Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Sometimes the simplest of pleasures can put the biggest smile on our faces. Back home my grand-daughters have a wide choice of expensive electronic gadgetry to engage their every waking moment, and yet I doubt if their smiles are anything like as broad as on the day out I just gave them. A good old Punch and Judy fight; that does the trick! This past couple of days have been really special as I spend time with my family; yesterday I took the two girls and mum to Shugborough Hall which provided a very full day out. They’ve made great effort to recreate a working estate set in 1805, designed to immerse you in life at that time. Costumed figures galore were briefed to ignore all knowledge of 21st century life to help us explore their everyday lives. This was the girls’ second visit and so now they’ve hands on experience of curds and whey when making cheese, seen how to cook pancakes on an open hearth, grimaced at a rather bizarre turkey and explored a working flour mill; all whilst avoiding attempts to lure them into service as laundry maids! We wandered through yet one more museum exhibit illustrating early dentistry and an operating table complete with straps to hold down the patient without anaesthetic, before mum and I needed to escape into the sunshine. The children loitered a while longer seemingly engrossed in a display explaining how to make shoes of all things. Who needs an iPod, Wii or Xbox? I suppose they do…

Today was my youngest daughter’s birthday and I hosted a BBQ for all my girls and grandkids in my garden. Ok, they sorted almost everything out and I was really just the facilitator, but it was another great day. I actually feel happy. And that’s a very odd thing to say as this last couple of days have also been very, very sad. Yesterday morning I broke down, as normal, thinking about Jane and how much I love her and how much I miss her. I wiped my tears away and pursued a most wonderful day out with family. Great! This morning was similar, compounded with a delightful and particularly creative video I watched very early morning on GodVine, a Christian website I follow on my Facebook page. This elderly widower had been married for 65 years before losing his wife in 2010, and it was so very sad despite his sure hope of reunion in eternity. I understood exactly where he was coming from… not so many cookies nowadays and garden flowers don’t plant themselves apparently. Today was the first time I’ve used my garden for anything more than drying washing. It was where Jane and I spent much of our time, our special place. So I found it enormously challenging, at times I was almost shaking it was that hard. My grandson sorted me out though with, ‘tell me a story grandad!’ And again, and again, and again… they seem to like my spontaneous made up stories. Today I stumbled into the tale of a little boy who would only eat peas, and he turned very, very green! Nicely distracting it all was…

I’m always amazed at how I can feel so desperately sad and yet so completely joyful at the same time. Tears are surely a gift from God to help us deal with loss. Laughter and an ever present inner joy, as we live with the love of God filling our hearts, strengthen us to fully live… whatever today and tomorrow bring. I’m excited about my earthly future! Don’t know what it’s gonna be about yet, but God does.

Nehemiah 8:10 ‘Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!’ (NLT)

No comments: