Sunday, March 22, 2009

Life is Sweet

My husband, who is a minister, has had the sad duty of officiating at the funerals of two suicide victims and one murder victim all in a very short time frame. Sorrow lingers long after the funeral bouquets have been thrown in the trash. Though his sorrow cannot be nearly as acute as that which the family members feel, still I sense in him a palpable sadness. And I have seen the tears.

I'm touched that others in our congregation also see it, and seek to share in bearing the sorrow: a special prayer of encouragement, a tender pat on the back, and treats. Oh, the treats. Food and comfort are inexplicably linked, don't you think? After church today my husband grinned as he opened up the goody bag that contained the heartfelt offerings of special saints. A giant Snickers bar, his favorite. A slightly smashed doughnut. Huge, heavenly cinnamon rolls dripping with silky frosting. Small gifts chosen for the express purpose of lifting his spirit, of sending the message that "I want to bear your burden as you bear the burdens of others." How welcome it is.

I am reminded of a very old man that I once knew when I was working in a skilled nursing facility. He was a Jewish man that had attained the status of a centenarian. When ever he would hear of the death of one of his fellow residents, he would pause for ever-so-long and then say reverently,
"Life is sweet."

'Tis true.

Monday, March 16, 2009

First Sign of Spring

As I take my daily walk, I've been hungrily scanning the landscape for signs of spring. Really, I would settle for one small snowdrop, a crocus, or just the green foliage of a daffodil--but spring has been eluding me in spite of the fact the temperatures are warming.

Today, though, I was rewarded with this: a little girl perched in a tree, swinging her legs and reading. I'm glad I didn't have my camera because it would have broken the spell. She's safer in my memory bank, anyway---the first welcome sign of spring.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Sweetest Days

"After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."

Life at Green Gables was full of just such days, for Anne's adventures and misadventures, like those of other people, did not all happen at once, but were sprinkled over the year, with long stretches of harmless, happy days between, filled with work and dreams and laughter and lessons.

~quote taken from Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Review of Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

I couldn't put this book down until I finished @ 3:30 a.m. It's been a while since I have done that but I'd have to say Crow Lake was worth it.

The narrator, Kate, is a 27 year old biologist with a very successful career. But that career does not fully satisfy her because she has loose ends to tidy up with her siblings. It's something that she would rather postpone indefinitely, but circumstances force her to sort through the emotional baggage. Her story builds to a satisfactory conclusion and she is able to at least begin to bridge the emotional gaps between herself and her loved ones.

When she was 7, Kate's parents both died in a car accident. Her two older brothers, still teens themselves, take on the responsibility of raising Kate and her baby sister. Engaged in rebuilding their family life, the latent personality traits of each family member comes to the surface. Their struggles are shared as a family unit, but are at the same time personal battles that shape their futures forever.

Intertwined as a subplot is the extremely tragic tale of a neighboring family whose lives intersect with those of Kate and her siblings. At first we see these people only from a distance, but layers of their story unfold and become the shared history of both families together.

Especially interesting to me is that Mary Lawson explores the way that family members "harden" their perceptions of one another. As adults we tend to forget that our siblings have added dimensions to their personalities on beyond those we shared in the foundational stages of our lives. At some point it can only be healthy to shatter the old lens and take a fresh look at siblings as they are in the present.

The setting of this novel was so well drawn. It took place in the Lake Country of Ontario and was viewed through the eyes of the budding biologist, Kate. The descriptions of the lake and the insects and the seasons were lush and verdant.

A great novel, recommended by U Krakovianki.

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews.