Children

Not Dressed

          This year, I felt a strong call to honour the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary – the anniversary of the 1571 Christian victory in the Battle of Lepanto. I wanted to make the kids a part of that too. So, on the eve, when the night had quietened down, I told them about Lepanto and the need for prayers. We decided to honour the feast by withdrawing from the world as often as we could that entire day, each time to say 5 Hail Mary’s for any intention God chooses to press on our souls. While I did share with the younger ones suggestions of intentions they could pray for, I insisted everyone listen out intently for God’s voice to each soul.

          The next day, we did the sets of Hail Mary’s as often as each could. My youngest seemed to be the most enthusiastic. It touched my heart, for that little sunny soul was also the most mischievous of the lot.

          In the afternoon, settling down for a nap, I prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet till I slept off.

          I awakened later, stunned by a dream.

          I could hear a plane struggling to ascend above huge rain clouds. It seemed to stretch its engine capacity to breaking point. Suddenly, I knew it didn’t make it. I heard the plane come down on the side of our house that faces north and the explosion illuminated the walls of our master bedroom. Fearing the fireball heading our way,  I grabbed my husband’s and kids’ hands and dragged them all to another room as far away from the north side as possible.

          We escaped unscathed. Later, we came out of the house and everything outside was covered in grey-white ash. There was a woman I didn’t know by the perimeter fence. She didn’t seem too upset by the plane crash. I asked her if it was an international flight; she replied by giving me the flight number. All I heard was the alphabet B, and the rest of the number faded out. But somehow, it was enough for me to realize it had been a local flight, one of those smaller planes.

          As I was digesting this information, I turned back towards my home and to my consternation, saw that my children had put on their running shoes and were on their bikes and looked to be ready for some fun and games. I was upset that even a plane crash, with almost certain loss of life, could not steer them to deeper compassion for the suffering.

          Then, my focus was inexplicably rained on my youngest, whining over some need not met .

          And she was beyond the age where she needed to do that.

          Opening my eyes, I was shocked over what I had been shown. It was one of those dreams I rarely have where every detail is crystal clear. At that moment, I heard the rumble of thunder. Immediately, I began to pray Hail Mary’s, beseeching Mother’s mercy to prevent any air crashes.

          In the hours before the dream, I didn’t have a single impediment to saying the Hail Mary’s. Now however, every time my heart reached for it, the prayer was lifted out of the way. I kept at it for an hour or so, even trying the Divine Mercy chaplet, but to no avail. Then, I even tried praying different prayers – but connected to plane crashes.

          Nothing worked.

          When I played back the dream, trying to discern for myself what prayer or action was needed, I sensed the various parts swirling before me. For a while, the dream and its parts lost its distinctness.

          I knew what I needed to do. I went to St Joseph, the Discerner of Dreams. I asked him to press upon my spirit what I needed to focus on.

          St Joseph immediately answered me. I ‘saw’ the children once more. And I felt these words written on my heart:

They are not dressed.

          My husband and I have given our lives for our children. We try our best to raise them in the teachings of the Catholic faith. We have our ups and downs. Days when we see God in our children. Days when we sense them going astray. Ours is a home where everything can be discussed, and everything is, so we are aware of where they are at every point in their life. We do not shield them from our struggles. Our kids are not raised in a dream world of light and bubbles. As parents we strive to educate them against the selfie mindset that retards the conscience. As we try to bind the wounds of others, we make our children a part of that too.

But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’    ~ Matthew 22:  11 – 12

          I play the dream over in my mind. All of my children were more intent on their own lives. All of them spared little thought for the suffering. But the one who was singled out was my youngest. Despite her joyful nature, and now, her exuberance to embrace prayer, God was warning me that outwardly she and the others might seem as if they were dressed the part but in the eyes of God, they were not right yet.

          Most parents take pride in their children. They think the world of them. My husband and I are one of those too. But our confidence in our children is not singularly ours. It is shared by others – their teachers, our family, our priests too. It’s not a blind pride that gives us a cautious confidence in our brood that they are good kids.

