A New Season; Barefoot, Dreaming & Necessary Changes

It is the middle of summer, or at least the middle of warm weather, if not summer exactly, here in Ontario and apart from the extreme dryness, it has been a beautiful summer! Roses are loaded with blooms! One bush I counted to 74 buds before concluding it has ‘a lot’, and the actual number doesn’t really matter. And the Limelight hydrangeas are about to bloom, as the delphiniums slowly die off from their first splash of colour.

Seasons are filled with wonder, and then they pass, each bringing in a new season with new wonder. And in each there are things we can long for or miss in another season, while fully embracing the one we’re in. At least I find myself doing that. I look at the evergreen, while sitting barefoot on my front porch sipping a glass of ice tea or some other summer love, and imagine it in winter with sparkling lights. But even as I imagine it, in that moment it is summer I am in love with the warmth.

Til winter rolls around, however, I’m happy to wear boots and a coat, with no desire to sit on my front porch, quenching summer’s thirst. And I certainly don’t sit there in bare feet.

Life experience isn’t that different. When changing of seasons is necessary, whether we like it or not, we are wise to adjust to the new season. And, figuratively speaking, I may have sat in the snow, barefoot, for a while already.

It has been six years now, since working closely with trauma victims, listening to broken stories, encouraging victims, trying to keep healthy boundaries in place–which can be easier said than done, for some. And they’ve been the best six years of my life, on so many levels. They have also been the hardest in other ways.

One of the things I encourage in clients is healthy boundaries, both in personal experience and in respecting the boundaries others set, which can be a difficult thing to learn when boundaries have been seriously violated, and we’ve been taught to give and sacrifice until we drop or burnout. But it’s critical  to take steps that are in the best interest of personal well-being and family before such a thing happens. In the past two weeks, after trying to make adjustments and find other ways to ‘make it work’, it quickly became evident that the changes I was trying to make would bring more stress than relief and my lessons on boundaries needed a close look and personal application. So, after seeking counsel from several individuals, including my doctor who is a rather amazing woman, I  knew it was time to take my own advice, and that of everyone I consulted. In the uncertainty of what is best right now, I saw these words, “Do the next right thing”  and  the words stuck. If I am to be healthy for my family, for university and to continue advocating for victims, I must do ‘the next right thing’. And that next right thing is to take a step back from working with trauma clients for the time being and focus on family, writing and then to University of Waterloo in September.

I have heard other individuals talk about needing to leave trauma support, due to secondary trauma, and am thankful that in this area God has given me resilience, rarely experiencing it. Admittedly, the area(s) I have struggled are in dealing with blatant manipulations, as well as when boundaries are ignored and violated, so that our world is invaded as a family and couple, or  when focusing on personal commitments. Manipulation can only be faced as it happens with clients, and boundaries set to bring about healthier habits. And fortunately there is much good information out there, about healthy boundaries, how to set them, and when to ‘draw a line in the sand’ if they are violated. And on this front I have been blessed beyond words, having had very few problems with boundaries being violated. For this I am most grateful, and thank God, so that I can look back at six years of client relationships and see predominantly positive relationships, and wouldn’t hesitate to return to one-on-one sessions, when school is less intense for having had the most amazing opportunities to walk with victims and see healing come.

So, while I am making changes, I’m not ‘going’ anywhere, and will continue to blog occasionally, and focus more on doing public speaking engagements as far as Generations Unleashed goes, though more one-off engagements in various environments to create awareness, versus church-focused conferences. And, God-willing, I will be able to follow through with travel plans for this summer, where I’ve made commitments. And though I am making myself available to several past clients, and welcome requests from other past clients, to meet from time to time, I will not currently be taking on new clients, or working in intense and high-trauma cases. And it is unlikely that I will consider taking on any full time clients during the first four months of University, starting this September, as I will have 5 courses and must maintain 75% average or higher in each one, to be accepted into the 16-month Master program in January.

These changes leave me with a summer calendar that has nothing but ‘family, friends, and writing’ booked besides travel. While this feels odd and a bit sad in a way, it also feels right and necessary, especially as I focus more on finishing several writing projects and prepare for school.

I am thankful for these six years, and the many people I’ve had the honour of knowing in places of pain and journeys of healing, and only time will tell if this is ‘the end of an era’ or whether God will lead me again to this. While I sense it is ‘an end’, I also try to hold these things in an open hand, and not control every step and outcome, so that God can open the door again in the future if He needs me.

And I imagine I will sit on my front porch at times, figuratively speaking, sandals on my feet, and sipping a summer drink, imagining lights on the tree, all covered in snow. And I will long for it. But I will rest in knowing that ‘doing the next right thing’ will take me where I am destined to be, to accomplish a purpose higher than my own.

Love,
~ T ~

 © Trudy Metzger

*****

NOTE: Due to so many of my clients finding me through my blog, or word of mouth, I an sharing these changes here. (Clients have already been notified, in person or via message, of any changes.)

Happy Father’s Day

Father’s Day….

It was Sunday evening when the text came in asking me to listen to some ‘Father/daughter’ dance songs for the wedding. In the seven months of wedding prep, I’ve been shockingly composed. In fact, I was starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with me because I’ve not been all weepy about seeing our first daughter get married. I feel good about it, actually, having observed them these past few years, and how they accept each other, idiosyncrasies and all. And, yes, they do have some. We all do. I’ve observed how Andrew cares for Alicia, and that detail stands out above all things. So maybe it’s okay that tears haven’t been a big part of this journey. Still, I was a bit worried it would hit out of the blue on wedding day.

And then the text came in.  A list would be on the way shortly, which I didn’t realize, so I searched the web. I should have expected it, but I didn’t. I found “Daddy’s Angel” and the emotions started. The memories…

Alicia used to come into our room and make a bed on the floor beside daddy when she couldn’t sleep at night and I had other babies, and with five in seven years plus to miscarriages, it was pretty much always. She would show up at our bedroom door, or beside our bed, blanket and pillow often already in hand. Daddy would reach his hand over the bed and hold her hand until she fell asleep, and her little heart would be at rest. As she grew to independent adulthood, through successes and struggles, Tim loves the little girl who made him a daddy for the first time.

It all took me back to the healing of my heart as I watched him, first with her, then with Nicole. An independent soul from the day she was born, and he patiently worked with her persistence and determination. That’s not said she didn’t win her fair share. In fact, one day she announced to her siblings, when she was six or seven that praying to God we have to be kind of like with Daddy, and keep coming back over and over again, until He gets tired of it and gives us what we want.  While her theology wasn’t 100% accurate, she spoke with sincerity, celebrating her own determination. And she should. God made her with that determination for His purposes. And always Tim loved her, as generously as he loved his first.

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And then came Bryan with a curiosity that led to a thousand and one answers to the question”Why?” and a whole new kind of rambunctious. An opposite to his daddy, with my spunk and crazy, he challenged and stretched his daddy in the rough and tumble of life. Rough-housing, which had never been something I saw in Tim, wasn’t optional. Granted, it tested his patience at times, but seeing them wrestle and roll, was delightful. It ended several years ago with Bryan sitting on Tim’s chest, having finally overthrown him, and having tested that patience to a whole new level, Tim looked up at Bryan, clearly at his son’s mercy, with arms pinned beside his head, and sternly said, “Have you had enough?!” And we all erupted in fits of laughter, regretting only that there was no video camera. In it all, with oreo cookies flying against the fridge like a hockey puck, and a soccer ball shattering the one and only expensive candelabra in our home, and the teasing and laughter, Tim loved Bryan well.

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Todd, the fourth son, came with a quiet temperament, and eventually we would discover an incredibly busy mind. A youngster of few words, big deep eyes, and unspoken curiosity, he gave us both a run for our money on more occasions than one. Whether daring to explore a big department store alone, the instant we turned the other way, and scaring the life out of us, or hiding in the back of our friend’s van at four because he so badly wanted to go along with them, or curling up behind a chair and falling asleep, he kept us on our toes. Through the scares, the laughter and a whole lot of affection, Tim loved his fourth with the same dedication as the first three.

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And about the time when we thought we were done, and ready to solidify our family of six with surgery, it happened, that thing I said I would not do. It all began when we dated, and discussed our hopes for having a family one day. Tim said four was a good number, and I wanted six. But, if not six, then four would have to do. Tim suggested a compromise, that maybe we could have five, but I had a list of reasons why five wouldn’t be a good choice, not the least of which would be the loneliness of being the odd number out.

It was almost three years after our first four–all of which were less than two years apart–and my feeling about odd numbers wouldn’t have been any different than during courtship, if I had contemplated a ‘plan’. Fortunately for us, God had a plan that superseded my logic.

