Possible, probable, or mystery?


DSC_0184I received a letter today after receiving a phone message from a stranger. She told me that she had a letter addressed to me from an address I last lived at in 1999. The woman now owns and rents out the cute old house we used to live in, and the letter…the letter…

I went by her house today and picked up the letter. She told me beforehand that she had opened it, by mistake, was just busy and didn’t read the name before tearing into it. She apologized. The letter was taped closed.

I went back out to the car, looked at the airmail envelope and the value of the stamp and noticed no return address. I thought how it’s been some time since postage in Canada was 43 cents. I drove away, pulled into the parking lot at the grocery store, and opened the letter.

Two pages, typewritten, and hand signed. I read the words slowly. I read them again, noting the telltale signs of time of writing. “seeing photos of you and Bob and your wee lad” and “He has given you one of the greatest of all blessings, a dear wee son…” and further on “God bless you – all three”. We are “five” now and have been a family of five since 1996 when our second son was born.

Just now I google stamps in Canada 1996 and see…45 cents

And a little more digging around and I see the stamp…issued for 43 cents, December 30, 1992.

The letter is dated June 15, without a year noted. But our wee son was born in May, 1993, so it could be from June 1993, or a stamp saved and used in June 1994, or June 1995…because by June 1996, we were a family of four.

Could this letter have been in transit for 20 plus years? Is this even possible?

Could I have received the letter while still living at the old house and left it behind when we moved? I can’t recall having read it before, but sometimes I have trouble recalling my PIN! Probable, I suppose, but why would multiple owners of the old house, and multiple tenants save this letter over and over again rather than recycling it?

What am I to think? What does it mean?

An old family friend, a mentor all those years ago, the writer of the letter is long passed from my life and from this world. I wonder how many years he has been gone now? I text my brothers and ask them.

What is it he had to say over 2 decades ago that I am to pay attention to now?

And so I will sit with the letter, and ponder the question… what is it God, that you would have me see?

And at the same time, shivers that this is happening…and the memories of that time…the people…a reminder of someone good, kind, and gentle who took the time to write a letter.

This is just a wee note to renew acquaintances, for I so well remember you…

Sincerely, in Him,

Alan

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Keep calm and carry on.


KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

Image by hockadilly via Flickr

A word misunderstood, a glance in the wrong direction, downcast eyes, silence. Suddenly what began as a new week, fresh with energy and focus and potential, crumbles. And all before 9 AM.

Doors slam. Voices rise. Eyes fill with tears. Peace is broken.

Why is it so easy to go here, when you desire and strive for the opposite. Why is the family fraught with arguments, disagreements, conflict? This place of refuge and rest, our home, is anything but this morning. After I drive those blessed children of ours to school,  I retreat to my corner, my chores, my thoughts, my own set of tears, and pray that God will make a change.

God make a change in me. Is it me, Lord? What is this ever changing role of mother supposed to look like in your eyes?

Am I trying to control too much? Am I not entitled to an opinion? Have I not sacrificed much, loved much, given much, to be allowed to speak into their lives? And it’s not about complicated things… it’s about hair products, the type of music one might learn at guitar lessons, meeting deadlines for applications. It’s about emptying and filling the dishwasher. It’s about being respectful and polite and loving in one’s tone of voice. These are not biggies… to me… but to them, they are the mountains worth fighting for. Why?

They are growing up and away. I understand that, for the most part. They are testing their boundaries. I understand that too. All the years of investing… infant, toddler, little children, pre-teens… all to bring us to this new place called ‘young adulthood’… just as it should be. We have been preparing them to go. That’s easier said than done. Sometimes, in the words of a dear friend,  it feels like you are trying to cram everything you can into them while you still have a chance! And at the same time, I’ve grown older, more tired, perhaps even a little worn out?

I need a faith injection, Lord! I need your wisdom, clarity, energy, and a huge outpouring of your love, to allow me to love them lavishly! As they so deserve and require of me.

God knows. God is here in the middle of it with me. I don’t know what I’d do without him here. Sit on the kitchen floor and cry while the dog licks my tears and wonders what’s wrong with mama? (Hey, wait a minute, I just did that!)

Even so, I get up and turn on worship music, I turn my thoughts heavenward and ask again for the strength and resilience of God’s spirit, that will enable me to get off the floor and carry on. Deep breaths. Inhale faith. Exhale despair. Inhale peace. Exhale entitlement. Inhale grace. Inhale more of God’s grace. For me, for them.

Forgive me, Lord for losing my patience with your precious kids. Forgive me for not being a very loving mother this morning. Forgive me for causing them pain, for sending them out feeling sad and misunderstood. Forgive me for not inviting you into the situation then, rather than waiting until now. Please walk with me Lord, because I cannot bear to walk alone.

Keep calm and carry on… yes, I will do just that.

Peace, out.

Lesley-Anne

Dear Lord, I do not ask to see the path. In darkness, in anguish and in fear, I will hang on tightly to your hand, and I will close my eyes, so that you know how much trust I place in you, Spouse of my soul.

– Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad

The “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster was initially produced by the Ministry of Information[2] in 1939 during the beginning of World War II. It was intended to be distributed in order to strengthen morale in the event of a wartime disaster. Two-and-a-half million copies were printed, although the poster was distributed only in limited numbers.[3] The designer of the poster is not known.

Poetry Friday031


 

 

 

 

 

 

Porcelain

I come from a long line of strident women
First born porcelain cleaners.
I have cleaned white bowls for 40 years
if you count the early days when my brothers did yard work
and I polished taps and sanitized alongside Mother.

I tried to levy birth order then
for wrinkled finger tips, upright vacuums white noise, and
dusters made of outgrown undershirts.
Stared with longing out the window for
a clue less obvious than
the flowering buds of my own soft flesh.

Come to think of it,
I denied things long after;
my femininity an afterthought,
broadcast an ‘I Can Do Anything’ mantra like a war shield,
blazing fearless into
life and love.

Life inside me changed everything.
Womb blossoming like a June rose
fragrant with maternity, all thoughts of
equality cracked like the precious hand
of my grandmother’s china doll.
Clarity came with mother’s milk and creation,
my benediction to a long line
of strident women

Lesley-Anne Evans
August 2010

I do remember…


My Grandfather’s father, Sgt. James Hislop Cook, A Company, 20th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. 1914 – 1919. Photo taken in 1918.

Note the insignia on his lower left sleeve.

CROSSED RIFLES: The crossed rifles identify him as a Marksman. This qualification entitled men to an extra allowance, which was welcome for poorly paid soldiers. Marksmanship qualifications had to be re-earned every year.

THREE STRIPES: These stripes are commonly known as “wound stripes”, and are rewarded each time a soldier is wounded in combat.

Thanks to my brother Joel for the use of these family photos and the explanations of their meaning.

February 14, 1916. (Valentine’s Day)
Dearest Sweet,
Just another card to your collection. Hope to find yourself in best of health as this leaves me well and looking forward to being with you very soon now – kindly Geo [his brother, George, also a soldier] was asking after you all, best wishes to the barnes [children] and not forgetting my wiffie, lots of love from your own husband Jim
xxxxxxxxx
’till we meet again lovy