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Monday, October 01, 2012

I Made It

I waited almost too late, but I made it.

It was beginning to get dark and it's been drizzling and raining most of the day.

The vines and underbrush had grown up and it was a bit difficult to recognize the exact spot. Fortunately, the grass at the edge of the road had been mown so I didn't have to deal with that.

But, with a little searching, there it was - the little white cross I nailed to the tree on the first anniversary.

It's been four years.

How do I feel? A bit frustrated with myself for waiting so late in the day. A little bit lonely (revisiting those places and memories has that affect on me). A little like there's something missing.

Although love has once again become a part of my life, and I know that someone else very special cares for me, she is not forgotten.

Once again:

In Memoriam... Donna Dickson, December 18, 1961- October 1, 2008

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Treading an older path

The last day of September, 2012. Also, a few days into my vacation.

For many years Donna and I would travel to Virginia for our fall vacation. In fact, since her death, I have continued going, usually in October -- it's such a wonderful time of year for that part of the country with the fall leaves. In planning my vacation this year, I had actually anticipated going up.

It was also pertinent that tomorrow marks the 4 year anniversary of her death.

However, for several reasons, I had chosen to stay home this year. (Perhaps tomorrow I will visit the accident site.)

Now, with the decision to stay home comes the decision of where to attend church. In my mind, the first choices were between First Baptist Church of Toccoa, GA, a people who had graciously welcomed us during some difficult days, and Hill Street Baptist Church, also in Toccoa, another people who had welcomed us and allowed me to serve with them on a part-time basis with them during that same period.

I also was considering a brief run to some mountains after church since there was to be no Virginia in my fall. However, to attend church in Toccoa and then run to the mountains meant leaving Abby at home...

Then, another solution occurred to me. I could attend the contemporary worship service here in Lavonia at the First Baptist Church. That would allow me to return home after the service, change clothes, get Abby, and had to the mountains. Besides I could see how a contemporary services was done -- research.

As this morning approached, the choices waged war in my mind -- what would I do?

As I got into the car, cranked the engines, and pulled out of the driveway, I made my choice...I would tread an older path. I decided to attend Hill Street.

I arrived a couple of minutes late and slipped into the back pew. Unfortunately, it is a smaller church and with the pastor (interestingly, that came up as 'predator' in this swipe entry method) at the front, it was not possible to arrive unnoticed. With the regular music leader out, I was even asked to lead the next hymn.

After the service it was good to be greeted by many familiar folks and to spend some time talking with long-time pastor, Paul Garrison.

Now, what about the mountains? Another choice...

I drove from the parking lot so that I could head in the direction of the North Georgia mountains, but as I arrived as the decision intersection, I turned right toward South Carolina. As I headed toward Westminster, I wasn't sure I would see mountains, but I knew it would involve taking a newer path. It was refreshing. It didn't take long and I was able to return home to Abby and some lunch sooner. No mountains, but a senior adult trip in a few weeks (maybe even a jaunt with Jani) will take care of that.

All in all, it's been a good day. I've taken a new path and an old path.

Blessings,
Richard

Friday, September 28, 2012

New Experiences

Well, the second day off my vacation (actually, yesterday was my usual day off).

Today, besides resting and taking - and playing games on my tablet - I had a couple of new experiences.

1. I cooked cornbread. Now mind you that I'm not fond of that stuff people usually call cornbread, that cake like substance. No, this is honest to goodness cornbread like my mother makes. A simple concoction of cornmeal, flour, and water dropped down in hot grease or oil and fried in little things that resemble pancakes. I admit they weren't the greatest, but they were pretty good for my first ones.

2. I steamed my floor. I admit that living alone I don't worry too much about my floors, but the kitchen and bathroom floors were needing some definite attention. So, today, I cleared most of those floors, then swept them. Afterwards, I pulled out and assembled the steam floor mop I bought yesterday. It was kind of cool. It still required some labor, but the clean up afterwards was not too bad.

In addition to my two brand new experiences, I have also washed the bed sheets.

Finally, in the category of new experiences, I am working on using this finger slide method of typing on my tablet. Since the keyboard is very much slower than a traditional computer keyboard, it is a much faster way to type. The proof is in this blog post. I am currently using the blogger app to do this post, and I can assure you that it would have been much more difficult to type this much by one- finger presses on the little pop-up keyboard.

Well, I need to get the sheets back on the beds, the stuff back onto the kitchen and bathrooms, and see what other 'work' I need to do on this 2nd day of vacation so I can continue to enjoy my rest and relaxation.

Blessings!
Richard

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vacation 2012

OK, I am officially on vacation.

Now, I am torn. One part of me wants to take this time to just relax and refresh.

Another part of me wants to get some of those many things that I've either haven't had time for or have just been putting off until later.

Hopefully, in the best interest of all (of me, that is), I will be able to do some of both.

Note that blogging has been one of the things that has been neglected.

Well, to accomplish either of my goals I'll need to get some rest, so I better close for now and prepare for bed.

Goodnight and blessings to you!