Kordan was, from the start, a content and affectionate child. Physical touch, from day one, comforted him, but on his terms. One adult finger, held in tight grip, offered him the security he needed to relax and falling asleep. He was fortunate to be the fifth, and three years on behind the others, because practice and experience, not to mention age, relax us parents, so he faired well. The bumps and scrapes were fewer and farther in between, and life was a bit easier for him than for the others. And through it all, Tim loved Kordan as much as he loved the first four.

“Daddy’s Angel” plays in the background and my heart is full of thoughts from yesteryear. Memories of a handsome young man fathering so tenderly our five children, wrap around my heart and squeeze so tight that teardrops spill from it. Thoughts of yesterday, working side by side with that same man, attaching barn board, twinkly lights, burlap and lace to wedding things, creep in, and I am as crazy in love with him today as I was back then.

I told a friend about the song… about the tears and how it took me off guard to cry like that. “And it brings back memories of your own father too,” she said. And that’s when I realized those painful old memories of an abusive father, though long replaced by forgiveness and grace, were now officially replaced with memories of a kind man loving is children well. The man I married 22 years and five months ago this week.

This father’s day I honour Tim above all men I’ve ever known. And I’ve known some pretty amazing men in my lifetime. But not one holds a candle to the kindness of my husband. Sure, he’s imperfect, and I could point out some idiosyncrasies. But the one thing Tim taught me over the years, by his example, is to focus on the good and the strengths, and loving well. Thank you, Tim, and Happy Father’s Day! You’re the best!

And because of my own broken childhood, and not having a daddy to run to with safety and confidence, I can’t go through this day without thinking of those whose daddies are missing, for whatever reason. Tim can be many things in my life, but he can’t be my daddy. Watching him parent can warm my heart, but I’ve learned that I have to let my Heavenly Papa fill that one place that only a Papa can fill. This comfort is my prayer for all lonely children

For the fathers with empty arms, having lost children to death, miscarriage or due to infertility,  and those whose children have turned their hearts away without just cause, I pray for you, that God will be near and that people will be compassionate and sensitive to your loss and loneliness.

My prayer is that if you are lonely and hurting this father’s day, whether you are a father, a son or a daughter, you will find Him faithful and feel His love in your loneliness.  And if your heart is full and everything is perfect, that you will feel blessed and celebrate that joy this Father’s Day.

In memory of my father who has been gone fifteen years now, I’m listening to ‘The Living Years‘ by Mike & the Mechanics. It’s pretty much a tradition now, to think of Dad on this day and listen to that song… among others. There are things I would say, if I knew what I know now and had a day with him. I would keep the same boundaries, and I would still hug him and tell him I love him, in spite of all the abuse. It’s how I’m wired, a part of who I am, to be able to do that. Not everyone has to make themselves do these things. But if I had that one day, I’d tell him how much it hurt, and I’d ask more questions about his story, not to excuse what he did, but to have a better understanding. And I’d take him out for a day to some outdoor event with old machinery. But he’s gone, and what I have is the memory of God’s grace in his life and in mine. And that’s enough in a fallen world, where things are not as they should be. It will all be different on the other side of this life.

And, finally, a very special Father’s Day blessing to Tim, who is preparing his heart to watch his first little girl walk into the arms of another man, this Friday, for the rest of her life. Alicia will give up her father’s last name, and take on Andrew’s name to become Mrs. Martin. And there’s a thing about this whole process that tugs at a Daddy’s heart. It is a good thing–we know from experience–but the adjustment is worthy of mention, even while we bless her. Praying, Tim, that God will be near you this week and always. Thank you for loving your children well, and teaching me what a father should be. xoxo

Love,
~ T ~

 © Trudy Metzger

 

 

Dear Victim: When Thanksgiving is Lonely & Hard…

This day is about gratefulness, a time of celebration, food and family get-together celebrations. Some of you will laugh, love and party together, in a safe and loving environment. And so you should! Without guilt. Because you are blessed to be with people who care and protect you; your abuser is not a family member, and you look forward to these gatherings.

But for some of you it is a painful day, and you find yourself  ‘giving thanks’ through tears, and loneliness, in the middle of deep trials, trauma and tragedy. It is a day that makes you reach deep for the next breath, through threatening panic, as family drama unfolds, or you find yourself in the room with the person(s) who abused you. Or maybe home, away from family, swallowing hard on yesterdays leftovers in solitary communion, because they have chosen the offender over you. And when you do go, the manipulation and sexual advances are present to this day…

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Today, if that is you, I encourage you to look deeper, not to avoid the pain but to strengthen your heart.

Remember who you are; you are courageous, resilient and redeemed. Remember Whose you are; you are a son, a daughter, of the God of the Universe, held in your Father’s heart. God is intimately present with you and interested in every part of your life. He is not afraid of your raw feelings, and invites you to share them. He is not intimated by your anger; trust Him with it. Remember that you are not defined by the crimes committed against you, or the person(s) who committed them; you are defined by the Love of the Highest Being ever to exist. You have purpose and value.

Draw from that well of truth, drink deep until you are giddy with drunkenness from it. Let them think you are crazy…

 

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

A Day in Aylmer, Reunited with Friends and Heroes from the Past

It’s a funny thing… some of the most amazing things in life, I find almost impossible to put into words. At least soon after they happen. Given enough time and space, I am usually able to ‘tell the story’ of it, but at the time, it all gets locked away someplace sacred until such a time as my heart finds words to tell it. And that’s my dilemma about some recent events. How do you put into words experiences that are completely exhilarating and as fully unbelievable? But I will try…

I wrote in my previous blog about the notes that have started to trickle in from former neighbours in Mexico, many of whom are referred to in my book, or their families if not their names, specifically; and the notes keep coming in. As a result of those connections a book signing was scheduled at The Central (most amazing restaurant in Aylmer, IMO) on Saturday May 2nd from 11:00am to 2:00pm. But the action and excitement started the previous day…

I drove to Aylmer late afternoon for an interview with Craig Bradford, with the Aylmer Express, who was very kind in his questioning. Not having had the opportunity to read the book in advance, he needed a brief overview of my story, to know where to take the article. With Corinth, a small hamlet about ten minutes from Aylmer, being a significant part of the first half of the book, he was very interested in those years, while establishing family dynamics and context. We parted ways within an hour, with the promise that he would return in the morning to speak with a few people from my past.

My cousin Helen Knelsen and I had agreed we would meet after the interview, and go see her parents, my Uncle Jake and Aunt Anna Peters. They are the sweetest couple, those two, and always had a special place in my heart in childhood and early teens; something many years of separation did not rob from me. I’ve connected with Aunt Anna numerous times in the past few years at my mom’s, and promised one day I would show up at her house. This was the day.

We pulled in the drive and it hit me, “Do they know we’re coming?” I asked. Helen burst out laughing and said she figured I had contacted them. A surprise visit it would be, then, we decided.

Seeing Uncle Jake working in the yard, I jumped out of the car and waved and called out enthusiastically, “Hi Uncle Jake!”

Uncle Jake squinted, “Wha… What?” He paused. “What?… Uncle?” he asked, clearly not recognizing me, and wondering why this stranger called him uncle. Walking toward each other I said, “I’m Peter Harder’s Trudy”.

Uncle Jake & Aunt Anna
Uncle Jake and Aunt Anna Peters

 

“What?! No…!!” he said, chuckling, and threw our arms around each other in a warm hug. We wandered to the house and Aunt Anna arrived at the door just at that moment, shocked to see me, and we indulged in a few more hugs. Sitting at their island and chatting, Uncle Jake would walk by every now and then and squeeze my shoulders, still trying to absorb it and struggling to believe it was me. It was delightful!

“I’ve grown up and out,” I said, at one point, laughing. Last time he saw me I was a scrawny teenager, slightly underweight. Well, not anymore, I told him. I’m a mom of five healthy children, which played a role, but being on heart medications did more than seven pregnancies to contribute to weight gain. He kept laughing and telling me I don’t look like Trudy, and I kept giggling, delighted by his antics and lingering shock.

Aunt Anna asked if we had supper. Helen had, but I had not. Not that I was very hungry. Of course, with aunts and moms and grandmas, it will never do to not eat, so she set to work making more tacos. And I’m talking the real deal, not that packaged powder stuff. She seasoned the meat to perfection and served them with the real Mexican tortillas. They were incredible!

We women retreated to the living room, afterwards, relaxing on the couch and chatting. Soon Uncle Jake joined us, but went to a card table in the far corner of the room to work on a jigsaw puzzle, where he could still join in conversation, but keep himself busy. We sat there a long while, listening to stories, telling stories and reminiscing. Their solid faith is such an encouragement, affirmed by their testimony that salvation is only through Jesus, not church or denomination, though they are ‘at home’ in the Old Colony church.

“Your Grandpa Wall was like that,” Uncle Jake said, “and visited many different churches when he traveled away from home.” Aunt Anna jumped in, then, and said Grandpa visited everything from Baptist, to United to Catholic, and always he worshiped God without criticizing the church.”

What a legacy, I thought to myself! No wonder my heart always felt safe with Grandpa Wall, who seemed truly to be a godly man with a kind and tender demeanor, and who always treated Grandma with gentleness, to my memory, even using endearing terms.

Such a stark contrast to Grandma’s father, Great Grandpa Dyck, who was a desperately wicked man, beating up his wife until she developed a permanent growth, and eventually ordering his second son, Peter, to push her to her death, from the metal staircase that led from their upstairs to the ground level. She died a week later and Henry, the oldest son, sat by her bed to support her in her suffering. Aunt Anna pulled out photos of Great Grandpa, and another with Great Grandma standing between her parents, and her then very young Henry. Great Grandma is positioned to show only a side profile, in order to hide a deformity that resulted from her husband constantly punching and beating her. It is utterly heart-wrenching to think this would continue, relatively unchecked.

© Trudy Harder Metzger
Great Grandpa Dyck
© Trudy Harder Metzger
Great Grandma Dyck–hiding her very bruised face–her young son, Henry, and her parents

 

We ended the evening with a few snapshots and even talked Uncle Jake, who despises all things technological, to take a few shots. (And he did a a great job!)

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Aunt Anna Peters and Cousin Helen Knelsen
More hugs all around, and with that we drove off to Helen’s home in St. Thomas, where I spent the night to save on driving the following morning. I crawled in bed a bit before midnight, fulfilled and happy and almost too excited to sleep.

I tried to set the alarm, fearing I’d fall asleep too soundly, with my heart meds. It blared loudly in  Spanish, startling me. I quickly shut it off, fearing I’d wake Rick, Helen’s husband, who had to work early in the morning. I set the volume to ‘off’ and tried again. It blared just as loudly. I made a few more adjustments and tried a third time. Again it blared, and I decided to take my chances. What were the odds that I could actually sleep in on a day like that?

I was about to meet an unknown number of people, many  of whom had been friends and neighbours in Mexico and whom I had not seen in  forty years…

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Saturday morning I awoke, bright and early. No alarm. No noise. Just adrenaline, I presume, because my medications generally drop my heart rate and blood pressure so low that it takes more than a little racket, poking or prodding to wake me up.

Helen and I enjoyed a coffee and a heart-to-heart chat, as we tend to do, when we’re together. Some days I can hardly believe that she was one of the ‘older cousins’–though only 4 years older than me–with whom I lost touch in my late preteens, at a time when 4 years is a huge age gap. Now she is one of my best friends, since reconnecting in 2010.

A few minutes after 9:00am I gave Helen a bye hug, and headed for Aylmer, where I was scheduled to meet someone for an hour, prior to the signing. The meeting went well, and before I knew it, we were setting up for the book signing. The Central isn’t just a restaurant. True, their food is delicious. I’ve tried many items in the past months of meeting clients there, in a quiet corner, to talk, or sitting with friends, and I’ve never been disappointed. But the restaurant is about a bigger vision for families and relationships. (And if you keep cell phones away during dinner, you get a discount!) To learn more about the restaurant, visit: The Central, and to learn about their Charity mission, click HERE.

My good friend, and faithful sidekick, Helen Reddekopp arrived bright and early, buzzing about, setting up and organizing the best ‘flow of action’. What would I do without her? And then the action started. People came and went. Names, faces, memories and new introductions blurred together. Some faces offered an instant familiarity, sending my mind back to an undefined time and place, trying to make connections, others a vague niggling of having once known them, and yet others drew a complete blank. And then one couple walked in….

Mrs. Wolfe. The sweet neighbour who always welcomed me into her home, between the ages of 6 and 9, and who offered us a safe place that fateful day when my dad threatened to kill us. Millie walked in, all dressed up, with her husband Charles by her side. Her eyes sparkled and danced. After chatting a while, I gave them a book, signed with much love and a thank you for that day. She accepted it, reminiscing of a time gone by, when life was much harder. “I never thought I’d be in a book,” she said, and explained that she simply did what she could, knowing life was hard, but never realized how much impact it had. “And do you remember I told you that Cheerios were donut seeds?” she asked. “You even planted some, didn’t you?”

