Friday, January 7, 2011

Doesn't this look nice?

All these sunset pics are lovely, no?

No photos today... been spending my evenings drinking tea. And talking. With friends.
Life is good.

So. How many of you are reading Proverbs this month too? Awesome, eh?

Jan 4 = Proverbs 4

  Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.

This is good too:
Look straight ahead and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a path for your feet; then stick to that path and stay safe. Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil

Jan 5 = Proverbs 5

Favs: Drink water from your own well - share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in public, having sex with just anyone? Save it for your wife.  Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.  REJOICE IN THE WIFE OF YOUR YOUTH. May you always be captivated by her love. 


Jan 6 = Proverbs 6

Take a lesson from the ants, you lazy bones. Learn from their ways and be wise. Lazybones? How long will you sleep? When will you wake up? Learn this lesson - A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will pounce on you like a bandit. 


I was at a funeral today. My friend Marg's mom's funeral. 
It was first in the German, then in the English. And it So The Awesome.

Her name was Elisabeth. Can I tell you about her life?

She was born in Russia in 1928, and had 2 older sisters greeting her. In 1930 her parents, along WITH THE ENTIRE VILLAGE, decided to leave, fleeing through the Amur River in the middle of the night. They left by sled, with what they could carry in -40 degree temperatures. It was dangerous and the risk of getting caught (and send to concentration camps) was very high. The Lord protected them and they made it to China. 

Two years later, in 1932, MCC made arrangements for the family to immigrate to Paraguay, a land with nothing. They worked hard as a family just to survive. Another daughter was added to the family. 

In 1934, Elisabeth's mom was lighting a kerosene lantern which exploded and killed her, leaving behind a grieving husband and 4 young daughters all under 10 years of age. God supplied him with a helpmate, his second wife, Liese, also widowed with her two very young sons, ages 2 and 4. 

Tragedy struck again when Elisabeth's older sister died at age 12. But they were also blessed with the addition of two more baby daughters. 

"The years in the Chaco were very hard on us. There were droughts and locusts and much hard work.  In 1937, our family and many others settled to East Paraguay, hoping the climate would help our crops. This meant starting over again. When I was in grade 6 I had to quit school to help at home in the garden. I prayed the Lord would someday allow me more schooling..."

In 1950 Elisabeth graduated from Nurse's training and for the next 30 years she nursed. She loved nursing and traveling.

THEN... in 1979 she received a marriage proposal from Henry, a widower in Canada. They married, and she became the step mom to my friend, Marg, who lost her mom to cancer 7 years earlier, when she was only 11. 
They were married for 30 years.

My thoughts:
1. Elisabeth's story is "our" story. I am mennonite. And all us menno's have stories like this in our background. We are all related to someone who fled Russia in the middle of the night. We hale from hearty stock. We traipsed across barren, frozen land to find freedom. Freedom to worship our God without attack. My grandparents came from Siberia. My grandma and dad from the Ukraine. My mom from Yarrow. (Hahaha.) And their stories? Have not been passed down. My kids don't know the stories. They don't know what great things God did to make sure their Bups made it to Winkler and a new life in Canada. 

Once that generation is gone, will their stories be gone too? 

Do successive Mennonite generations have their own stories? Are they being told? Are they being passed down?

2. Elisabeth's story, as printed in the bulletin, had 10 paragraphs detailing the first 50 years of her life. And two sentences about her last 30 years as a wife, mother and grandmother in Canada. 
Is that true of all our lives? The first 50 are the most interesting and after that we are just wives, mothers and grandmothers? No big deal. Nothing to write home about. Or is our Canada way-of-life not bloggable, so to speak? No droughts. No locusts. No fleeing in the middle of the night?
Is this why Clint longs to put himself into life-or-death situations? Because he wants a funeral story full of excitement?

I'm (almost) 50. When I look at Elisabeth's life ... everything changed radically for her at my age. She had been a single, professional woman living in South America one minute, and snap, next thing you know, she's in a foreign country, learning a new language and new customs, married, and has children and grandchildren. THAT is an adventure. That might be worth more than a sentence or two. THAT really is not boring. 

3. Do you do this too? Plan your own funeral when you attend someone else's? 
Because I totally did that this morning:
a. I will not have both an English and a German component to my service. Although, there was something soothing about the German one. Memories of going to Culloden with Ome. Oh our pasts. Always sneaking up on us and reminding us who we are. My entire service will be in one language, Canadian. (Of course, this is assuming I won't be rushing out to marry a widower in a foreign country in the future.) 

b. My slide show will have pics from the years 1961 - 1983, then again in 1998, and possibly a few from 2011, depending on how I look. Clint can put it together using music that completely manipulates the audience's feelings. I want sobbing and wailing. Not a dry eye in the house. For at least part of it. He can end it with an upbeat image/sound. 

c. The songs that will be sung should include: How Great thou Art, It is Well with my soul, You are My Rock in times of trouble..., you know, the classics. If someone could arrange to fly Chris Tomlin in for the event that would be cool. If not, Nelson Boshman will do. 

d. Elisabeth's life verse was: Serve the Lord with gladness, come before Him with joyful singing. Ps 100:2.
I need a life verse too. I will think on this over the next month and have one picked by February. Maybe it should be a Proverb? 
5:17 - She is a loving doe, a graceful deer. Let her breasts satisfy you always.
17:21 - It is painful to be the parent of a fool; there is no joy being the parent of a rebel.
20:19 - A gossip tells secrets, so don't hang around with someone who talks too much.

Maybe not. 

e. I don't care if I am buried or burnt. And I don't care what happens to my remains. I'd rather not have them rest in a location that no one ever visits. I love the beach. So if, some offspring of mine sees a sunset at a beach and thinks of me, that'd be fine. I'd approve that thought process. 

f. The most important thing? About my funeral? Is that it is well communicated that I am in heaven and happy and waiting for the rest of my family to join me. If it's possible, I'm probably blogging about my experiences and taking photos of every fluffy cloud in the place. I'm likely very busy hanging out at heaven's concert arena, rockin the worship songs with David Crowder and Martin Smith and Jesus. 


And that's it for today.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Funerals
2. Friends who pop in for tea and talk
3. Facebook chats with sons who are working late



Anonymous said...

I never have had a life verse but this year to celebrate my 71st birthday I decided to start a journal. On Jan. 2, I chose this verse for my 71st year. Isaiah 46:3-4
"I created you and have cared for you since before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime = until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you."
Your mom.

Anonymous said...

You make me smile Jane.
It's painful to parent a fool...