          And yet, despite all we have done, despite the beautiful souls our children truly are, on the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, Mother Mary has come to warn me.

          That my children are not dressed right. They are not ready for the wedding feast.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lent 33 ~ Blue

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For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked! ~ Jeremiah 20:13

 

          Lord, rescue the poor from the wicked. I say this prayer today for children everywhere. The little ones Jesus loves so much. Those who have no real voices, who look to us adults to keep them safe from harm. I say this prayer today for the young who are taken advantage of, abused and maimed in every way, by the very ones entrusted with the care and protection of them.

          I’m saying this prayer to battle the rising anger in my heart. I’m saying this because I feel helpless. But I don’t want to feel helpless. That would mean I was conceding defeat and opening the gates and letting in the very people I should protect children from. 

          No, I want to spirit away these little ones and flee to the mountains where they are safer. But too many are against me; they stand at the ready to thwart every rescue attempt.

          Their numbers shake me; their vengeance and darkening hardness of heart, even more. These shepherds charged with the care of the young sheep are unmasking themselves.

          They are no shepherds. They never were. They have always been wolves. Lord, rescue the poor from the wicked.

          I pray the prayer over and over, willing myself to believe in the hope Jeremiah has brought this morning. Yet, nothing changes within me; doubt still laps at the shores of my heart.

          I tell my God, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. 

          Still in a knot that refuses to go away, I go to my window, to look at the waking skies and to leave my prayer in His hands. Rose-tipped clouds ribbon out from the sun’s old bed of slumber. Dully, I rest my eyes on the rousing vista. My heart remains troubled.

          And then I see it.

          A wide swathe of the most still of blues, in the skies west to the birth of day. No one looking at it would see anything out of the ordinary in it. And yet, it was a blue that fell straight into my wavering spirit.

          The instant the blue touched my spirit, I crossed the break.

          Gone was the fear. Gone was the anger. Gone was the doubt. 

          The blue felt like a light to my soul. It was a blue that was still, deep, quiet.

          It was a blue that held in its expanse a strength beyond compare.

          In that searing joy, I knew that the prayers prayed for children by every one of us have been received.

          I know because I know that blue.

Lent 19 ~ The Stars of Past

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          In our family, the past lives with us like another family member. Almost every day, the past is resurrected. And yet, we are a family that revels in the present. My husband and I have hearts somewhat worn down by hurts and loss, so when our gaze goes beyond the horizon of what is before us, we are understandably more reticent in our hopes. But our children, growing up and facing life’s curves and dips with their hearts firmly in ours, see no clouds beyond the repose of the sun.

          The past comes alive each day when the kids awaken, and some are still young enough to want their morning kisses and cuddles. My husband and I have pet names for each, and while the older ones might look a tad askance when we use them, the younger ones sometimes refuse to answer to their given names, preferring their pet names. I think it’s like a security blanket for them. Or perhaps those funny little names comfort them that they are something special to us that they are not to others.

          I believe my children have grown ‘watching movies’ of their childhood because of the constant airing that childhood narratives get in our home. Not a day goes by without someone purposefully steering the dinner conversation towards tender reminiscences of  growing-up tickles and mischief.

          Is it any wonder that our dinners can go on to close to two hours?

          These precious conversations have become the soul of the family. As we chat and listen and sometimes, argue with one another, the past sits with us, like an unseen guest. He listens in earnest as my husband and I weave for our kids our sharings and teachings about present day issues, from the harbor of the days and lives gone by. Being very much people people,  we are a storehouse of endless family anecdotes.

          Indeed, we have rich earth to draw life lessons from.

          The words from yesterday’s 1st reading is gentle entreaty for a preservation of these ways of ours ~

However, take care and be earnestly on your guard
not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,
nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,
but teach them to your children and to your children’s children. ~ Deuteronomy 4:9

          Those verses tell us that the past must always be allowed its living. Not to haunt or torment and to take life away, but to burnish the life now and that which is to come.

          For just as it has the capacity to bring death, the starlight of history and memories bear also the supreme grace to heal, to nurture, and to light the way ahead.

 

Book of Family

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          I have always been a task-oriented person, living with lists in my head, living for the addictive high of triumphant crossing off of items on list after list after list. When little or nothing got ticked off, the days were empty and dry and that colored my hours with the ochre of frustration. The Advent list is a formidable one. Every Advent, I’d stand, eyeing the horizon of weeks before me, with a grim determination to find my Christmas joy through the accomplishments of baking, cooking, cleaning, teaching, card-making, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.

          I could only enjoy my husband and children if the home was in order, and if I had crossed enough off my list for the day.

          To slow down, to rest my spirit in the Advent hollows away from worldly winds, has never been easy. I have never really known Advent silence, never fully savoured its sacred fragrance. There was always something or someone from the world to draw me away from the pulse of true Christmas.

          And because I’ve never fully stilled my spirit in the deeps of Gloria angel~calls, I never saw that the hearts of my children and husband needed a special infilling of my presence. They yearned a different part of my love, one unsullied by rush, hurry and a crowding of days. More than the number of things I could cook them or do for them, my beautiful loves needed me to rest my heart in them, and not rush off before they had had their fill of me.

          But it was a bidding I could never completely fulfil, so deeply enmeshed was I in the web of busyness, woven from the strands of a hundred lists.

          Till this year.

          The months of seeking inner solitude lit a fresh pink dawn of difference. Ever since this Advent bloomed in the russet beauty of a year slowly edging to its yearned end, I sensed the closing of many doors. So many holiday-things – the books I had hoped to read, the cards I had hoped to make, the writing for my work that always got done in the winding down months of November and December – never materialized or were delayed.

          The past few years, I’ve always been brought a book that would take me on an inner retreat, right from the start of Advent. This had been my Lord’s way to prepare my heart and soul for Christmas.

          And, this year, like always, I waited for my book.

          What came was unexpected. The angels brought me the book of my very own Family.

          This Advent, I felt the firm tread of angels into my home, on a mission to take my heart and press it into the folds of my family. Never before have I been ‘buffeted’ from every angle, with family, as I have experienced this year. From the very first Advent morning, my husband and children have been before my eyes like never before. I am loving them and enjoying them and savouring their beauty as something I have always known, yet find new and fresh. I am doing all I have done before – all the cooking, the cleaning and the nurturing, and yet, there is a new lingering in embraces, a calm and happy savouring of little moments, delighting in shy buds of the precious that peek out through the day like tiny tea~roses amongst thorns and leaves alike.

          This Advent I learned the languidness that disdains the hurry to rush to the next call of worldly need.

          And suddenly, this unhurried loving has opened my eyes to the loving of other families around me. For the first time, I am not only seeing, but also finding life in witnessing the love that binds other parents and grandparents to their children and grandchildren. Where once, seeing this love would have tree-d a wistful ache within me for the same, now my spirit dances joy~swirls as I feast my eyes upon this faithful love of old blooming in other lives.

          The love within a family for one another, surpassed only by God’s love for us, dances before my new eyes, in a myriad of moves. The mother-in-law gently caring for her pregnant daughter-in-law. The trusting embrace of children secure in their father’s devotion. Old and worn grandparents giving to the last drop their love and caring for young grandchildren. The firm assurance of love of children leading their aged beloved down the steps, through the sunset of life. 

          True family love finds its soul through the treasuring of one another. True family love passes through tunnels of sacrifice, to arrive at wide pastures of love, blessed and nourished by the Lord of Love Eternal. Love for one another can never be forged through the absence of sacrifice and savouring. We can never love merely from the pulpit of advices and admonitions, distancing from the rigors of needed sacrifice. We cannot say we love if we are unable to press our own hearts against the little pulses of each family member’s daily journeys.

