There are days when it seems harder than others to put on a happy face, don’t you agree? I don’t have a lot of those, so when I do, they usually are memorable.
I remember one such day when my dad was out of sorts. He was a business owner. Not the typical image of a “business owner” that comes to mind when you hear that description. His business was a Tallow Works. Do you know what that is? It’s a place that picks up dead animals from farmers and ranchers and meat scraps from butcher shops. All parts of those animals and scraps are processed. It’s a smelly business.
It’s devastating Beloved animals die Someone hauls them off
This is called a Haibun. It is a brief couple of paragraphs of prose, followed by a Haiku that adds dimension to the prose!
Oh, Lordy, Lordy!! My blog is supposed to share love, joy, peace, faith, and unity. How I got off on a kick of wanting to share various forms of poetry is all Dwight Roth’s fault! Blame him! He tried my Shadorma poetry and invited me to try his Haibun.
But he can’t be blamed for my morbid Haibun and photo today. My mind just went there after reading a post by someone who was recalling a sadness from their childhood. That day when Dad and I went to pick up a dead horse sticks in my memory because the horse was a child’s pet. It wasn’t like one of a herd of beef cattle or some old cow that got into the clover field, ate too much, bloated, and bit the dust!
My experiences with my dad, riding with him on weekends as we went to various farms to pick up the dead animals, usually were not sad times. I treasured one-on-one time with Daddy, and I was happy to get that time under whatever circumstances! The death of animals didn’t seem morbid to me. It was just part of the cycle of life! You know – like egg to tadpole, froglet to frog!
But on that particular Saturday, the animal’s young owner was there, crying as Dad hauled her beloved horse into the truck and we drove away. The horse did not represent the cycle of life. It was too young, and so was its owner! That was a day when it was harder to put on a happy face, you know?
This weekend Bob & I are headed to my brother-in-law’s funeral. He was 86. He led a good life. He was a believer who knew where he was headed when he left this earth. But, he had just had a knee replacement – just a week before – and he thought he had a lot of years left to enjoy the greater mobility that knee would give him. However, it is not our privilege to count our days!
Dying is, indeed, part of the cycle of life!
“Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
— John 11:26
It’s the life cycle Beloved animals die Are they in Heaven?
Proximity Is nearness Space that’s measured Feeling a treasured presence Closeness
Movement Closing in Walking toward you Feeling your loving care Proximity
Movement Closing in Walking toward you Feeling your loving care Proximity
Dream Embrace Proximity We never know How long we’ll have Together
Wishes Are important Dreams stay big My wish for you: Proximity
My sister-in-law, Bonnie, had the gift of her children and grandchildren’s close proximity yesterday as she dealt with the grief of separation. Hopefully they will ease the pain with beautiful shared memories. One of my other sisters-in-law sent me these pictures of Stan today. (If you follow my post, you know Bonnie’s husband died yesterday). I will post a few of Ann Beekman’s photos here so you can feel the proximity of this crazy family – full of joy and love for one another.
May the memories of my dear brother-in-law remain alive in our hearts And the proximity of his character comfort and sustain all his loved ones.
What’s a favorite memory you pray your family and friends will use to help them remember you when you are gone?
What photo will keep you in close proximity to them?
For = before Give = before receiving Ness = before receiving give
N ever E xpect S atisfaction S imultaneously
Is there someone out there who has wronged you?
Have they treated you so badly, so unjustly, that you are having a hard time forgiving them?
Do you wish you could, and you’ve tried, but you just can’t find the grace to give them that satisfaction?
Do they deserve your unforgiving spirit?
Do they deserve a pay back?
Do you wish you could get even?
Would it serve them right!?
Serve them right if you never forgave them because they don’t deserve to be let off the hook?
Who’s caught on that hook anyway?
They may not even know they hurt you!
That happened to me once. I had a person who was a teacher in a different school. I used to be in the district office and now I was happily and obliviously back in the confines of my own classroom, loving every day with those darling children, putting those two years of district office administration behind me. It had been a tough time. Satisfying opportunities mixed with struggles to satisfy all the new teachers (K-12) who were required to come to my PETAL workshops.
P rinciples of E ffective T eaching A nd L earning
I enjoyed working with the new teachers, trying to help them be the best they could be. But, inevitably, you can’t please everybody, right? Not every one of them thought what I was teaching was useful to them. I probably rubbed some the wrong way. They’d prefer to be in their classrooms preparing for the next day, rather than being at a required workshop in “The Ivory Tower.” Do you relate?
