Saturday, August 19, 2017

Today, the feast of Transfiguration of the Lord


















We went to the new calendar feast of Transfiguration 13 days ago
but are still fasting on the old calendar so today is the feast
and so I made fish and used more of our beautiful dishes,
ones I had not used since my injury.
I am still learning about my injury and I can see that
it is going to take some months yet to heal.
I am living very much in Elizabeth Goudge books and am 
now on the last book of the Eliot Trilogy 
(Bird in the Tree, Herb of Grace/Pilgrims Inn, The Heart of the Family)
and I really don't want to leave.
It's funny, it's so clear that the two wars were so deeply felt
at the time and yet Elizabeth Goudge creates worlds in her
fiction to heal the physical, mental illness and exhaustion
and creates such places that I, and I think many others,
do not want to leave... it's remarkable. 
***
 So, our groceries were delivered and I opened the first box
and all I could see was Romaine Lettuce.
I opened the second box, more lettuce!
Husband asks, did you get the wrong order?
I don't know, I say, and look up the email and see that somehow
on our order was not 2 lettuces but 13.
We are good customers and they are refunding us; no idea how that happened
but we are now giving away lettuce to others and somehow God
gave us something to give to others on this Feast day,
even though we were unable to go to liturgy for it 
(a first really it seems, though it's possible I worked on it years ago; 
hard to say)... 
***
We've had some good days.  
I've had some poor sleeps and was quite tired as a result.
Today was a bit more of a pain-and-swelling day.
But I am loving living in Elizabeth Goudge's books
and am doing my best to maintain peace in our home
and inwardly...
***
We are talking to my parents about them visiting us 
sometime this fall.
My healing is taking a lot longer than I expected.
In all things, I know, I need to trust God....
He is our peace...

Friday, August 18, 2017

how to endure






Well. Another week coming to a close. I looked up how long it can take to heal from the type of break I have; could be 3 more months. Then I read, in the third of the Elizabeth Goudge trilogy, about how Sally, (one of the characters in the novel), when she was exhausted, would just think to herself: "I just have to do the next thing" and nothing more. And that's how she would endure the hard times. So pretty much nightly I have swelling and foot pain. But something that has helped me this week is what helped this character in the EG book: what a priest told me once: just do the thing in front of you that needs doing.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A summary of today














So, today. A good day! I went to my local church for the Feast of Dormition (new calendar). Went to diner for lunch via cab (we pretty much use lyft all the time now), and then cabbed home. Rested. Great phone call. Hunted through art supplies searching for a small scissors that I don't know if it is there, found a bunch of cool stuff that I forgot I had. Put most of stuff back. Noticed foot was hurting. Rested. More foot pain. Used knee scooter for a bit to get around, had a simple dinner. I am learning more every day about how to navigate this in-between space where I am healing but not yet healed. Being attentive to things and upfront with myself and others about what I can/can't do in a day or at the moment is really freeing. It's like I can rest and be quiet inside more. So, today was a simple but good day. I am thankful.

Monday, August 14, 2017

When asked why I am alive, I thought about it and wrote this



Been thinking about this one. I think there are various levels.

1. To live and die (as) a Christian; faithful to Christ, the Church, fasts, feasts, sacraments of confession, Eucharist.... 

2. To create a place of beauty and refuge, a haven, in a troubled world. That's always been my desire. When I was young though I was not aware that I also needed a place of beauty and refuge that would heal me. Ultimately this is found only with Christ and in His Church; but in small ways our homes can be 'little home churches' and also places of beauty and order that can give rest. I have not achieved this yet as my Husband can attest (I have house clutter etc) but this is really a big part of what I feel I can actually do in my life.

 3. In small (and imperfect ways) point to the HOPE that there really ARE places of hope, beauty, dignity and rest and that with Christ we really can be saved; that in the midst of all the trouble, there can be those places that can heal, restore and give rest to a very weary and troubled world. 

4. This (#3) can be done through books and even some movies (at least in the past) ... Elizabeth Goudge books are big in this (rest, refuge, beauty, hope, Christ) but I know even of a movie like the Sound of Music has given to one I knew a dream and vision of a life that was so much better than the one she knew.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Focusing on that which is light-filled and joyful



So, in light of the fact that the news of the day as usual is not great, to the point of awfulness, I thought I would say some joyful/ delightful/ light-filled things. Not making 'light* of the heavy things but to remember that beauty, dignity and delight are still possible in the midst of things - though sorrow can make this hard to see - (I remember when at 21 I had one of my first huge losses in my life and did not understand how the sun was still shining) - however - still.
So after vespers a young brother and sister were sitting on a pew at the front of church. The boy got up first and the littler sister stayed on the pew, with full concentration and purpose, held her big teddy bear backpack open, put one medium sized teddy bear inside and then a smaller teddy bear inside, on top of the bigger one, stuffing them in like a woman with an awesome bag and then carefully zipping the bag shut. It was so sweet.
While she was doing this, the Mother helped her older son kiss an icon on a taller stand (of Christ's transfiguration). ...
And then she went and kissed the Mother of God's icon (with the help of her Mom) and then, standing back on her feet, kissed the candle stand next to it, and then the Cross next to that... the boy coming and doing the same thing with her...
A Child's sense of an ordered world, where it is natural to express love to Christ, His Mother and to Church itself, is just such a delight, a truly beautiful thing to see.
In the midst of strife, confusion, and worse, it's worth remembering that today there were two young kids in church who were so happy to be there and were kissing icons and Crosses, conscious of goodness, safety and love.

Friday, August 11, 2017

New Boot


It's so much better.
I still walk "like an injured person" as someone 
accurately said, but at least I have a better fit.
***
I've had a inward struggle the last days.
Nothing to blog about really,
just the things that thrown at you.
***
I as in a lot of pain in the middle of the night
and was really comforted by friends via social media
who prayed for me.
I had made my favourite lamb dish, baked some 
more strawberry cake and had a bath 
and was basically walking on and off for a long time,
my ankle swelled up and I had more pain.
***
I am still learning,
as I had thought that I had to walk through the pain as
my muscles need to be worked.
So more balance needed.
***
I am beginning to see this as one of my most hard years since
that hard year of job loss and sickness, 7 or so years ago.
***
Well, nothing can be done except go through it
until we find ourselves on the other side of it.


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Briefly...



Today is the first time since May 10th 
that I left the house without crutches.
I took a cab to PT and back again.
PT is good but ouch, atrophied muscles 
hurt when one is using them after weeks of
non-use.
I had to rest after coming back home and
having a late lunch.
Tomorrow I get to be home all day
and I plan on resting, doing my PT and enjoying 
the quiet.
I am thankful for the progress and 
it's so wonderful to be able to stand up
and walk! Even if walking is often a bit painful...
it's still such a joy and a privilege! 


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Standing, Standing...and walking! and baking!



















I got the shoe lift yesterday in the mail,
after PT and I have been mainly walking without crutches 
ever since.... (it is still painful at times but worth it).
So today I baked for the first time!
A bit of a small one bowl wonder recipe! 
I hope to bake another on soon!
And the toaster oven = not so hot house!
I also did a card and origami puppy dog for a 
young sweet girl I know! 
And tonight I went to vespers for St Herman
*by myself* 
(took a cab there...that's often how I got there pre-injury).
So that was quite wonderful.
I go back to PT again tomorrow.
My foot muscles are still really tight/stiff.
Lots of work yet to be done.
And hopefully I get a better air cast/boot soon too, 
been having some problems with the one I have.
Husband brought me home 3 roses!
Don't they look so pretty with my new table runner
from my quilting-friend?
It's so nice to have some good things to report today!


Monday, August 07, 2017

30 years + Feast Day + remembering















Remembering and putting here some wisdom I was given about
illness while I was on bed-rest....

just snippets of things I remember, including my local priest's visits...

Prayer for wisdom, love and strength of soul and body
Absolution contained woman who wiped Christ feet with her hair
Church is our place of healing, our refuge

when one is direly ill the family can feel helpless, not knowing what to do 

a patient has to be patient and possess one's soul in patience
 and the soul can get lost and Christ is patient and loving,
a soul has to be quiet and needs quiet 
more than everyone's advice and remedies.  

***

It was really hard, those weeks of bed rest;
there was at once a constant movement of people coming to help
via an agency that our insurance covered, 
I had up to 5 people from outside our home come in one day
and often 2 + the daily person each day;
so in one way I was constantly dealing with people and
struggling with needing help and feeling so unable to do anything;
that was so difficult.
Having one's physical independence taken away,
not being able to prepare one's own food, 
it was hard for someone like myself, 
used to cooking and baking and enjoying
things.... and variety.... yes, hard to imagine how
spoiled we are, to take such things for granted,
such as food to our likely and by our own hand.
***
While there were people in my house,
I still, at the same time, felt a profound loneliness.
I ate most of my meals alone, in the bedroom.
My beloved Husband was so busy trying to 
hold down his demanding job, keeping the house in order,
making sure I had food, etc etc that we did not get a lot of time,
in the first weeks, to just see each other.
***
I am so glad that this part is behind us now.
Watching the series "When Calls the Heart" and reading
DE Stevenson helped keep the intensity of loneliness at bay.
***
One may think things like
"if I was on bed rest, I would read that big tome of a book that
I always meant to do or work on some big project (like writing etc)"
but the reality is quite different.
The first month was so exhausting, and many Sundays when I would watch
the liturgy online, since I could not go out, I would fall asleep 
in the middle of it.  
When my quilting-friend would come over for a visit,
her first 2 visits, at least, she had to go to the living-room so I could have a 
nap as I could not stay awake by the afternoon.
Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually 
the stamina for a big project was missing.
Healing from a broken bone not only takes time
but it takes a lot of energy.
I read early on that one needs 3x the calories as normal to heal
a fractured bone ~ there is a reason that I was able to eat more
chocolate and not gain weight!

