldn't move from Jesus's side.  I just stood and watched as the other love of my life walked closer to me.  

J:   He lived on for a while after he lost you to death.  It was painful for him, but he had me with him and the help of close friends and family.  He waited until I brought him here.  Life as you once knew on Earth is over.  Those you left behind are here too.  Time as you once knew is no longer.  My Father has set things right.

I sat on this story for a while.  I actually started writing it last year.  But thinking about yesterday's events brought me back to this post.  
(see previous post for that story "If Tomorrow Never Comes")

If Tomorrow Never Comes

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.         James 4:13

 Take a look and listen to this YouTube clip. (Have a tissue handy, just in case.) Vlad Gherman - "If Tomorrow Never Comes" (cover) in "Pariu cu viata"

  Now the story...

 Fatal car/motorcycle accident near Leduc

 Woman driving motorcycle dies at scene Fatal car/motorcycle accident west of Leduc on Saturday afternoon. A woman is dead after a car/motorcycle collision west of Leduc on the afternoon of Saturday, July 7. The crash occurred just before 4 p.m., at the intersection of  Highway 39 and 60. When emergency personnel arrived at the scene, they discovered both vehicles in the middle of the intersection. Paramedics tried to save the motorcyclist, but the woman succumbed to her injuries at the scene. The driver of the car sustained minor injuries. 

 “Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in this collision” says Corporal Jeffery Fox of the Leduc RCMP. “A traffic analyst has been contacted and the investigation is on-going”. Once the investigation is complete, charges may be laid, he said. 

Constable Drew Burchett of the Leduc RCMP says that at the time of the collision, visibility and road conditions were excellent. The name of the deceased is not being released, pending notification of next of kin.

That was the brief article about the accident that I pulled from on line.  This is what I saw. 

 Manfred had just dropped me off at Crystal Glass in Leduc to pick up my truck.  It was getting a windshield replacement.  Manfred went straight home, but I detoured to Walmart to get some groceries.     I took a little extra time to pick up some summer wear.  We were going to a birthday bash for one of the band members that evening and I wanted something cool to wear. 

I texted Manfred that I was heading home at 3:44.  I was already heading westbound on Highway 39 en route to Calmar when an ambulance came into view in my rear view mirror.  I pulled over to let him pass.  As I approached the intersection of 39 and 60 (the turn off to Devon), I noticed flashing red lights.  As I neared the intersection, I came upon the crash site.  There were no police at the scene yet, just two ambulances.  No one was directing traffic, but the east bound traffic was stopped while the westbound traffic was easing around the crash.  

As I drove past I saw the motorcycle in the centre of the intersection.  The paramedics had the biker on a stretcher.  It didn't look good at that point.  I just continued on to Calmar.  I hadn't notice what the other vehicle looked like then,  I just had the picture of the banged up motorcycle in my head. 

I got home and had a bath.  Manfred and I left the house around 5:15.  The plan was to stop in Devon for a quick bite to eat before heading out to the birthday celebration. 

As we neared the intersection there was a long line of traffic waiting to go through. By this time, the police were there directing traffic around the crash site.  Manfred mentioned that they had to do a scene investigation, that would explain why it wasn't cleaned up yet.  We weren't able to do a left hand turn on to 60, so we had to drive by, turn around and come back.  It was then that we saw the car and what was obviously the reason for the accident.  

The car would have been coming from Calmar going to Devon.  It would have been turning left on to 60 when the motorcyclist came through the intersection westbound from Leduc at highway speed.  The right front side of the car was where the impact was.  So whoever was driving the car was turning into oncoming traffic.  That oncoming traffic was a motorcycle.  

As the article states, it was a beautiful day.  There were no visibility issue.  

"Some one's daughter... some one's wife... some one's mother... "  My husband said something to that effect.   But due to a spontaneous shopping spree... it wasn't his wife.  

Again I am reminded that I don't have tomorrow.  And I am thankful that God has kept me alive for one more day,,,

One more day for me to tell my husband how much I love him.
One more day for me to wake up beside him. 
One more day.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

God's Fireworks

Last night my husband and I were camping out in our tent that I have erected in the yard.  We set up his Mac and watched the movie 2012.  This is the second time we have seen this movie.  If you haven't seen it, it is about the destruction of the planet on the day that the Mayan calendar ends... December 21, 2012. I like the movie for its action adventure, but wonder if it drives fear into people about the end and what that is going to look like.

There were sounds of fireworks all around us.  It was Canada Day yesterday, people in our town like to celebrate with fireworks.  I peeked through the screen window of the tent and caught a brief glimpse of the colourful explosion.  I couldn't see much of the firework display, but what I saw was more beautiful.  In the distant sky, on a perfectly calm night, I saw lightning.  It was a quiet display at first.  Just bright flashes and no thunder.  The leaves on the trees were barely moving.

 "God's Fireworks." I thought to myself.

  "They are beautiful" I whispered.

 God was the only one to hear my whispers.  My husband was already asleep.

 "Thank you" I said in a hushed voice.

 Not once during the quiet display did I consider waking my husband with the news of an oncoming storm.  It was perfectly dry during the celestial fireworks.  We could have packed up the bedding and moved back into the house.  We would be somewhat sheltered from the elements in the tent, but it is very difficult to sleep in a tent when there is lightning, thunder and pouring rain, which is exactly what followed.

I wanted to run back into the house, but my husband had his own sence of adventure.

 "We're camping. Go to sleep. Pretend are on Mount Everest."

 In other words... "Pretend that our warm, insulated house is not thirty feet away."

 I couldn't sleep.  I just laid awake listening to the rain pound down on the tent roof and the thunder clapping in the not-so-distant darkness.  I was thinking that moment... I had the chance and I didn't heed the warning signs.

 I thought of Jesus warnings to his followers in Matthew 24.  I  read that chapter when I came back into the house this morning.  This passage in Matthew 16 also comes to mind. 

  "He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’  and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. "
 Matthew 16:2-3 (NIV)

 I saw the lightning, I knew what could follow.   God's fireworks last night was a picture for me.  I am more of a believer in the words of Jesus about the end of the age that I am about the fear of the end due to the end of the Mayan Calendar and the planets lining on this year's winter solstice.

  “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. " 
Matthew 24:36-39 (NIV)

I am not really fearful about the end as we know it or as we imagine it... But I wonder if I am watching a beautiful display of lightning and just staying put in my tent.