The reporter, Craig Bradshaw, came by and asked a lot of questions, trying to get the story from Mrs. Wolfe’s perspective, and how it felt back then, with the threat of death before us. Then he asked Mrs. Wolfe how she feels about me writing about it in a book, and her specifically. Eyes beaming with pride, she looked at me when she answered, “I’m so proud of her. Very proud of her!”

There were many pleasant moments at the book signing, but there is nothing like sitting with a woman who saved my life as a child, and gave my heart a safe place in a chaotic world. I will always have a special place for her, in my memory. A place filled with love and inspiration.

Time moved quickly, and by mid-afternoon, we had packed up and headed to Peter and Mary Froese’s home. They had graciously offered to host an after party, with neighbours and friends. What a delight that was! I met many of the Froese siblings as well as a few of the Hildebrandt family. A gifted lot of story tellers, they shared story after story, of Mexico, and we laughed at the shenanigans of my siblings and their friends, in days gone by.

After the guests left, Mary and Peter pulled out photo albums and shared more current pictures of the neighbourhood where we lived. It helped me place many memories, and stirred up new ones.

It was late when I returned home, at about 12:30am, and my heart was full to the brim, and spilling over, with thankfulness for what God has done, and how He has redeemed and restored my life.  Out of the darkness that once was, He has brought blessings beyond what my mind can grasp, and more than words can tell.

As doors continue to open, and requests to travel and speak trickle in, I pray that God will continue to redeem and restore, not only in my life, but even more in lives around me. I pray that the ripples of His grace will spread far beyond anything I will ever know about, and reclaim sons and daughters whose lives have been devastated, so that people will know Jesus is the Healer. He is my reason for reaching out. He not only gave my life back, but He gave me a new and better life filled with hope, knowing He loves me. He offers the same to all.

Jesus loves you.

 

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Happy… Day! (A Valentine’s Day Afterthought)

First thing Saturday morning–using the term ‘first thing’ somewhat loosely–my husband kissed me (after brushing his teeth, and me having brushed mine) and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Oh yes… that’s today... I thought. “Happy Day to you too,” I said, laughing. He grinned, knowing I’m torn between the romantic notions of the day, and wanting to boycott the obvious marketing ploy. “Happy our Day”, I added, just to make my point.

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We’re pretty down-to-earth people, Tim and I. Mostly, what you see is what you get. So, if you don’t like what you see, run. Because it isn’t going to be much of a show beyond the obvious. Tim is laid back, yet strong and determined. He’s not overly social, but enjoys time with close friends in a ‘not too big’ a group. He steps out of that box for ministry, and pushes himself to be ‘present’ in bigger crowds, reaching out to hearts that are hurting. He is always a calm and peaceful presence. Being a man of few words, the few he speaks carry weight, and what he says is direct.

I’m outgoing and crazy, sometimes, and love crowds, sometimes. When it comes to speaking, the bigger the crowd, the more energized I am, though I’ve learned to enjoy the smaller groups and not feel suffocated by the ‘nearness’ of the people. The intimacy of it is growing on me. There are also times when I’m somewhat recluse, and prefer alone-ness, and, if the whole truth must be told, I return from most social events, depleted to sheer exhaustion. Like Tim, I speak directly, but haven’t mastered the art of condensing an entire book into a chapter, a chapter into a paragraph and a paragraph into two or three words… or a sentence, to be generous.

Life at home reflects who we are; practical and fairly direct. So, when days like Valentine’s Day roll around, we don’t get too caught in the hype. Sure, we’ll exchange cards at some point, and there might even be some little gift of flowers, chocolate, candy or even boxers and a negligee–in spite of the fact that the latter never gets its value in wear–or some such thing.  We do these things, some years, and other years it’s a card only, and we’re just as happy. (The bigger fuss was a big deal, years ago, but with time Valentine’s Day became more about our family, with little gifts for our children and a special family dinner.

Last year we went all out and decorated something crazy and I thought we’d do it again this year, but, alas, the busyness of life took over. One child is dating and she and her boyfriend pretty much boycott the Hallmark holiday, calling it a silly money-grab. While they’re gracious about others fussing over it, they celebrate their relationship other days and other ways. Another daughter headed out to a friend’s house, one son is in Germany for three months, leaving us with two boys.