There is no real love without sacrifice. And when savouring and treasuring is diminished, love is blighted.

          We have lost much, my family and I. Many years spent in sorrowful servitude to parents who never knew what love meant. Nothing we did was ever enough for them. Grandparents who never trilled to little stories and small paws seeking old hands. The Baptisms and birthdays they missed and dismissed. Impatience at lives lived in quiet, away from worldly dictates. Mocking of the Holy Family values and simple joys we strived to live by, however imperfectly. We were the country bumpkins they were ashamed of because we eschewed city life and values. Our simplicity embarrassed them. They tried to polish us to fit into their wealthy and sophisticated social circles, but failed.

          And with that failure, their contempt knew no bounds.

          Yes, our loss has indeed be great, harder, because while they never loved us, we loved them with all our heart.

          Adult survivors of Narcissistic personality abuse live with the sneering and twisting voices of our jailers through too much of our lives. To escape, many of us keep busy.

Very busy.

          We live for lists. And we live for goals and achievements, because accomplishments hush the contempt of our narcissistic jailers who raised us to believe we were useless and incapable. For many of us, this busyness we escape to, blinds and deafens us to much of the healing beauty and truth in the world.

          But this Advent, the bitter potency of what my children and I have endured and lost through narcissistic parents, has slowly begun to mist into oblivion. The sorrowing wounds left behind by countless hackings, washed and bound by lives lived right, by the many people who simply choose to love their children and grandchildren.

          It is a choice based on the pure love of God. These good people may not be conscious of it, but it is a fact that when we love with a purity not shadowed by narcissism, we love with the Love of God.

          As I watch this love, I realize I have to make a conscious choice to move away from busyness and instead savour and enjoy my family. And when I begin, a miracle pearls in my own life – the miracle of Healing. As I heal, so too my family, through the witness of faithful love of other, true parents and grandparents. All loving their families as it was meant to be. Strangely, although we are not the immediate recipients of this love in other families, just seeing the way they have chosen to love, is streaming life and healing into our own wounds.

           I number among those struck blind and deaf from the hurt of abuse by those God chose to be my parents. But I believe in Jesus and Jesus promised that the blind will see and the deaf will hear. 

          That tender promise is blooming true in me now. Rather than seeking self-worth through accomplishments and meaningless servitude, I am willfully choosing to love and savour my family by lingering in family moments.

          And I am healing through each rose~blushed page turned, as I take the time to read my own book of family.

 

 

 

 

Children Are Prayers

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          I was raised by parents who were never very comfortable with parenthood. Their joy in raising my siblings and I came in spots and spikes – and that too only when we said something funny or brought home a good report card. For the most part, it was all about fuming and grumbling. They let us know, in a variety of ways, that we were a burden their friends’ children never were.

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          I grew up never expecting tender, loving care if ever I fell sick, because even a cough brought on my mother’s temper and a dirge about how my illness kept her from a good night’s sleep. So, I learnt to stuff my face into a pillow and cough my lungs out into it, hoping to God that’d be the last cough ever. Even from a young age, I took my meds unsupervised; my dad sat in the living room and yelled the dosage from behind his newspaper. My mother, reluctantly cast in the role of cooking porridge for the sick child, was too busy fuming that I had the nerve to fall ill, to ensure I didn’t overdose. Or under-medicate.

          I can never recall my mother giving us our meds. Or helping to tie our laces. Or ironing our clothes. She was always in some storm over the burdens placed on her. But she cooked us good meals, and then, as we wolfed down our food hungrily, taught us to praise her cooking – to her and to our relatives and friends. For about thirteen years, she kept a clean and neat home – never as easy feat even with one child, what more with more, – but again, it more all about preening and keeping up appearances – Look at how well I keep the home, – than it was about any benefit for us.

          Caring for the family was never about love.

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When the Cat’s Away the Mice Will Play by Théophile-Emmanuel Duverger

          Today, I, and so many others the world over, have the same responsibilities to mother our children. My siblings and I, being products of a different era, for the most part, kept still in church and other public places; my children have never understood the meaning of being still and silent. The moment they sit in the pew, the squirming and furtive fights begin. Out-of-the-side-of-the-mouth parenting is an art form I have perfected whenever we go out. Also, because of my children, I am the unabashed maestro at arranging my features into smiling gentleness whilst leaning towards the most recalcitrant of the lot, and saying through clenched teeth, Do you want to know what will happen if this behavior continues? When we get home, there’ll be a lecture on bad behavior and maybe some reduced tv time from already sparse viewing opportunities. And the erring one will climb into our lap to howl and sob a torrent at the injustice of it all, while we hold them close, struggling to choke down our laughter.

          And remain unmoved by the tears, holding firm to the punishment.

          But never a lament that stretches into the week, about the undeserving shame brought onto parents.

          Not because we’re model parents. Not because we’ve never felt mortification at the sight of one of our children attempting to do the overturned beetle routine over a denied request. Not because we’re saints with a turn-on-the-tap flow of patience.

At It Again, by Jim Daly

At It Again by Jim Daly

          But because that’s what children do. At least most of them. The whines, the howls, the squabbles, the misbehaving. Sniffles, measles, teething – all from one person, all in one week. Getting thrown off the bike. Falling off a tree. Getting stuck in a tree, so, so high up and screaming for the 8-month pregnant mother to come right now and get her down.

          That’s all part of the repertoire of being a child.       

          Often, there are shadows and deep pain from having children, and caring for children. Miscarriages. Long hospital stays and endless tests for an unknown illness. Hope and desperation as you see the life that came from you slowly reach for an unseen hand not yours. The knifing pains and tears that never dry, years and years after burying your child.

          Yet, those shadows too have their place in the Heaven and Calvary of raising children.

          Pain is not supposed to visit only other people’s children, and to skip ours. Sorrow is bound inextricably to joy, and never is that more true than in raising and parenting children. For every joy, there will be a sorrow. For every sorrow, there will be a joy.

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Peeling Potatoes by Frank Holl

          To love a child is to be there for them, through life-changing decisions, as well as through the everyday heroism of little things done without charge. To love them with every fibre of our being, through the redgolds of sun-joys and through the purple pain-wreathed years of deepest grief

          To love a child is to touch heaven. A worn out Irish mother to twelve once expressed her worry to her priest that she wasn’t praying much due to the amount of time taken up for the home.

          The old priest replied, Your children is your prayer.

 

 

Thanksgiving For Little Lights

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          A chance reading of Melanie Jean Juneau’s lovely piece, Discovering the Fountain of Youth, lit a light within me: I don’t thank children enough. My lack of thanksgiving for children- born of me, born of others – perhaps stems from my single-minded focus on caring, nurturing and providing for them, seeing children mainly as something to work on, to work for, but precious little else.

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          I am too fixated on the notion that it is my duty to lead children to heaven, that it fogs my vision to see the truth: that I need them as much, too. This unfortunate amnesia of the gift that children are often obscures the greater truth that children are lights for me from Heaven, sent to lead me Home.  And need their light of leading I do because I don’t always know which path it is that leads to Heaven.

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          In the egoistic preoccupation with life and duty, it is often forgotten that life is not always just about caring for children; it’s just as much about letting down my guard and opening the door of my heart to allow the young in my life to minister to me, to set me on the path to heaven. If I could let them through the fences I’ve put up, I reckon there’d be much I can learn from them, for children possess a power I do not have – the power to lift the veil to the living I am called to, melting away that which is superfluous and detrimental. They live joy through love, teaching me that love needn’t be draining and burdensome; that sacrifice without love parches the soul – a lesson to be learnt a thousand times over.

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         Let no one dispute that children are the Keepers of the Lamp of heavenly TruthThey take me away from the smug belief that the beginning and end of Wisdom lies solely with me. When the young hurt me even as I try to love and guide them, it’s a pain that bewilders because they seem to have rejected what I deem right and good. I often fail to see that heartaches wrought by children actually lead me away from the deception that the children in my life exist mainly to be shepherded and corralled into approved pastures of thought and behaviour. If anything, putting on the mantles of humility and faith can help me understand that my will for the children must never supercede God’s path for them, for His sight extends far beyond my myopic limitations.

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          All children are formed of joy, the gift of laughter and joy firmly tethered in the soul of children even in the rising of the squall. They embody joyful survival in the life-journey through challenges and pains.

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          Hence, when life sours and pickles into greys and aridity, and laughter shrouds itself, the blossoming of insight comes from the little souls who live the Truth that the balm for the weary spirit is in the casting of its burdens on the Master, and that release can be found in heaven’s wellsprings of mirth and play.

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          And now, as the Light of the Baby King peeks from its pearl shell of Advent, on my heart I etch a renewed prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of children brought into my life – little Keepers of the Lamp who help me lean on God to heal and love and live right, and who thus, light the path to Heaven true.

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EYES WE CLOSED, LOVE WE STILLED

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Forgive us, Lord,

For the Wisdom we gave no need

Heads we turned against children

Worldly gold that focused us

Pursuit of treasure in the field

Any wagon riding the railway of Self.

 

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Forgive us, Lord,

For the cries we deafened our ears to

Numbed our hearts against

Pleas from the womb, orphan shelters, secret graves

Homes wreathed in hidden ribbons of abuse

Children in a hidden world not right.

  

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Forgive us, Lord,

For the paths we chose to tread

Angled away from buried sorrows

Bitterseeds birthed and grown old in the drought of hope

But received first in the cold earth

Of reluctant mothers and fathers.

  

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Forgive us, Lord,

For the children we failed to love

Born of us, born of others

Left to pain, forever weep

Gnarled, twisted lives to lead

Because our eyes we closed, our love we stilled.

 

 

GOING BEYOND THE VEIL

Lake In The Morning, NZ ~ STEFFEN SCHRAEGLE

Lake In The Morning, NZ ~ STEFFEN SCHRAEGLE

Some years ago, in the rain-drenched month of December, I heard the insistent whisper of four words that cut through the fog in my head: Go Beyond The Veil. Day and night for weeks, every single minute, and even the very second I opened my eyes from sleep, the words beat an insistent drum on my soul. Go Beyond The Veil, Go Beyond The Veil, Go Beyond The Veil.

I thought my time was up. Had He come to call me?

No, Lord, I fought back, Not now. The kids are so small, I am not ready yet. Not for another great many years.

          Go Beyond The Veil.

In a twist over the urgency of the voice and its message, I asked someone what it might mean. She said it was to go into the holy of holies, right before the Throne of God.

I recoiled inwardly because the last thing I wanted at that time, was to stand before a God who I considered harsh and unfeeling. One I had called out to so many times, begging for help, for release, but to no avail. Go to the God who gave me an exquisite joy, and yet, reached out and took that joy away?

I fled as far I could. No, No, No.

The voice then stilled.

Many a pot-holed road travelled years later, with all manner of stumbles and trip-ups and lurching into mud puddles, I am now beginning to grasp the true meaning of Go Beyond The Veil. It was not a summons to judgment or death. It was a love-invitation to part the gossamer mist that separated the gray swirls of my life, and the bloom of Light where my abode should have been. It was the Hand I had prayed for but never recognized when it came.

          Go Beyond The Veil was the call to the child within me that I never knew existed. The Hidden Child. One who peeked at the life I led, from behind curtains. Who lived in silent spaces, never intruding, quiet and in hope of release some day. So, release her I have, this year.