***

So, now to the present.
My Dad recently had a milestone birthday;
it's hard being away from family during those times;
but his card from us actually came on his birthday,
which was nice.
***
I am thinking of my Aunt H a lot these days...
***
My friend Tim, who I knew in my childhood,
died 30 years ago yesterday.
I am sure I have mentioned him before.
How much I loved him.
He had leukemia and died, just weeks before we would 
all come together again in our small class 
at a Christian school, a safe world, one that was
better because Tim was there.
The year before was the first time
he was in one of my classes; he often had very little hair;
how quickly did I get a crush on him? 
I remember the gold and brown of his hair, 
I know one thing, I did not love him because he was sick
but because he was who he was, in the midst of it.
I remember a boy who was patient with me,
who once when the older boys 
(as safe as my school was in terms of things it was
not perfect) threw 'ice balls' instead of snow balls at me
and it smarted and I just wanted to get away from them
but no one was allowed to stay inside during recess 
but Tim and his friend Brian could because of
Tim being sick.  I was 10 and did not really understand 
what cancer was or leukemia but I remember once Tim
having to run outside quickly, probably in Spring time, and 
vomiting over the deck that our portable classroom had. 
Back then I would not of understood that Tim was so sick
that he could not of played outside but I did know one thing,
after those bigger boys pelted me with ice-balls.
I wanted IN
I don't know if I knocked on the door or just opened it but
I remember Tim being there and I saying what had happened
and that I really wanted to be inside with them.
I think he must of sighed or something but he said OK
and I remember his gentleness and that Brian was playing 
guitar with a yard stick and there was laughter 
and I was away from the cold where there was
not only physical warmth but a warmth of kindness.
....
My Husband says I am anything but subtle and I am sure
my feelings of affection for him were noticed by others and
may have been a slight annoyance for Tim but 
he handled it well I think and the last day of class
he gave me his Garfield coloured pencils, a Garfield lead pencil
and paper.... it was the last time I ever saw him alive.
I still think somehow he knew that he was not coming back
and I think he must of been more sick than I knew.
I think he missed some school already;
I prayed for him every night and full expected Tim 
to recover.
I trusted God implicitly as a girl would trust her good and trustworthy father.
God as Father was something I lived knowing every day of my life.
In summer I would go on walks with God and my dog Spike and 
I would swing on the swing-set and sing nonsense songs that somehow
I was singing to God and my Mother said of those years that I was 
'always chanting something' and those summers had sunshine,
simplicity and the comfort of knowing that God was with me
and I could tell Him things just like I could tell my dog Spike,
and my God-the-Father could fix ANY thing, just like
my Dad could fix anything,
so I knew that God would make Tim better and I just prayed 
every day full of trust...
Well, I doubt that Tim mentioned me at home; he was a normal 
boy who was 10 and played baseball and had lots of friends at school.
Actually no one really knew how much I loved Tim, that I know of.
I was a pretty introverted yet very talkative child.
I knew Tim as the most Christian boy I knew 
and I loved him very much.
Well.
We had recently got the teacher's letter with a list of things to bring 
to school the coming year and this list included coloured pencils.
I was sitting at our dining room table, chattering away as usual, 
and was telling my Mom full of happiness that she did not need
to buy me coloured pencils since I had the ones Tim gave me...
and right as I was telling her, the phone rang and she went to get it.
Her voice changed on the phone and she came back
with a quieter but steady kind voice and told me
that (I don't remember who called to tell us) that Tim had died.
I don't remember the order of things but I know I said then
I would not use his coloured pencils but keep them
(I still have them to this day) and I went to the bathroom.
My life had just been sliced in two, and in the bathroom I looked up
and asked God why did You let Tim die?
and I felt a grief I had never known and a confusion of why 
God my Father had not made Tim better.
My 10 year old Knight in Shining Armour.
Surely, he could not die.
But he did and my Mom had made me a little pillow and every night
for a long time I would cry as I fell asleep on that pillow,
from missing Tim.  The pillow yellowed with my tears.
I did not know how to express grief openly and so was quiet about it,
so quiet that it was 20 years later, when I was 30, that my parents found out
and that I could not remember my Dad's birthday because I got that
