Monthly Archives: March 2015

Death and Life in Springtime

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Dichelostemma capitatum (Blue Dicks)

Death is working in all of us. Last week death, by means of cancer, parted me from my husband, and I am now a widow. But the separation is not absolute, because Mr. Glad may be more alive than ever, to which truth the scriptures testify by the words of Christ Himself, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Nor will he and I be separated for long; we will meet in the Resurrection:

P1120755 buttercups



For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (I Thessalonians)

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blue-eyed grass

I do comfort and console myself with these realities, while feeling the equally real tearing apart of me and my “other half,” our souls and bodies having been intertwined like a ball of string that is really two cords so closely tangled you can’t identify which strand you are seeing in any part of the thing. If one string is pulled out of the ball, just how misshapen and odd will it be? That’s what I don’t know, and what scares me.

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Common Meadowfoam

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children…

Every member of our family has received huge amounts of grace and joy during the last weeks, and especially in the days leading up to the funeral, which was last Saturday. One friend remarked how sweet it is to die in springtime, the season of new beginnings.crane creek poppies 3-29-15

On Sunday afternoon two daughters took me up into the hills for a walk among the oaks with their tiny new leaves, and to see the first wildflowers coming out. It was a stroll, not a hike, because all of us were quite spent from all the emotion and the activity. And one of us, daughter Pippin, was 9+ months pregnant, so we weren’t attempting a fitness walk.

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oak leaves

I took a lot of pictures, falling easily back into my old self’s delight in seeing the glories of Creation and making memories of them to prolong the experience. We saw at least two flowers that even Pippin didn’t know the names of; I will try to come back later and tell you, if I find out what they are.

Upon our return to the house the dear baby, whether on his own or by the promptings of his heavenly Father I don’t know, decided the time was right to make his arrival. Someone noted that he is an obedient child from the start, waiting until his parents had laid his grandfather to rest before taking center stage himself. That evening we welcomed a new man-child into the family, whom I will call Jamie.G w J blog

Jamie also showed love to his grandmother by being born in this county instead of waiting one more day until he would have been back in his home town. Not only I, but his two aunties were able to be present when he came swiftly into the light and into our arms. Among other good names, he was given that of his grandfather whom he had just missed in passing.

It’s all too wonderful and mysterious and splendid, don’t you think? It’s Springtime.

Healing down through the layers.

“People today are complicated, multi-faceted, confused, and in one wayMaximos fresco SS or another, their souls are layered: layer upon layer of blindness, layer upon layer of callousness, layer upon layer of pride. For this reason they are never healed once and for all. As soon as you take a humble attitude, though, Grace intervenes and works a miracle: you are freed. But the work does not end here. This Grace, this light, this healing that comes, proceeds also to the next layer further down. And here the sin is more unyielding, is more strongly rooted, the resistance is uncompromising. If you say, ‘May it be blessed, My God. I will look even deeper and I will acknowledge my stubbornness and my sin, and will humble myself,’ then another miracle takes place. And in some incomprehensible way, the second and the third, the fourth and the fifth layers of the soul are put right. But some people will not accept this. They remain at the superficial layers, and spend their life like this and are never healed.”

— Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos, author of Do you Know Yourself?

Anything less is a bondage.

Fr. Stephen asks rhetorically, “Can You Forgive Someone Else’s Enemies?” with a look at the words and actions of Jesus in the Gospels, and reflecting on the story of The Brothers Karamazov. He writes:

Forgiving is “loosing.” Refusing to forgive is “binding.” The imagery of loosing and binding helps move the imagination away from a legal construction. When we sin, or even when we are involved in sin, we become bound. There is a binding that occurs because we ourselves were the cause of the sin. There is a binding that occurs because we ourselves were the victim of a sin. Thchrist forgiving resurrection 2ere is a binding that occurs because we simply witness the sin. There is even a form of binding that occurs to the whole of humanity because of the diminishment of even one of its members. If everyone were somehow only responsible for their own actions the world would be quite different. As it is, the action of one involves the binding of all. Adam’s sin has left us bound ever since. We are not being held legally responsible for Adam’s action. We are existentially and ontologically bound by Adam’s sin.

These truths are hard to grasp, even for the intellect, and Fr. Stephen helps me quite a bit at that level. But to live in the reality of our freedom, to acquire and absorb and give this kind of liberating love — it’s something impossible, were it not for the fact and the power of the Resurrection. Lent is a good time to pray about this, yes?

I’m looking forward to seeing all of my children at once this weekend, and the thought of them and their tender, breakable and forgiving hearts gives me great comfort; they are a testimony to the kindness of God. And His kindness certainly pertains to the article I was referencing, the whole of which you can read here.


P1120610When I was young, the only lilies I knew were the ones our Sunday school teacher Mrs. Montgomery would bring into the church at Easter. I thought they must be what people meant when they talked about “Easter Lilies.” Eventually I learned that they were not.

True Easter Lilies still are not very familiar to me, or even appealing. It’s calla lilies that I have known and loved all these years, and that reward me year after year as a gardener, too, for very little investment. I always feel privileged to gather a few elegant blooms into a vase to display in the house. Sometimes they are blooming at such a time that we parishioners can fill the church with them for Palm Sunday, but more often than not, the show is over by then. I might call them my Lenten Lilies.P1120617lilies crp