I begin this fresh blog post with the topic of “love” on my mind. Not only is Valentine’s Day almost here but I’ve fallen hard for a special someone. So, I’ve got “love” as a starting point and I’ll just let my fingers do their thing on my lap top key board. It feels good to start something new.
I’ve been working on my speech for the conference I’m speaking at in Abbotsford, BC on March 5. It’s an Apologetics Canada Conference called “Thinking” and my title is, ‘Worrier to Warrior – finding hope, joy and courage after a terminal diagnosis’. I’m not much of an improviser; I like to have almost every word that I’m going to say written down, leaving just a little room to improvise (plus, I’ll read a few excerpts from my book, ‘Hold on, Let Go’). So, needless to say, I’ve been working on it for a long time and praying about each word and how it will be heard.
I’m afraid that my title might give the wrong impression. It might make people think I have it all figured out. Like I’m some kind of “Wonder Woman” and when they find out the opposite is true, they might boo…maybe even throw a tomato or two. Seriously though, it is the opposite of a “Wonder Woman” story and more of a “Living hopefully, joyfully and courageously with a big lump in my throat” story. A “Totally relying on God, trusting in Him, falling down and getting back up again, I could never do this on my own” story. It’s an “Expose your soul, be completely vulnerable, just let go…He’s got you so be brave” story. All good titles and now I’m a little disappointed about the one I chose.
Anyway, back to my blog post, turning to a new page and writing about something else is refreshing, so here goes…
I start my “love” story at my lovely round glass table by my big living room window with the beautiful scenery in my peripheral view. Glen is on my lap.
I don’t think I’ve said much about Glen in my blogging, but if you are a Facebook friend, you’ll have seen a picture or two of him. Glen is Madison’s dog. When we were talking about moving from my sister’s house, Madison told me she really wanted to get a dog. Even though she adored the couple of pound dogs she has had in the past, she said this time she was going to get a dog of her favourite breed, a pug.
She found him on-line in Oregon and the breeder thankfully met her at the US border with him when he was eight weeks old. He fit in one hand. He struggled with walking because his head was heavier than his body and he kept falling over. He was the cutest thing you’d ever seen….all those wonderful wrinkles, those big bulging eyes and that cinnamon bun swirl of a tail that sits on the top of his back end. He’s getting bigger and isn’t quite fitting on my lap the way he did but he makes it work as best he can with his limbs and head spilling over.
When Madison told me about getting Glen, I was apposed to the idea. I thought about my new floors, the fur and dirt and puppy accidents and the chewed up stuff. I definitely expressed my concern, but here is something else I was concerned about that I didn’t mention: the love.
I thought about the love I’d feel for this little one and then one day I’d have to say good bye. Like I have done before with pets, including our dog Isla who I watched take her last breath and of course, same with Mike. Deep down I was terrified to love this little guy but I used the excuse of fur and dirt and puppy pee.
I could see that Madison had already fallen for him, so I had no choice but to open the door … and down came the wall when this little fur ball walked in.
I guess I had started constructing a wall to keep out the love, because what i’ve learned over the years, especially the last couple, is that love can really hurt sometimes and what do we do to prevent hurting? We put up walls, we close doors, we try to keep the hurt out. I guess I thought I’d just never let myself love again, whether it be another puppy, another man, or new friend. But to be courageous, you have to be vulnerable and if I want to stay true to my “vulnerability equals bravery” theory that I “preach” in my speech, I have to open the door. It’s tough but love conquers all…right? Shouldn’t love trump fear? My head says yes, but my heart still says, “Ouch,” a little, but we’re getting there.
So far, Glen hasn’t brought any hurting, only joy and healing. Regardless of the potential pain, the lump in my throat and the dirty floors, I have fallen in love with Glen, and I shall continue to conquer my fears by living hopefully, joyfully and courageously by being vulnerable and trusting God with all my heart.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” C.S. Lewis
This is Glen. He is wanting up on my lap again. I usually give in and don’t get much writing done. He just loves being with people. He’s a great cuddler. Madison is his number one person (I’m so happy they found each other) and I think I’m a close second, but he loves everyone and everyone loves him. Everyone in the family has pretty much fallen in love with Glen. It’s funny and cute how much my dad loves him. He’ll call and ask how Glen is and what he’s up to and is he coming over soon etc.
Speaking of my dad, he is leaving again for Malawi on March 4th. We are all so happy my cousin John from Manitoba is going with him. They hope to drill two wells, feed the orphans and check in on some building projects. My sister Elanna and I went to his AGM (Annual General Meeting) last week. We really enjoyed our time with him and some of his board members, hearing his report of all the Project Wellness happenings from last year and about his hopes and dreams for this year. We are just so proud of him and my mom for all they have done to help others, with God’s help of course and they give Him all the glory. They are also so thankful for everyone who gives and has given to their charity. All the work they do is based on donations/fundraising.
On my dad’s first trip to Malawi, he noticed how the women worked really hard. He still talks about it and how the women worked much harder then most of the men. He talks about how they would walk for miles and miles with large buckets of water on their heads and babies on their backs, often without shoes on their feet. At the end of that first trip, my dad said to a group of those woman, “I saw what you were doing and I’m coming back to drill you a well.” He was back (after some fundraising and other preparations) only two months later, drilling the first well. When he tells the whole story, of how he met the driller and everything, I still get goose bumps. The two wells this trip will make a total of 33 wells drilled. And that my friends, is quite a remarkable love story.
I wish you lots and lots of love and Happy Valentine’s Day!
Also, Happy Birthday to my youngest daughter, Madison (on the 14th) and to Mike’s mum, Sheila (also the 14th), it’s her first birthday in heaven. Happy Sweet 16 to my niece Michaela (on the 16th) and my oldest daughter, Erin (on the 20th).
At the “Thinking” conference on March 5, I’m one of 13 “Breakout Speakers”. We all say the same speech twice so the attendees hear two Breakout speeches, choosing who they want to hear that day after they have listened to a couple of key note speakers. It’s going to be an excellent conference and I’m so honoured to be a part of it. This link takes you right to the Breakout sessions: http://www.apologeticscanada.com/conference-2016/abbotsford/breakouts/