0° of Separation

I’m building you a garden.

“I’ll be visiting a lot.” – Jules, a month before she died.

Do you believe in life after death?

Faith is believing in what we cannot see.

I listened to her last dying words – the messages she told me from behind her full-face oxygen mask as she laid in a hospital bed with a broken hip in her final days of battling lung cancer.  Her hands trembled as she attempted to reach at the oxygen mask, trying to pull it from her face so she could speak. She looked at me with her traumatized eyes and talked through the air blasting into her nose and mouth:

what kind of dressing?

You need to put it in an envelope.

I’ve been kind of busy lately.
Where are we going?
How are we going to get there?
So I have to walk?
Thank you for being available to me, it means a lot to me.
This is the way I wanted to go.
After her death, I happened to stop at a random Costco Wholesale to buy only one item. Headed to the cashier with my can of mixed nuts, I took a  detour when I saw a display of rose bushes.  I could tell they had been housed in the indoor light and without a recent watering (nothing a little love couldn’t cure) yet decided it was fate since I’d never seen rose bushes for sale in a Costco. I inspected the bushes and chose one based on the color of its buds.  It’s common name, Fire & Ice. Seemed like a fitting name for a plant to begin my Jules’ garden.
And now, two weeks later and a month after her passing, the Fire & Ice rose bush is going nuts!

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Jules always kept her word with me, and now I see, in death, she continues to speak; no longer muffled from entering oxygen or from the interruption of a lack of breath.

It’s our active choice to believe we sometimes won’t be able to explain why, when, where, how or the extraordinary but to trust we may see who.

And to me, this is faith –

An assurance that there’s life after death and there’s 0° separation if we listen to the messengers who’ve gone, returned and report we’re NOT going nuts when we see and hear the unexpected. Instead, we’re being led to the truth –

It really is phenomenal

where we’ve never been but where our late loved ones live!

 

Half-Staff

When the sun and the Stars and Stripes align,

Light miraculously lifts the somberness of a flag at

half-staff .

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Half-Staff

I took this image of our flag at half-staff with my iPhone at a car dealership on a busy Phoenix street.  A car salesman approached me as I kneeled down to take the photo in the overhead, bright noonday light.  After proudly disclosing he is a photographer, the car salesman recommended I return at sunset, since the setting sunlight looks so good on the flag. I thanked him for allowing me on his dealership’s lot, while clicking the button on my phone’s screen. He continued with his instructions, advising the best angle to shoot the shot, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s telling “half [his] staff” about the female on the car lot taking a photo in the worst light imaginable.

When we’re led by Light, we’re usually blinded by it,  believing certain Light only happens once, so we’ve only got one shot – and it’s our own.

 

Sticks & Stones

How do you protect someone you love from a sadist, a person who actually finds pleasure, and often gets a thrill, from inflicting pain onto another?

A cause and effect of deceit and back-stabbing: deeply rooted pain that’s pulled from within and cast upon another, hoping to lessen personal pain but infecting the world with hurt, anguish and hate.

******

Anxiously, but excitedly, she headed to her 2nd rotation of her new job. Taking a bus, making a transfer, and walking into a new, unfamiliar territory, she received a text from her long-time, hometown friend.  He sent a her an Instagram image, directed at her, that had been posted by a high school mutual friend. Thinking she’d probably already seen the image, her friend asked, are you ok? She hadn’t seen the image, but she was grateful her friend had cautioned her before she stumbled upon the cutting Instagram post on her own. She’d be ok, but this was a blow.

Choosing to purposefully hurt an unsuspecting, so-called friend, really?

Friend, a word that’s almost as overused as the word, amazing.

There is nothing amazing about inflicting pain on others, especially friends.

To knowingly stab another in the back is not amazing, and most definitely, an inflictor, is not a friend.

******

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We see the decoys, the pretenders who aimlessly float out there, trying to trick us into believing they are real.

Sadly, but true, we have to protect each other from sadists who try to destroy our worlds. We’ve got to duck to avoid their blows.

Acknowledging the pain, but banning the pain and hatred from finding a place within us, we survive.

Soothing our wounds with love, we move on.

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Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,

and intentionally inflicting pain on me will cut deeply,

but love will always heal me.

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If we can’t say something nice, then let’s not say anything at all.

*****

Don’t let anyone extinguish your light.

Good News

My mother, the bearer of good news.

An early morning phone call:

“Your photo is in this morning’s Arizona Republic, one of three – Valley & State, page A7″

Followed by a text, copied this morning from her “daily morning text” that she sends to a friend battling cancer.

“The people who walked in the darkness have seen a great Light; those who lived in a land of darkness — on them Light has shined.”

-Isaiah 9:2

IMG_3700When darkness is sounding, the Light always has the last word.

This is good news.