Seven Years of Sorrow, Seven Years of Hope

me and livThis is the day. Seven years ago today our daughter Olivia went to be with Jesus.  Each year I spend this season thinking about our lovely, happy brave girl. She was a gift from God. This is where my thoughts have been.

There is a time after losing a loved one when panic sets in. I read about this in CS Lewis’  A Grief Observed and I have felt it myself. It is the time when you realize you are moving inexorably away from when you were together. First it is a small gap of hours or days and then one day you realize it has become a chasm larger than the Grand Canyon which, by the way,  was crossed by a Wallenda. There is no crossing this. Not in this life.  And you want to go back to the time when it was only a day or a week since being with your dear loved one, or back farther when even though she was ill, she was there and breathing and a smile might come now and then and the loss was not so permanent.

I was sitting by the grave of our daughter a few years back when I felt this selfsame panic, the feeling of leaving behind the dear presence of Olivia. And I do think it was God who comforted me with His truth. This is not the end. This isn’t all there is. Remember the future. Look ahead.  You are moving away but you are also moving toward – toward the kingdom that shall not be shaken where God will wipe away your tears. Forever.

I thank God for making us with imaginations.  Sometimes when I run I am filled with thoughts of heaven and God and grace and majesty and my hands go up in happiness and worship. I picture Olivia in heaven. She is sitting at the feet of Jesus with her hands on the ground behind her as she looks up into his face.  She is having a marvelous time, love and laughter and light abound. And I imagine that with my hands outstretched and hers on the floor of the heavens as she listens to Jesus …..almost our fingers touch.

One day they will. In that unshakable kingdom where tears are wiped away, the chasm dividing us will be no more. My morning run today mirrored my thoughts. It is a cold, bleak day. The tears flow, but the comfort and hope God gives is present too. The winter sun shines. I know spring is coming.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Vivian Walden

Breakfast with the Princess

DSCN0685It’s Saturday morning and I am sitting at the tiled counter sipping some much needed java. Life is good on these bleary mornings when there is no need to rush here or there and the most important thing on the agenda is getting some much needed rest and quietly meandering through the house. I lazily sweep the kitchen and putter about, enjoying the quietness and the time to neaten things. It’s all very therapeutic and simple and I am in my element. My mind wanders here and there, thinking over the week. It’s been busy, with a new job and new responsibilities.

And then, into my silent reverie, slips a little imp. In her bright pink nightgown she quietly skips across the room  reaching her little arms up and around my neck and quietly whispering, ‘Baboushka, my Baboushka. I luff you.’

Together we fix her cereal; cheerios and rice milk. She eats and I admire. She is constantly searching her mind for the English words she knows. Her 4 year old mind is taking in so much these days. I often wonder how she keeps it straight.

“Princess.” Sofya says pointing to me.

“Ballerina.” pointing to herself.

And we are off….to the world of make believe where princesses  and Russian ballerinas eat their breakfasts and dance around the kitchen as a follow up. Yes, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day, especially when you breakfast with a princess.