Say Yes to 2018


Almost everyone I talk to says 2017 was the most stressful year of their lives and for our world. Not to be an Eeyor, but I doubt that the number of crises that the world will face in 2018 will diminish. One would hope there will be less crazy weather, but signs point to an increase. Scientists no longer have to prove we are at a critical point when it comes to Global Warming, we all get it, (except for the Donald)! And wouldn’t it be great if the terror attacks decreased as well? But humanity has a penchant for finding excuses and new ways to bring terror to the earth. And though we’ve always had poverty, it now touches all parts of the world, even where they have long lived the American dream.eeyore2

In the real world scores find themselves in a continual crisis mode, just  providing for their families is more than enough to bare. Where and who to lay blame  for the negative stress caused by today’s definitions of true success? We are being stretched to breaking points.

And, while we are still at it, the sexual liberty so long vaunted, too, is being challenged in the same way the AIDS crisis of the 80’s did, maybe more. Women have risen up in unison wanting, and may I add, deserving the respect that is their due. So “No” to your stupid little games of lust! “No” to our “body parts’ as your “plaything”. And we are just touching the surface on a malaise ignored for too long.

As we enter a fresh New Year, 2018, know the same old problems continue breathing down our necks. Though we try to be upbeat as the music at our parties, we cannot but know this new year will have more than its share of new fears. It begs the question, “Can there ever be a true revolution of thought and action on how we relate to the earth and to each other? Can there be peace on earth? Can we live our way into a new reality? Should we even try?” I’m just one person here writing, but I say, “Yes!” Just because our track record of late doesn’t seem promising, we cannot, must not, give up hope. I mean that. Just because politician’s promises have fifty shades of truthfulness, there has to be something true to believe in. If the universe is not against us, nor the gods, and if we humans can still do beautiful things, generous things, how much more, enamored by “unconditional hope” and new thinking can real change come to us.

As a believer in Christ, I hang on and pray daily the little “as-it-is-in-heaven” prayer and never forget to repeat the best part, “so let it be on earth!” I feel sometimes like shouting that last part as though the earth needs this reminder too! Heaven is not just a pretty idea, if it is anything, it is about dignity, worth, beauty, sharing, peace, and ultimately, LOVE. Heaven begins on earth when we discover our own beauty and worth. It continues when we see it in others. That’s a good step to understand that our neighbors to the east, west, south and north carry the same divine image or DNA or worth as we do. We are not that different. We really are “our brother’s keeper.”

“So do not say I am not able Yes!
That’s a lie, a kind of fable
All you need is a willing heart,
just say, ‘yes, and do your part!”

Recently someone said that we all need to find our deep inner “yes”. Although saying “No” to the evil impulses in our being is a step in the right direction, more powerful yet is a resounding inner “yes”. For sure, say “No” to the “Us and Them, mentality” and to bullying in all its forms, great, but better is a deep “yes” to “You’re my brother, my mother, my fellow human being and I see you.” Because we all want the same thing in 2018… the why we were created: to enjoy each moment in friendship, family and community on earth.

 

I invite you to let go of anything that keeps you from including, sharing, reconciling, and growing in love. I invite you to say yes to heaven, that is, heaven on earth.

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Just Me and My Mom!


Sometimes I find myself looking at pictures of my Mom and I stare into those blue eyes. The years made her eyes change shape some, but not the colour. Before Mom passed away this January 1st she didn’t have much hair remaining. But her eyes stayed the bluest of light blue. I didn’t get my mother’s eyes. Mine are of a darker hue, but no matter the colour I got her ability to shed tears!

I have great memories of Mom. I needed to write some to help me not forget. One of the funny ones we kids sometimes mention is when we see our childhood pics, Our haircuts, the ones she gave to us kids were not good at all. Yes, we laugh as we see the crooked odd shaped cuts. I think she practiced on us kids before trying out to be a hairdressing helper! That job didn’t seem to last long!

I also remember Mom at the swimming pool. In my young days we camped a lot and the criteria of a good campground for us was a place for swimming. And once in every while she would join in the pool too. What I picture in my mind now is an attractive woman who could really make the backstroke seem like an event! My Dad was often the limelight in the family, performing on stage. Yet in the pool Mom wanted the world to notice how much white water splash she could create? There she was kicking with gusto doing the backstroke and the mighty splash made by her legs got all our intention.

Then there were times when we would be in the car for long drives. Every drive in those days seemed like non-ending. Mom knew how to keep the peace between us three children; yep, we would need comic books. We had comic book after comic book. Boxes of comics. I read everything from Donald Duck to Goofy to Captain America to Mad magazine. My ultimate favourite was always the Incredible Hulk. One day I wanted green muscles too! Dad and Mom always sat in adult-like in the front. Sometimes we kids would each sing a song for them, like Canadian Idol or something, and they would judge our voices. I lost most of the sing-offs usually. Gerald, my little brother, would win even over the talented baby of the family, with a gravely rendition of Jeremiah was a Bullfrog. To hear him sing it would make them and my sister and I laugh out loud.

I smile now at some of the memories of those growing up times. Christmas was magical at our place. We sometimes sang in front of the tree too. We had Black Peter to talk about (Dutch custom). My dad finally ruined my belief in Santa for me when at the table he said, “Shhh listen, you hear that sound? It must be Santa coming down the chimney!” I am sure I saw fingers tapping on the table, his fingers. That’s when I knew that the gifts had to be bought. I sometimes went looking and inadvertently found some of them before ‘the day!’ No matter, I loved the Christmas gifts, all of them, especially the New York Ranger Jersey, and the goalie glove. That reminds me of all the driving Mom did in those days, to youth group and to those awful early morning hockey practices. And then if I close my eyes and imagine, I think I can hear her loud voice shouting from the stands every time I would touch the puck, which wasn’t often!

I could go on and on, but you’d stop reading.

Before Mom passed away I wrote her some of my memories of her and my proud feelings of being her son. She was on her hospital bed in the living room of our farmhouse when I said, “Mom, I want to read this thing I wrote to you.” It didn’t take long for her light blue eyes to shed tears and of course my dark blue eyes followed suit. I read it out loud to her because I wanted her to never forget how she impacted our lives. I was proud of the whole life she lived. It must be such a battle when our health fails to feel lost and of little use (read useless). Admittedly it was hard for me to see Mom, a proud woman, loose her health,  her quick wit and her laugh. It was still Mom in that bed, but it was not Mom at her best. My memories of her are more of Mom at her best and they comfort me even if I remember the pain of the last months of Mom’s life.

I miss Mom. I saw the obituary today wrote by my brother and printed in the local paper, I IMG_0578was so sad for a moment. I stared into that picture of Mom. I saw those big blue eyes stare back at me. The picture you see here was the last solo pic I took of Mom. Do you see those eyes shining? I do. If eyes could talk and I know they do, her eyes would say, “I love you Peter!” (Sometimes she would say, I Love you boy!) I can hear her voice shouting that from heaven’s stands. That’s why I am going to look at my photos again and again, to hear those words to her boy and remember.