Where once I stumbled tiredly to the kitchen to begin each day,

The Child Once Hidden now watches the violet blue unfurling of the dawn sky;

She spends restful minutes under the shade of zinnias,

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And pauses to allow the jasmines to bless her

For many years staring, yet not seeing the blooms in the morning rays

She now bends in humble homage for the pink blush petals to bless her soul;

Rediscovered delighting in trims and trinkets

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Soul’s repose she seeks now in her Mother’s beads;

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Where once she turned away from mothers holding a child in embrace

The Child Once Hidden now laughs and giggles

Treasuring and honouring Life’s pearls and tears.

I no longer lament loss.

But neither do I welcome it, for that strength is not mine just yet.

I do not rue wasted years, for to get to where I now stand, that was the only route.

I have finally found Life in the love God blessed me with ~ the enduring and precious gift of husband and children.

I have always loved them.

But the Child Once Hidden, healed and freed, now receivesBy Jeremiah J. White

The gift of Love that was always, always there.

The Light Called PLAY

There are those amongst us who fear a light called Play. 40-daily-life_1024[1]These persons live in suspicion and fear of children seeking freedom in play. From narcissistic parents, to rigid school administrators, to religious terrorists, this particular perception thrives and breathes in dark spaces where the light of play has no permission to enter. It seeks to take children away from play, to destroy their play spaces, pull down the soaring soul. The roots of this subtle malevolence may perhaps lie in the jealousy and envy of a child’s ability to escape from rules and restraints and to find liberation in play in all its forms.

Evert Pieters - Children at Play

Evert Pieters – Children at Play

These people with shadows in their souls, fail to comprehend the beauty of children squealing as swings lift them high above the ground. the-swing-illustration3-julie-morstad[1] They understand not the childish glee of water puddle dances and mud roll-abouts. girl-and-pig-in-mud[1] They mock the pebble-treasures carefully stored in bottles and boxes long discarded. They disdain the world of make-believe where children parade in clothes discovered in an attic raid, 7df9fb97a2d322a6fbe66d5447e795a0[1] There are those amongst us who abhor Play. They understand it not, and yet, instinctively, fear Play, because Play takes the child away from the captor. Play is a world that does not open its doors willingly to a soul that seeks to shackle and control. The world of water puddles and swings and giddy make-believe is a light so pure that it must hurt the soul nourished by only darkness, emptiness and a desire to control.

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And to escape that hurt caused by light, Soul Captors seek to destroy children’s playgrounds and everything associated with play.

From the social ladder-climbing mother who feels only shame in a child’s mud pies and flower-soups because it lacks trophy-worthiness,

To school administrators who schedule hours upon hours of cramming-classes after school because play is a waste of time,

To the teary child pushed to hours of piano practice to be performance ready at every family event,

To parents who tear up scrapbooks in shame and rage when exam results come in, because play brought Fs and not As,

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To the religious bigot who admonishes children that they’re better off memorizing religious texts than playing,

To men who were once children but who now booby-trap children’s playgrounds.

The fear in them wants playgrounds emptied, play reduced, manipulated, outlawed even.

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Because Play threatens to bring Light to those who want to remain in the shadows.

But You’d Understand

imagesWN3KR7PNI’m thinking of you, today, St Joseph,

This second day of your novena;

To retreat from the world

And rest awhile in your lap, I’d like.

Away from questioning gazes and puzzled frowns

To cry, if but a little.

No real reason, no tragedy or true sorrow

Just a silly cry over a silly sadness

But you’d understand.

 

imagesALAGWKOCI’m thinking of you, today, St Joseph,

This second day of your novena;

To open my heart

And lay bare

The hope in shame, hidden

Wrapped in ribbons of foolishness;

A fool in the eyes of the world, I am,

But you’d understand.

 

imagesKA7L2U8NI’m thinking of you, today, St Joseph,

This second day of your novena;

Silently to me you came

In old light of remembered prayer;

That a place to rest there is

For silly tears and worn dreams

Wrinkle against logic, they do

But you’d understand.