That said, this Valentine’s Day, we stayed in our everyday duds, chilling at home and doing things that need doing, like cleaning, writing and tax preparation stuff. (Yay!) And we organized everything for a huge dinner, which we enjoyed at noon Sunday. There was turkey–with cranberry sauce, of course–dressing, corn, squash, and mashed potatoes for first course. And, for dessert, lemon meringue pie, banana cream pie, and my personal favourite, chocolate cream pie–all homemade. (Okay… I cheated on the crust and used Tenderflake.) Dinner was delicious. But more importantly, we were together as a family–minus our son in Germany–and shared love and laughter together.

No matter the day, Valentine’s Day, or how we spend it, I know this, I am loved. While I welcome special dates, from time to time, I would choose the ordinary, every day kind of love that we have, over one day of fuss and 364.5 days of mediocre co-existence, if it had to be one or the other. And I’d rather wake up each morning next to the man who loves me practically and sincerely all year, and indulge in genuine kisses, than to look at the flowers on the table the week after Valentine’s, eating lonely chocolates kisses, having never had his heart.

For those who choose to celebrate the day large, and live that love daily, good on you! The rest of us shouldn’t feel jealous, cheated, or guilty.  It is a wonderful thing to celebrate love and relationship in a way that is meaningful and personal.

For us, one day soon, it will happen… as it does, spontaneously, two or three times a year…  I will look at Tim with pleading eyes, probably somewhere around 9:00pm on a Friday or Saturday night, and the words will pop out, “I’m hungry for mussels.” And he will know exactly what that means. As much as he likes the quiet of home and the comfort of his chair, he will slip into a coat or jacket–if the weather still demands it when it happens–and we’ll drive to Kitchener for a late night date at the Symposium. Or maybe he’ll walk in the door this summer with a handful of gladiolas or some other roadside stand flowers, and I’ll pretend he spent a fortune, and laugh when I remind him that the first time he brought them, he announced with great pride that they were 25¢ a piece. And the moment will be filled with love and memories of days gone by, and I will know, again, that I am loved.

And, who knows? Maybe next Valentine’s Day we’ll leave the kids a few treats and a note saying, “We love you, there’s soup in the pantry–stuff for grilled cheese if you want to go all out–and please don’t lock the door when you go to bed.

Now off to enjoy this new Canadian holiday, Family Day… Tim plans to take our youngest skating, the teens are chilling with friends, and I have more writing, laundry and cleaning to do. In that order of preference…

Love

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

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“Squirrel!”… Life Lessons… And More New Friends

Anyone who has watched the movie “Up”, an animated children’s movie, will have a whole new appreciation for squirrels. And the expression. And then there’s Ice Age, Ice Age 2 and Over the Hedge, all of which portray squirrels as berserk little creatures. And they’re not so far off…

I don’t often see squirrels out in the wide open, when I walk the Mill Race. They’re much too nervous and jumpy. But this week, Tuesday, I came across one, eating the seeds someone had put on a tree stump.  He was immediately startled, upon seeing me.

 

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I dared to take another step. Slowly. Quietly. Instantly his body tensed, prepared to make a dash for it.  I paused. Nervously he started eating again.

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When he looked up and saw how near I was to the stump, which really wasn’t that close at all, he took off like a bullet, jumping from tree branch to tree branch. Suddenly he flew across the path in front of me and into a tree behind me.

There he sat, scolding as if I had come to do some great harm. I talked calmly to him, but he wasn’t about to hear a word I said. His world was just fine before I showed up, and he meant for me to leave again. So I did. But not before I added a large heap of seeds to the dwindling supply.

I met my usual friends. The cardinal seems to be warming up a bit, and overcoming it’s shy nature. While I still can’t get a very good picture, I’m definitely getting closer and better shots. One day… 
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Something I had never seen before, is this little fellow. A baby chipmunk, no bigger than a mouse–in fact, when I zoomed in for the picture I thought it was a mouse–crawled out of a hole in the pathway. And here I thought they were mouse tunnels.

 

 

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Whatever these birds are, they had been flirting quite openly just before this shot, but I missed it. Ah well…

Down by the river a lone goose honked mournfully. The rest of the flock  had somehow left this one behind, and it seemed quite distressed, as it swam about. I had seen the larger flock earlier and wondered if they might return for the stray goose. And to my amazement they did! And when they did, the honking stopped.

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There is something fascinating about the animal kingdom. So much to learn from them. So much I understand and identify with. The goose, feeling lost when separated from its flock. I get that. When I don’t connect with people who care for me, and for whom I care, there is an ‘aloneness’ in my heart.