No, they were not all smiles! But I did my best… and I got back to the classroom where I could interact daily with children as fast as I could! The District Office was waaay too far from children!
Then, “that happened to me!” A knock on my door at home one evening. When I answered it, there stood a teacher who had been in a series of my workshops. I invited him in. We sat on the sofa. He was nervous.
“I want you to know I forgive you,” he said.
I didn’t know I needed forgiveness. I didn’t know I had done something to offend him. I am sure my face registered shock.
“I have been harboring a grudge against you for two years,” he said. “I am going to a counselor for a lot of unresolved issues in my life, and my counselor said I need to resolve them.”
So he was in my living room, sitting next to me, letting me know I was forgiven.
I should have asked why. I should have asked him to explain what I did. But, I was too dumb-founded. I’m not sure I wanted to know. Let bygones be bygones, you know?
I just told him I was sorry for whatever I unknowingly did to offend him. I told him I held no ill feelings about him. Never did! I accepted his forgiveness. We hugged. He left.
That young man had been given the courage to confront his offender. He had been given the courage to let go. He had been given the courage to ask for forgiveness. My job was to accept it and to allow him to move on.
My job was to handle what God had given me… a clean slate in someone’s mind. A clean slate where there had been a dark smudge.
Don’t wait! Before receiving, GIVE! Give the gift to yourself… the gift of letting go.
“I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Thanks for following JanBeek and for coming to read and leave a comment today. You matter. I write for you. God bless you! See ya tomorrow.
Reach out to others Make meaningful connections Share your thoughtfulness
Did you click the link? The link was “Thanks for the Dance” From Leonard Cohen.
If you didn’t hear – Didn’t see the video, Go up and do it!
EMBRACE CONNECTIONS Look into another’s heart See the hidden pain
Learn to disagree Learn to listen with your heart Show your compassion
Connections can save The loneliest from despair Suicide is real
Express your concern Let your compassion embrace Those in depression
Depression is real Too often it is hidden Inside solitude
Leonard Cohen’s poem Hit me right between the eyes Took me to my niece
‘Twas nineteen years old When her life appeared hopeless Jumped Golden Gate Bridge
‘Twas two weeks later When her decomposed body Washed its way ashore
Only dental charts Helped to identify her Memories are raw
Never imagined Her pain was so very deep Didn’t see the signs
So much is known now Nearly forty years ago We just weren’t aware
Today it’s rampant Especially Montana Third in the nation
Growing suicides It’s not a good statistic Something must be done
These are images from Leonard Cohen’s impactful video. (Haven’t watched it yet? Go back up to that link. Take five minutes and then come on back.) The poetry and his raspy, musical voice will touch your heart. You’ll carry it with you.
You’ll ask yourself, “What Happens to the Heart?” and you will want to be more aware, more compassionate, more helpful. You’ll look in your friend’s eyes. You’ll study your loved one’s face. You’ll ask questions. You’ll care. And you’ll want to know WHAT CAN I DO? When you see sadness, despair, loneliness, you’ll want to help. How??
There are visible Ways we can show how we care Check out resources
Reach out to others Make meaningful connections Share your thoughtfulness
Embrace Connections They can make the difference YOU are important!
Thanks for dropping by JanBeek
Sending you love and hugs – Stay Connected!! See ya tomorrow
Today a good friend of ours Is having to say good-bye To her furry companion Such days make me cry
The doggy’s name is Hannah. She’s been a faithful friend. Companionship and a love – Giving comfort to the end
I wrote this poem for my friend, Fran, as a comfort as she sees Hannah off on her final journey. Bon Voyage, dear pup. You’ve been a treasured friend for over 15 years. You’ve earned you eternal reward!
I don’t have to understand In order to believe. I just have to trust – And know it’s okay to grieve.
When tragedy strikes – Like the death of a friend – I don’t have to comprehend Why my friend’s life must end.
I can just believe There’s a heaven and a hell. My friend will ascend To eternity to dwell.
In heaven are the ones Who lived by the Cross. They accepted God’s grace, So their death is not loss.
There are people and pets In that paradise up high. I don’t have to understand – Just anticipate the sky!