date and the date of Tim's death mixed up, 
(My Dad's birthday is the day before Tim died).
I went to the funeral I think. I know I was at the funeral home and
my Mom told Tim's Mom, with me there, that I prayed for Tim
every night.  We were given a small card with a child angel on front and 
about Tim inside and I knew I wore a dress and that Tim lay there...
***
Where my school was, there was a church on one side and on the other side,
a cemetery and Tim was buried there.
There was a metal fence separating the school from the cemetery and I remember 
standing there, looking at the bush that was near Tim's grave,
that was flat on the ground, so I could not see it exactly but
I knew he was there and could not open the door again when
I needed warmth in the middle of winter.
***
The funeral.  Tim looked puffy to me.  
I learned later that he was afraid that Heaven was already full and 
had to be reassured that Jesus had room for him there.
It must of been hard to face death at 10 years old.
And here no one had told me he was even sick.
I was not able to visit him, not even once or write him a card.
But every night I was praying for him in my prayers
that my Mom did with me and one of the hardest things was that
as a child I was not told, once Tim died, that I could still pray for him.
So it was 20 years later, when I was an Orthodox Christian for a few years,
that we had a small prayer service for him in church.
I brought roses to the Theotokos to thank her for taking care of Tim,
since at 10 I reasoned he still needed a Mother,
and I had the wine, bread and P and K, our Ukrainian grandparents of our Parish,
helped me lift the table at the end of the prayers and all that love 
I had for Tim finally was expressed and I had this great sense of healing
from a loss that to me was still taking up a big part of my inside.
I an still hear Tim's voice when I am alone and quiet, thinking about it.
The Lent before I first learned of Mr Husband, 
I felt Tim nearby in church.  I knew he was there.
I know he is caring for me still by his prayers, I don't need it explained, but 
I was in a lot of distress that year and somehow Tim was involved in 
helping me through it and I treasure that very much.
And that Pascha, a church friend later told me, she said I looked like
a Bride and by the next Pascha my beloved Husband asked me to 
marry him on Pascha afternoon.
***
So that 20 year service, I wrote a card to Tim's parents,
really emotionally to his Mom, and his Mom wrote me back
and told me how when Tim died he got a big smile on his face
and his Mom knew he was seeing Jesus.
***
I did not understand then that sometimes God took those we loved
from us and that Christ would come and take them
and that the person would never be alone or away from Christ.
Back then I just knew Tim was away from me. 
***
My Husband knows all about Tim
and that he was my first love, really and my Husband 
my second.... 
***
Sometimes in gym class I would run away
and be found sitting in dirt under the steps on the side of the
building and when the teacher would ask me what was wrong
all I could say was 'I missed Tim' and not about whatever
had happened in gym class that day
(I always dreaded that class, I was uncoordinated and did not enjoy 
such classes...)
***
So we were at Church yesterday, the new calendar Feast of the
Transfiguration of Christ, and that is the day Tim died on 
and I was thinking of him so much during the liturgy,
with sunlight shining, fruit in baskets waiting to be blessed,
Holy Communion, everyone I knew well at this church there,
and I was thinking of Tim and was surprised, the night before,
when I told my Husband that the next day I would buy a big candle for Tim.
that I suddenly was close to weeping and I told our dear
elderly candle-desk man about Tim and he said how precious the 
memories are and he gave a loving laugh when I told him that one of the reasons
I am excited to (God willing!) go to Heaven one day is so I could see Tim
again and I knew our candle-desk man laughed because I am only 40 
and here he is, over 80 but I could only say, well, I made it 30 years already since
Tim died and that was something... 
***
It is wonderful that in Church we are so close to those who have gone before us.
***
My Husband and I have been thinking a lot of Patrick and missing him.
Having his table cloth out felt like I was in the midst of a hug from Patrick,
though he was not the hugging type.  But he did love and cared for us.
And my Husband is still working faithfully to help wind up everything for 
Patrick after he died, just like he promised he would.
We've been listening to CDs of Patrick's and 
I can't wait to bake rolls, bread or muffins and use the 
metal basket that was Patrick's again.
***
I have not been to our far-away church, where Patrick is known and loved,
since mid-May and we hope to go again soon...
***
And so, we continue to work towards recovery, to 
resuming what used to be our normal lives...