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Dear James January 28, 2013

Posted by dreamom in Faith, Fears, Life, Peace.
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What can I say. I have read your book several times, but I am realising that I hardly know you.

First you say to consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds. That seems hard enough on its own.

Then you say if anyone lacks wisdom to ask God and it will be given to him. Now forgive me if this makes me nervous. I have been at this long enough that I know full well how God grants patience. Knowing that, and what my aching heart has been through in the last year… Well. Lets just say wisdom starts to look over-rated.

I just want some security, comfort, and to have a break from hard lessons for a bit. Can I ask for that too?

I guess I have to keep studying to find out…

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Milestones March 18, 2012

Posted by dreamom in 1000 Gifts, Faith, family, Fears, Goals, Happiness, Home, Life, Peace, Pregnancy Loss.
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As humans we are drawn to milestones.  There are birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, coming of age celebrations – We use them to measure our lives and accomplishments.  We use them to celebrate and revel in the joy of making it to the next milestone.

Some milestones are not as pleasant to dwell on.  We tend to dwell on them too as we remember, relive, and grasp at the loss it represents.  Recently I was up too late on the computer, and I noticed that the date rolled over to the 2nd of March – marking one month since finding out about the death of the baby in my womb.  At that moment it gave me pause, and I faced with apprehension the coming 24hrs and what emotions that might bring.  I posted on Facebook to mark the event and went to bed.

It was only one month previous that I got the news, I faced head on a very dark time as I faced the loss, made decisions and waited.  I remembered the despair, the confusion, the feeling that nothing was ever going to be okay again.  I woke up in the morning and I was surprised that initially I … forgot.  I intended to take the day as it came, and when I did I found I was not focusing on the pain that I was remembering.  I was moving through my day and I was not pulled back to the place of sorrow and tears.  Instead I was grateful for the distance I had come.  I was thankful that those huge, harsh emotions I felt were not threatening to overcome me again. In fact, I found I had to remind myself of the day from time to time.  At one such point I began to ponder why.  Why am I WORKING to revisit a pain that I am not feeling?  I decided that if I started to feel the pain that I should address it, but otherwise I did not need to force myself back there.

It is now a little more than 24 hours to marking one month since Hannah’s birth.  Again I find that I don’t feel the pain that I feared I might.  I am remembering the joy.  The joy of the support of friends, the joy of seeing Hannah, the joy of moving to the next step…

Today in Sunday morning Bible Study I was reminded of my old stand-by verses:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”  James 1:24

and I also thought about:

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Now who would get something for which they consider it a joy (a birthday present for instance), thank the giver, and then a month later think back with sadness, regret, or even anger?  For me this is what this is like.  I CAN look back on various aspects of losing Hannah and find lots of things that hurt, moments of loneliness, words, actions, inactions that hurt.  But why?  Why take something that I DECIDED (it was not a natural inclination, but a conscious decision that required purposeful action to carry out) to “Consider … pure joy”, and take the gift of “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” and set it aside for the sorrow, grief, pain, emptiness, envy, despair, anger, etc. that I would be left with?  I could use it to mark the days.  I could use it to say “See what I suffered?”, but the fact is I can’t.  I have gone there numerous time looking for it.  Expecting it.  I have been told flat out that it is there, but I can tell you that today, and the days I have checked with certain trepidation, that it is not.

I can tell you that I wholly and fully gave all of that to God.  When I was not eating (dare I say fasting), and I was reading the Bible, I was counting the gifts, I was offering *with thanks* the whole experience to God  – something amazing happened.  He did exactly what he said he would do.  He took it.  He gave me a “peace that transcends all understanding” (even mine – ESPECIALLY mine).  I don’t intend to hand that back.  What I do plan to do is that as the days, weeks, months and years wear on I plan to keep giving thanks, for everything he gave me, but none less than the peace I have.  If a day comes where I find those emotions and scars that I expect to find – I plan to do just as I have done.  Consider it joy, give thanks, and give it to God.

As for marking the days that I could – I am not going to try.  I am going to see what days become important.  I am not going to paint them with the brush of loss, but see what gifts God chooses to bestow on those days.  I will not be marking milestones of grief, but rather will celebrate in all that God has given me through this unique journey he has taken me on.