Rest in Peace, Sweet Hannah. Your cross to bear has ended – Your life you shared and blended. Your soul to heaven ascended.
Have a blessed Saturday. Say a prayer for my friend, Fran.
These pictures below are from a book by Cynthia Rylant titled, “Dog Heaven.” It was a gift to us from the Colorado State Veterinary Hospital staff after our beloved Boston, Angela, died following a two year bout with cancer.
And thank God there are fields for romping in Heaven.
See ya round the bend. (Do you have a pet waiting for you in Heaven?)
We were having one of my favorite meals, spaghetti with meat sauce, when I first told my family that I had broken up with my fiance’. My dad nearly choked on his mouthful. My mom shoved her plate of spaghetti half-way across the table!
To this day, I can’t eat spaghetti with meat sauce without remembering that day.
My fiance’ and I had been engaged for about a year. He was in the army, stationed in Germany. I was a senior in college, missing the social life, trying to remain true to my engagement. I wanted to attend the school’s dances and other social functions. It was hard!
Rather than being untrue to my boyfriend who was so far away (we had not seen each other in six months), I broke off with him. Obviously, my parents were devastated. Especially when they learned the guy I wanted to date was a divorce’.
“Why buy a used car when you can have a new one?” my dad finally spoke. Then he got up and walked out of the room. (Yes, Dad was a man of few words, but a list of prejudices a mile long!)
Mom followed him, without speaking a word. That was so unlike her.
Proverbs 6: 20-23
20 My son, obey your father’s commands,and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 21 Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. 23 For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life.
The man I broke up with was from a family very much like my own. He grew up in the same area I did. We shared common roots. My parent and his got along wonderfully. The man I wanted to date was nine years older than I. I won’t get into why he was so attractive to me, but suffice to say, my parents’ dismay touched me deeply.
They let me have my “fling.” They did not bad-mouth my new friend. But when my ex-boyfriend came home on leave, they invited him over. When I returned home from college that weekend, he was there. I realized how much I loved him. That love has carried us through 58 years of marriage. Not always perfect, not always blissful, but always respectful, and always knitted together in prayer, faith in God, and common purpose. The love has grown as years passed – and I am grateful every day for my parents’ wisdom.
Put a plate of spaghetti and meatballs in front of me. I can taste the kindness of my parents in every meatball. I can hear my mom’s silence and feel her prayers in every slurp of pasta. I feel my dad’s concern about age differences and divorce. I keep their love in my heart with every Italian meal! God bless ’em!!
Today at d’Verse we are trying a new form of poetry. Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sense leads to automatic, involuntary experiences of a second one. There are over 80 types of synesthesia described by science. Nearly every combination of sensory experiences or cognitive concepts is possible.
Seeing music as colors is one form of synesthesia. Perceiving letters as personalities is another one, or seeing numbers in color. Even hearing colors or touching smells.
How about tasting memories? Do you have any of those?
This post is a combination prompt: 1) My Madison Valley Writers’ Group Prompt was the title of the blog, and 2) the d’Verse prompt informed the style and content. It’s not poetry… but it may qualify as Synesthesia. What do you think?
In March Susan got to visit With Phyllis, our dear sister, Before our dear friend’s life Ended on earth. Oh how we missed her!
Tomorrow we’ll remember Stories of Phyllis’ life And share them with each other. She was a loving wife.
Her husband died too young, Over thirty years past. Phyllis made his ring a heart And wore the love that last.
The heart hung ’round her neck All these many years – She willed it to her Yana Through memories and tears.
How many of us have A memory to share Of a loved one gone too soon To their heavenly home up there?
If life is lived so fully That when time comes, we are ready, It’s easier to say good-bye. Live your life with grace. Be steady!
Be loving and kind-hearted. Be compassionate to those you meet. Then, like my good friend, Phyllis, Your friends’ memories all will be sweet.
Her children know the treasure Of a mom whose love was always true. She shared her life with God and friends. I hope there is a friend like her for YOU!
Keep your memories of friends Alive and smiling in your heart. Make memories others will treasure. Today’s a perfect day to start.
Phyllis was a grown up who did not “act more like children than children” BUT She was one of those people who needed people… just as I am. We are/were “the luckiest people in the world!” We each have (had) the person who made us whole… … thank God for that “very special person.”
Share your memories of a loved one with me. I’d love to read some of your thoughts on this subject in the comments below. Hugs, JanBeek