Monday, September 9, 2013

Rhymes With Dancer

It seems like through every stage of life there is a season.  When we are in our 20s it seems like everyone we know is getting married.  Then soon comes the season of children, when everyone we know is pregnant or chasing toddlers around their house.  That gives way to the season of school, soon to be the season of graduation and then the season of going to the weddings of our children and their friends.  Generation after generation, the seasons continue.

But there are new, sad seasons that also come with age - the season of losing grandparents.  I was lucky enough that my parents were young when I was born and I had a full set of grandparents and I had two great grandparents.  As I grew older, my friends started losing their grandparents, and then there was the inevitable season of moving the grandparents, and it seemed like everyone I knew was dealing with immortality in their families in some fashion.

And now I seem to be at the age where the season of cancer is dwelling like a black cloud behind a closet door.  My first friend with cancer was diagnosed last week, and the prognosis is poor.  I cried and prayed for her, for it was not fair - she has always given so much of herself to others.  My cousins' grandma had breast cancer at 91, but sailed through a surgery and now seems to be okay.  But my poor grandpa, so sad and lonely for the past few months, has now been sledgehammered with another tragedy - possible pancreatic and liver cancer.

He has taken the news well, but even at the age of 89 his mortality staring him in the face is a frightening prospect.  Yes, he will see grandma soon, but he wanted to write his memoirs, and now there will be so little time.  He wants more coffee time with the boys, more time with his books and maps, and more time with his precious family.  I thought we would have so much more time together, but it is looking like God has a different plan.

The seasons will continue to come at astonishing velocities, as I watch my parents, now in the season of losing their own parents.  I am fearful of the pain and suffering to come, which is why there is only one way to get through this mess of life - by handing it all at the feet of Jesus.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Some Enchanted Evening

It has been a wonderful summer, full of activity and travels, but it has also been tough to live without the rock of our family, my grandma.  Every day I think about her and every Sunday the skies open up during worship and I can feel her looking down, and I cry, happy that we sing in the dark and no one can see my tears.

I am so sad for my grandpa; I saw him today and he is so heartbroken.  I don't think anyone of us can imagine what it is like to lose someone you have know for over 69 years.  I was lucky enough, a couple of weeks ago, to hear him tell the story of when they met.  I had heard it in pieces before, but never in so much detail, and his eyes shone as he spoke of that night.

Grandpa was in Canada on duty for England in the Second World War, and he was stationed at Penhold in early 1944.  On Saturday nights, busses full of young ladies from Red Deer would travel to the base and the young ladies and the soldiers would dance the night away.  One February night, my grandpa, barely 20 years old, spotted a beautiful young lady across the room and couldn't believe she wasn't dancing with anyone.  He asked her to dance, and they spent the night together, dancing slowly and quickly, all of the dances of that era, and he said she was such a good dancer.

At the end of the night, she went back to the bus, and he followed, not wanting her to go, and he said it was a cold night and he didn't have a jacket on.  She was wearing a big fur coat, and she opened it up and wrapped it around him.  He said that was it, and he knew he would marry her.  She came back in the bus every Saturday, and after 5 or 6 weeks of dancing, he asked her to marry him.  Her response was, "I'll have to ask my mum", to which he replied, "Aren't you old enough to decide?  Do you want to marry me?", and she said, "Yes, I think so, but you'll have to ask mum."  Obviously her mother said yes, because they were married soon after, on May 12, 1944.  They rest is history.

When I was younger it was my grandma with whom I had long chats, and my grandpa and I would talk about soccer or play crib.  Now I just visit to sit and listen to him, and some days, like a couple of weeks ago, he is in good spirits, full of happy memories.  But today, he started to cry as he thought of her, and as I touched his shoulder, I realized how thin he had become, and how lonely he has been.

As I listened to the message today about the Holy Spirit, I prayed so hard for the Holy Spirit to comfort him, and I hope that my grandma visits him tonight and they can dance the night away just as they did on that cold February night 69 years ago.