For All the Saints: Living Life without Fear of Death Part Two

Connor brought much joy to all who knew him.

Connor brought much joy to all who knew him.

On September 21 I wrote about “Living Life Without Fear of Death”  
and received several comments on Facebook from friends who said that it seemed I had ended my thoughts abruptly, and I agree (in fact, I went back and added “to be continued …” to my post). One reason is that sweet-faced boy you see in the photo above, my grandson Connor. Because no matter how much I believe in eternal life and don’t fear my own death, losing a loved one–well, that’s another story.

In the earlier post I shared about the death of my father. When I was five my mother remarried, and my stepfather, a widower, became the only father I remember. Along with a new daddy, my brother and I acquired three new sisters (all grown up and married) and three new brothers (one almost grown; a year later we all welcomed our youngest brother and sister, twins. A little over four years later, just after she turned 41 and shortly before I turned 11, my mother died from leukemia. I remember our pastor saying at her funeral that, although she didn’t want to leave her six young children, she was curious about what she would find on the other side and not afraid. But losing a loved one–well, that’s another story.

Today is All Saints’ Sunday, when, in the United Methodist Church, we recognize and honor all in our church who have died since last All Saints’ Sunday. As the names were read this morning, my heart ached for my son and daughter-in-law and Connor’s little sister; for all the family and friends that loved him; for myself. Because of his cerebral palsy, Connor couldn’t speak or walk, but he could love and laugh and share his sweet smile. When he left this life on May 3, I believe he entered into a new life, with freedom to run and play and sing and dance, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place in my heart that will never be filled. I choose to live life without fear of my own death, but losing a loved one–well, that’s another story.

October–A Season for Change

Changing colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina

Changing colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina


In my mind, October means change, beginning with the most basic change–my birthday on October 5. On that day 12 years ago I remarried–a change from over six years of being single, to sharing life and love with my husband, Bob, which led to immediate changes–resigning from my 20-year career and moving to a new city. These changes play a large part in several gradual, on-going changes–moving forward in my spiritual journey, growing in confidence, and pursuing my dreams.

The self-confidence I have to pursue my dreams is nurtured by the support, encouragement, and unconditional love Bob gives me. From the beginning of our relationship he has done everything he can to let me know how capable, intelligent, talented and attractive I am in his eyes. I’m not saying that he gives meaningless praise or compliments–I can always count on him to offer honest, constructive criticism! However, he has never discouraged me from undertaking a new project.

And so it is that at the end of October, 2015 I am preparing to pursue another goal–to complete my second novel for National Novel Writing Month! Participating and winning in 2008 helped me decide to fulfill my long-time dream of returning to the classroom and complete my undergraduate degree. Now I wonder what this second effort might lead to!

Wish me luck!

 

 

Making Connections

Reading Big Erik’s post yesterday prompted me to share my thoughts about the need human beings have to connect with others and be understood. Often, happily, that occurs with people in our families, faith community, social circles or work environment. Right now I am in that blessed place in my own life, but it hasn’t always been that way.

In thinking back over some periods in my life, especially the long-ago miserable teenage years, I can understand how some people get caught up in self-destructive relationships and situations. For me, even more important than growing closer to others has been growing closer to God and trusting God’s unconditional love. My spiritual journey brings me nearer to both God and others as I seek glimpses of the Divine in all Creation.IMG_2453