Last March

Last March, the blossoms were bursting vibrant and lively, while our daughters and I baked and filled our home with the aroma of comfort that only home baked bread can provide. Music was enhancing our lives with opportunities for enjoyment and entertainment and fires were burning larger than life.

Happy sparks were flying as age vicariously watched youth delight in using fire to cut through metal. Standing on the saturated earth, your deep blues watched so intently your thoughts were almost audible. The others looked on, their own ideas quiet behind their eyes. I saw the young man, the father and the grandfathers all meshed together in the timeless moment creating trellises to steady vines. I took it in then, the years and the generations all loving the work of the day.

Heaven happens in moments like these

Last March our daughter and I took our grandsons to see Camelot. The boys sat at attention throughout the exciting sword fights. I watched their faces and delighted in sharing the magical experience of the theatre with them. I remember feeling how fortunate we all were to be there, to live here, to have an excellent theatre who is generous to students. I wept as I watched King Arthur, the gentlest and kindest of leaders betrayed by those he trusted. I saw you in him, the trust and the forgiveness you extended to those who were undeserving. The parallels in personality were profound. You and I were looking forward to attending a performance together. Scheduled to serve wine at an evening showing, you were so looking forward to the experience. Sadly, COVID closed the theatre before it could happen.

Last March, Nonno grafted tiny branches onto our peach tree, onto that waiting severed branch, as our children watched. Thank God Nonno is a grafter, always seeing the potential of a single tree to provide such a variety of fruit, a variety of joy and nourishment. And Thank God, you like him always saw the possibilities, providing a variety of life and sustenance, learning and joy for us. You both trusted the process of seasons of nature. I watched generations doing the work of hoping for the future.

Last March, I laughed at the impropriety of ducks at meals. Walking to class I watched them gobble their lunch from the bottom of the pond, their tail ends shaking in the air careless of who might see. The delightful bliss of the innocence of Creation made me chuckle, their silliness made me want to skip. The pond was on my path to a class I hoped would add to my self-education, to become more qualified, knowledgeable, and trustworthy in order to help others.

My class was led through an exercise intended to make us aware that everyone has different points of reference which they bring to a discussion, an important idea to understand. I was not prepared for the way the professor chose to accomplish this.

She had a whole class quiet themselves and remember their first kiss. She wanted us to remember who it was, where we were, what it felt like the smells and sounds. And then she went on to say how we all had a different experience, hers had been on the playground in fourth grade I believe. I sat in my chair my body reacting uncontrollably, sweating, heart racing, my thoughts confused, wanting to scream and run out of class. I looked around at my classmates, thinking one in four girls, one in six boys have been sexually abused. Statistically at least a quarter to half of the class was experiencing the same undesired internal struggle (PTSD) remembering abuse as I was. They were all so much younger than me. I wondered how many left the class without support to deal with the experience. It took my body half an hour to recalibrate. Later, I spoke with a trauma therapist to get my bearings.

I gathered my courage and met with the professor who was at least 10 years my senior. I shared what I had learned about sexual abuse and trauma. She was very receptive and apologetic and said she didn’t realize the exercise was re-traumatizing, and shared she too was a survivor. I grieved the opportunity for healing she had missed in what seemed to be a most appropriate place, a psych class. A year prior we had begun to grieve over our church leadership who had also retraumatized survivors, then denied healing in the most appropriate of places. All this was heavy for my soul.

I've learned from experience that knowledge without wisdom is a gathering for the future when wisdom will come and join if welcomed. Betrayal has taught me that so called “wisdom” without knowledge is foolishness disguised in words. Truth, unashamedly requires both knowledge and wisdom. One without the other is the potential choice weapon of the manipulator. As I sat in class and learned about well researched childhood development, bad theology I had trusted unraveled before me, while at the same time lack of understanding on the part of the teacher took me for an unexpected ride.

Both the secular and the sacred are subject to human obliviousness. Discouraging, yet important to acknowledge and examine if the goal is truth. We have to listen to each other acknowledging we have so much to learn. ** [Education and understanding of the abuse of power in every realm and the effects upon the victim is imperative.]**( Whether it is in church or government, family or business, human decency requires us to do all we can to stop abuse.

Last March, the ignorance of the enormity of sexual and spiritual abuse had been hacked from us, like the dying branch on our fruit tree. Our children felt the hacking off of innocence and it deeply grieved us as parents. Ignorance is not bliss, it is deadly to the soul.

