Sunday, September 10, 2006

A roller coaster week

It’s Sunday afternoon. I should just be posting my lesson from today’s Bible class and then taking a nap!! —however, it has been a “crazy” week and I need to do an up date on several things that have excited us and others that have saddened us. If God gives us tomorrow I will try to post the lesson then.

Where to start? I also gave the sermon this morning at Pinehill and it was on the subject “Begin at the beginning." One of the things I mentioned was the familiar quote from Lewis Carroll’s delightful children’s book “ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND (1865)”. The quote occurs in the final chapter of Alice, when the Knave of Hearts is placed on trial – having been accused of stealing the Queen’s tarts .

“The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. 'Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?' he asked.
'Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, 'and go on till you come to the end: then stop.'”

So –beginning on Tuesday, we worked like the proverbial beavers and finished the garden project. (first picture shows it after removing the old stuff) It was very satisfying despite the sore backs and aching muscles. It was good that we wrapped it up because by Wednesday I was beginning to feel the pressure of needing to prepare a lesson for Sunday morning and I did get most of that done on Wednesday & Thursday. (2nd picture shows it finished after 15 wheelbarrows of soil mix and re-planting. )

Thursday we had the pleasure of receiving a call from Melissa saying that she & Alexander were now married and on their way to a short honeymoon. It was a joyful, with some tears welling up, and we were able to extend our congratulations to Alexander and her. She had called and talked to her mother Wednesday night—all bubbly and sharing fun she had had with the preparations—getting flowers and other last minute details. I told my Dad (who had ”eloped” with my mother and gotten married with only the preacher and a couple of witnesses present) that Melissa and Alexander had followed their example –except they had told their parents before hand that they were going to do it. We talked to her for a long time today and she gave us the "blow-by-blow" of the marriage ceremony and how she was feeling. It made it more real for me to hear her talking about it. She also sent some early pictures -- she says there are better ones on the way.

Thursday night we finalized plans for Linda to ”go on tour” for a month starting October 9. The impetus for this was a call from our daughter(-in-law) Sarah last weekend. Kevin had just been told by his thesis supervisor that he needed to have his dissertation proposal and application for internship completed by November 15. He has been caring for Will while Sarah work’s and he has had a part-time job doing psychometric evaluations. In order to meet the deadline, he needs to give up the job and reduce his time with Will – Sarah said “We need you now” and Grandma didn’t need a lot of urging so she will be there to help for3 weeks. She will then fly from Vancouver to Chicago to watch Hunter & Camdyn while there Mom & Dad go for a cruise to celebrate their 15th anniversary.

We had learned earlier in the week of the passing of Mabel Whitehead—she was in her 99th year and had lived a full life remaining alert and full of life until very recently. Mabel and her husband Elmer were an active part of the Pinehill family up until Elmer’s death in 1991. Shortly thereafter Mabel moved to live with her daughter in North Bay and had remained there until her death.(moving to a care facility for the past few years)
In addition to our fond memories of Mabel from our church relationship, Elmer was the brother of my brother-in-law Morris (who is married to my oldest sister Goldie). Because of these connections, we went to Thessalon Friday morning to attend a memorial service for Mabel.

Our sister-in-law Marilyn had done some leg work and arranged for my family and Linda’s family to get together in Bruce Mines for a dinner Friday evening to share a late celebration of our 40th anniversary. We were looking forward to that event –and our plan was to spend the afternoon visiting with Linda’s Mom and then go to the dinner. I had brought my computer with the intent of doing some final touches on my sermon and preparing a Powerpoint outline to be used with it.

However, circumstances overtook us and the dinner had to be cancelled and our other plans changed.

When we arrived at Linda’s Mom’s we discovered that Linda’s 4 month old grand-niece (her brother Joe’s granddaughter) Magdalana had died suddenly in her sleep that morning. This was a devastating blow to Jessica (the mother) and her family. The baby was her only child and Joe’s only grandchild. (I had made a brief reference to the baby’s birth in my May 3 post-Rebuilding bridges)

We spent the rest of the day with Linda’s Mom – a lot of the time Linda was fielding and making phone calls to other family members. Arliss & Theresa both came by - to share in the bewilderment and sorrow that such a thing had happened.

We had given Jessica & the baby a ride to Thessalon in early July when Linda went down to help celebrate Arliss’ birthday – a precious memory for Linda – The picture taken at the party shows Jessica (in the background) with her 2 sisters Angela and Rebecca holding the baby.

When these tragedies happen, we feel so unequipped to know how to help and how to comfort. We turn to God in prayer – offering up grief, pain, anger … we have no answers…We feel guilt because we instinctively- selfishly think “Thank God” it wasn’t my (grand)child. Even the confidence that this child is “safe in the arms of Jesus” doesn’t stop the sense of helplessness—of not knowing how to comfort -- how to soften the pain – and so we do the best we can to be there with them and help them through. The funeral is tomorrow –Linda has been asked to say something about Jessica & Magdalana – I am praying that her words will provide some comfort. She doesn’t like giving talks and this will be difficult for her—but it was Jessica’s request – so she will do her best—.

In the midst of this “roller coaster” week, we were preparing for a visit by Bob & Roseann Ekman. They were here in Sault Ste Marie almost 30 years ago when Bob was the “preaching” minister at Pinehill. They left here in 1981 and we hadn’t seen them for well over 20 years. We have kept contact off & on by email and we were delighted when they contacted us about coming here to visit. They arrived yesterday afternoon and we had a great visit before, during and after dinner.

Russ Ward came by for a while. He was one of a number of people who had been brought into the church as a result of their work here. Bob had come to preaching later in his life and Pinehill was his first assignment. While their work here was fruitful in many ways, there were also some ”rocky relationships” with others. This morning after services Bob came up and offered an apology and asked forgiveness for those past mistakes. He said it had been a growing conviction that he needed to do this and it was facilitated by their move to Minnesota which put them within easy driving range of the Sault. I trust that it completed a healing process for any that were offended during the time Bob was here. We pray God’s blessings on them as they work with the church in Minnesota.

So its been a “week to remember” –If you are reading this we solicit your prayers for the Goodmurphy family as they deal with this tragedy. May they seek and find the God that God can work through tragedy for those that love Him. And there is no ending to this saga but this is the end for now.

God Bless
Charlie & Linda

1 comment:

JD said...

What an update! You really had your work cut out for you getting all of that news in one post.

Good news and sorrow... I'm so sorry for the loss of the baby. You're right, there are no words.

Roseann is one of my 'e-mail buddys' for several years on the Berean Spirit list. What a smart lady she is...a woman who has dedicated herself to intense Bible study and sharing with people that most neglect - female prisoners. I have never met her in person and was delighted to learn that they were old acquaintances of our new friends Charlie and Linda!

Thanks for keeping us informed!