Monday, January 24, 2011

To Live with Death in Mind

This morning as I backed out of my drive and drove away to work, I glanced over at my house. My mind jumped instantly to the thought, "I wonder what Donna was thinking about as she drove away from the house on that last day." (For those who do not know me or who have not read this blog before, my late wife, Donna, died in a automobile accident in 2008.)

My mind turned to contemplation. First the old: do we live for the moment or do we live in the moment?

Then, I started wondering: if we knew that we would die in the next few minutes, hours, or days, what would we spend time thinking about. Would we dwell on hurt, disappointment, anger, jealousy, and pain? Would we live in the past, whether sad or joyful? Would we continue to allow our frustrations to dominate us?

Or...would we notice the beauty around us? Would we relish this moment? Would we contemplate love and goodness?

I actually tried some of this on my drive in to work. I noticed the water-color appearance of the clouds against the sky, even the stark crispness of leafless trees etched against that same sky. Then, there were the evergreens holding on to their needles in contrast to their naked neighbors. And, of course, I had to be grateful that the sun was not in my eyes! It actually became a more pleasant drive.

Seems to me the scripture even speaks to this:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)

Wow! So, dying or not, our thoughts should be consumed with the good stuff of life and not bogged down with the bad.

Now, I'm not sure that our thoughts will change how we die, but I am convinced that our thoughts can change how we live. Can you imagine the possibilities?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Catharsis and Prayer

She was not there, but I was.

11:30 a.m., the time on her death certificate, two years ago on October 1, 2008.

Because of a wedding in the family, I was able to visit the cemetery in Bluefield, VA, on this anniversary of her death. Before arriving, I was not sure what my emotions, my thoughts, would be. But, here I was...

First, cleaning off the marker and throwing away the old flowers: both ours and her mom's. There were no flowers at our site, just a pot full of water and old styrofoam - it had been a while since I had been able to come.

Then, the new flowers came out - her mom's first, then her's.

During this process there was talk, obviously one-sided. And, of course, I knew she was not there. In fact, I don't believe she could even hear what I was saying. God is so good that I know in my heart that He shields her from every hint of the pain and sorrow that dogged her life here on earth. Perhaps if there was something good, He would share it, but I feel that she doesn't know of or feel even my pain, and that is very good!!

But, I talked. I talked about the wedding, about Abby, about me. Whatever came to mind, I just talked.

At times, knowing that only God could truly hear the words, the feelings, the pain, the talk shifted into prayer.

I stayed longer this time, partially because I wanted to be there at that exact moment that marked the time of her earthly departure, but also because the talk came easily. And, even the quietness and solitude felt good.

Near the end of my visit, I just sat on the nearby statuary (a statue of our Lord kneeling and praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before His own trial and death), and just contemplated.

It occurred to me that what I was doing wasn't solving any of the worlds problems; it wasn't even solving any of mine. But, then I thought...most of those problems are really not that important after all - perspective!

It was a good time! Catharsis and prayer! Amen!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thoughts on Christmas 2009

Christmas has been interesting this year.

At Thanksgiving my hotwater heater leaked and created a small flood in my garage. One of the items I had to remove was a Christmas tree covered with a red plastic bag tree cover. When I uncovered it, I discovered one of Donna's Charlie Brown trees with the lights still on it. So, this year I have a Christmas tree, in the front window no less with lights - no angel, no star, no decorations - but a tree with lights. (I did put a wreath on the door and a small manger scene just inside the front door.)

After the Christmas Eve Service at First Baptist Church of Jefferson, GA, I had a 2-plus hour night-time drive to my parent's home. Along the way my most interesting thought was a feeling that I was leaving Donna at home in the bed while I went to my parent's for Christmas - yes, odd. Perhaps it reminded me of the several months when I would leave her at home traveling to Sandersville for my Interim Associate Pastor position at Sisters Baptist Church there. Perhaps it came because I was not going to be able to go to Virginia this Christmas to visit her grave. Whatever the reason, it was a feeling I had.

Christmas morning after getting up and somewhere around a breakfast of sausage, toast, and grits, and opening our presents to each other, I discovered Hedgehog Launch at Shockwave.com. So...I wasted a lot of time launching hedgehogs. Just wish it was as easy to make money - I got up to over $4 million - nice dreaming.

At lunch we headed over to my sister's house to eat. It was she and her husband, their three daughters and two sons-in-law, plus me and our parents. After a brief visit and some looking at their presents, the tables were set up and set and we began to eat. Suddenly we were interupted by the news that the house one my nieces lived in had been broken into and some items were apparently stolen (of greater importance to my niece, the cat was missing).

Suddenly the meal was hurried, gifts were quickly exchanged as my niece and her dad prepared for a quick trip to Atlanta to see the damage and do what they could to secure the property. We discovered somewhere along the way that the thieves had apparently been arrested and perhaps some items recovered. Later when they returned, they reported that they couldn't do much until tomorrow when the officers who were investigating this crime were back on duty. Some items were still missing, but we are hoping that they can be recovered. Oh yes, the cat was found and is OK.

I wish for all of you a Joyous Christmas (yes, the first day of Christmas is past, but we have 11 more) and a Blessed New Year!

Christmas has definitely been different and interesting this year.

Richard