Last March, Angelo held me through those traumas and others, he encouraged me through the growth and healing. Home, here in his heart has been the safest place I’ve ever known. It's the place where he held and healed my soul through his loyal love and trustworthiness. He didn’t always have all the answers for me, but he always listened and did all he knew to keep me safe. He loved deep and honest and was willing to grow together. He grieved the pain with me and did what he was able to in our space.

Roses have always bloomed in our spaces and blessed our life together, imparting their wisdom and knowledge through experience. I learned long before reading studies that their fragrance could calm anxiety, brighten the darkness of depression and awaken the romance in lovers' hearts. There is no deception in a rose, neither thorn nor fragrance is hidden. The beauty and pain they offer is honest and trustworthy. They have always gifted peace to my soul.

Last March, he asked me exactly where to dig up the earth and make space for my dream to grow next to his. Together we planted my rose bushes in his vineyard. With a fence in place, it was finally safe to plant my favorite variety of roses.

Angelo dug deep holes for the dormant thorny branches to take root. He looked up and saw the smile on my face and knew what seemed the simplest of tasks was deeply meaningful to me, and he smiled back. There we were standing in the dirt with dormant dreams all around us, and realized ones all treasured up inside us, exchanging smiles that had welled up from the depths of us. No weight of the world, just peace in our souls.

Heavenly moments don’t just feel like something; they are something. They happen all the time, and if we are quiet and thoughtful enough they are easy to see. They are deep and beautiful and eternal.

Last March, as fencing and trellising was rightfully erected to protect our vineyard, I marveled at how we had come to understand our lack of boundaries and how necessary they are for a healthy marriage and family. We recognized where the breaches had occurred and were mending fences. Bad theology had crept in through false teachers over the years. I was taking note of how we choose unsafe people, why they choose us and how to recognize them. We were understanding how manipulative and damaging shame can be. We were learning together. I was writing and sharing, finding the confidence to speak about something we both thought was important. Angelo was reading Marriage at the Crossroads while the hearth fire warmed our evenings.

Last March we were both 53

Waiting to see

If somehow we’d be able to

Honor our marriage and

Celebrate our 25th anniversary

In Italy

Last March, I was seeing poetry in our life, our home and in Creation. I was seeing glimpses of the eternal in the simplest of moments as I journeyed through the days with you. Good morning and good night kisses were being given. Bananas were flambé-ing, pancakes were flipping, family was laughing, candles were burning and our grandchildren were playing with our children’s toys. I was preparing family dinners and grateful for your presence, your fatherhood and your steadiness in everything that was us. "Father, we do thank you for..... we thank you for who you are and what you do", was declared for us by you before every dinner. All was mostly right in our little world. For these memories I am eternally grateful.

The snow was about to fall silent and heavy on those bursting bloosoms, both breaking my heart and awing me with its beauty. COVID was about to white out our world with its silencing seperation and imposed time of contemplation, challenging us all to find meaning and joy in the midst of grief.

It's March again.

I stand here broken hearted and in awe trying to steady myself, waiting for sparks to fly. Spring blossoms whisper fragrantly, permeatimg my thoughts, reminding me of every spring with you. The deep holes you dug in my soul, the holes you filled and ammended for years with loyalty and trustworthiness, are filled with too many heavenly moments to ever record. Covered with painful thorns, my soul is pierced each time I try to open tiny spaces for growth. My mettle and courage are longing for you to hold up what is dormant and almost ready to grow. I'm trusting the TRUTH both poets and prophets have declared

Love is eternal.

I'm trusting in the possiblities you were certain heaven and nature and seasons would offer.

I'm trusting the miraculous healing balm you poured into my heart mysteriously continues to flow somehow.

This truth will cause these thorns to bloom in time, and divine wisdom and knowledge will kindle a warm fire, one strong enough to cut through this steelish grief and allow heaven to yet shine hope and meaning and joy from my heart where you are.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” from Thr Gospel of John

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” Proverbs 4:7,8

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word- from Ephesians 5

For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord, And he examines all his paths. Proverbs 5:21

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4

Fire is symbolic of divine wisdom and knowledge.

Metal has been universally perceived as the symbol of human strength, obstinacy, fortitude, honor, courage, sharpness (of body and mind), tenacity, and confidence in power