A Pacifist Remembers November 8, 2010

Posted by dreamom in Faith, family, Happiness, Life, Parenting, Peace.
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It is times like this when I feel like my inner Old Lady makes an appearance.  Maybe that is because my grandmother was the biggest pacifist I knew.

When I was growing up we would solemnly attend the neighbourhood Remembrance Day Ceremony, and pay respect to the people lost in wars – both in the World Wars, and wars all over the world.  I remember distinctly that the ceremony always talked about the loss of civilian lives as well as the fallen heroes who worked in the military.  I also remember the old shaky voices of the veterans as they talked about the experience of being in war, and imploring us as the future to not let it happen again.  War was not about creating heroes or an opportunity for hero worship, but a horrible, catastrophic event that was to be avoided.

My young child mind took this to heart, and believed that these veterans were begging us to consider the cost of war, and that it was not heroes that came home, but heartbreak.  Add this to the experience of having a very publicly pacifist grandmother, and I became a very pacifist me.

All that was during the Golden Age for Canada, when we were not a country at war.  Now, everything is different.  Some people don’t understand that while people made fun of our military for being ‘wimpy’, they were serving the essential role of “Peacekeepers”.  That was a position to be proud of!  Although we definitely made mistakes in that role, it was evident to the world that we valued Peace, and as such valued people.  Not just the people on the ‘right side’, but the innocent people who lose their homes, livelihoods and lives when wars break out in their neighbourhoods.

Now we are a country at war.  We have an active military presence in countries and we are not there to make peace.  We are there inflicting our brand of justice on ‘the wrong side’, and taking civilians down in our path.  That changed everything.  It changed the way the world viewed us.  It changed the way the people in active service viewed themselves.  It changed the way that we as Canadian lay people viewed the military.  It changed the way that we, Canadians, viewed the world.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the current Red vs. White Poppy controversy.  There is a complete disconnect for people as to what the point is.  As kids we were taught that the colour red was significant because it symbolized the blood that was spilled – the blood that flowed on the ground like rivers to lower ground – the blood that filled the waters of seas and bays, and lakes, lapping on the shore in place of the beating heat that it just left .  There was no distinction of WHOSE blood.  None of it was glory – just loss.  That red poppy is supposed to remind us of the loss.

The white poppy is white to be a reflection of the ideal.  White represents purity, and the absence of the ‘blood’ is certainly the ideal.  It doesn’t suggest that anyone sacrificed in vain, but that going forward we should maintain that purity.  It is a hope that new lives won’t be lost, and that peace will reign in our land, and others.

In reality it is fitting to have both.  The red to remind us of the bloodshed, and to allow us to remember the cost of war on a personal level.  It is in keeping the words of those WWI, and WWII veterans – the ones who implored us to lead the world down a different path so that wars would end, and peace would prevail – that we also wear the white to remind us to work towards peace in any and all situations.

Instead the whole thing has turned into a pacifist vs. veterans thing.  People talk about pacifists as though they are heartless extremists who want to defile the memory of people lost in wars, and sully the experiences of those veterans who came home from wars forever changed by their experiences.  There are ‘Support the Troops’ drives that people are bullied into, or labelled as traitors and ingrates if they feel that it is more about supporting the war than the troops.  There is a stigma put on the white poppy, and now the Canadian Legion is talking of SUING people for wearing or supporting the white poppy campaign.  Really?  REALLY?!  For supporting peace, and for supporting NO MORE OF OUR MILITARY BEING KILLED people want to tar and feather us?

I don’t get it.  I don’t get why the notion of peace is incongruent with supporting the troops and their families, by our interest to GET THEM HOME.  I don’t understand why a girl during the Gulf War was spit on and beat up for having a peace sign on her cheek.  I don’t understand why the RCL is wanting to sue people for promoting peace.  I don’t understand people being upset that you support the troops, but not the war.

This Remembrance Day, as all the others that my children remember I will be supplementing the message they hear at the Remembrance Day Ceremony and will be recounting the words of those veterans I heard speak as a child.  The ones that hoped that their experience was not in vain, and that future generations would be able to live in peace, and that the lives of their comrades were not lost in vain, but resulted in saving others from being lost.

This Pacifist remembers the lives lost, and in response, out of a moral conviction, out of heartbreak, and out of  respect for all those lost in wars – promotes peace.