And the squirrel? I learned something from him too…

When I came through, on my way back to my car, he was on a different stump, much closer to the ground.  For easy escape, I presume. But I didn’t let that detour me. I walked slowly. Only tiny steps at a time, and only a few. And then I stopped, a few feet away. He looked at me, still nervous and ‘at the ready’.

That’s when I talked quietly to it for a little while and watched as he visibly relaxed and kept eating. The tension, that had showed earlier in its fur, gradually went away. While the close up shots didn’t turn out well, I was amazed how differently he responded, and took a few more pictures.

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I remember that feeling of not trusting anyone. It’s a hard way to do life. Always on edge. Looking over the shoulder… wondering if someone is out to get you. That’s how I was for many years.

And then–God bless them–people who cared for me, and had the patience to show it , changed my life. I think about that often, how people helped me and changed my world. It is what my heart longs to give to others.

One would think that a squirrel, like that in the wild, hasn’t any hope of it learning to trust. Much like some people. But with patience I expect he would warm up even more.

And that’s how it is with  people who’ve had their trust broken. None of us are hopeless, or broken beyond healing. With patience, every one of us can be  ‘loved back to wholeness’.

***

Yesterday was no disappointment at the Mill Race either. I had not planned to go, but rather impulsively detoured that way, on my way home from St. Clements Heart & Home. It was just that ‘gut feeling’ that I needed to go. It was especially unusual because it was after 3:00pm and the critters are not really out and about that time of day.

But when I arrived, I found horses and buggies all tied up under the trees. It was gorgeous! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love horses! Always have, since childhood. They are such majestic creatures! And in this community, where there are horses, there are often buggies. And where there are buggies, there are most often people. A short walk later and, sure enough!

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I wasn’t there long before they packed up. I tried not to be too intrusive (thanks to my massive lens) but I fear I may have frightened them away… The Dave Martin Mennonites don’t much take to cameras and having their photos taken. Such a shame… they take nice pictures. And so do their horses.

Well, I had to be going as well, so I took a few parting shots, which turned out, in my opinion, to be the among the best of the day, if not my most favourite. And, having just discovered some of the editing options in my program, I had to play with that, just a little, and experiment.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn Old Order couple went by  in their horse and buggy, and an Old Colony Mennonite family found a quiet spot to go fishing. And I was left with the intrigue of how many ‘kinds’ of Mennonite we are, each with little (or big) differences and cultural traditions. Each with strengths, and each with weaknesses.

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***

It has been a beautiful week. I’ve had more fun than ever, taking pictures and the weather couldn’t be more perfect. On all fronts, today was my favourite day.

Last night I announced to Kordan, who had a PD day today, that he and I would go to the Mill Race together to feed the squirrels, chipmunks and birds, and hopefully get close enough for them to eat out of his hands.

He groaned, followed by a long, whiny, “No-o-o-o-o-o..”

“Oh yes!” I said. “You’re not going to sit at home on technology all day.” And, of course, I explained how much fun it was going to be. He didn’t believe me.

This morning the whining continued, though not as vehemently. Just gentle protests right up until the moment we walked out the door, which we did a bit later than I had intended, because of some business to tend to.

First things first, I surprised him with McDonald’s breakfast. An egg and bacon McMuffin, hashbrowns and hot chocolate. He wanted Root Beer. For breakfast…

“Umm… No!”

At the Mill Race, his first concern was how far we would go. We’d play it by ear, I told him, but our first mission was at the second bench, where the friendliest chipmunk comes to sit on the bench and eat out of our hands. And, earlier in the day, the chickadees also.

If I had any doubt he would be enthralled, those concerns faded quickly. The pictures tell it all, including two other little visitors who joined Kordan with the critters.


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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHaving made new friends, and each having had a turn to feed the chipmunks, we packed up to head back. We made it half way before we met some more friends. This time they were adults. I was proud of Kordan, who waited patiently as we chatted.

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It all started when she noticed I had a camera, “Oh…you have a camera!” she exclaimed.

“Yes,” I smiled, “would you like your picture taken?” I said it playfully, but in a way that, if that was what she hoped for, we could transition without the ‘awkward’.

Somehow we got it sorted out… they had seen a bird’s nest, back a few steps, and she thought maybe I’d want to take pictures of it. But, sure, they’d love to have some photos done. What they didn’t know (but will know when they see this blog) is that I had already taken a shot of them looking up into the tree.

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I followed them to the spot, and was able to capture the nest, with the mama bird’s tail peeking out. I returned, later, and she peeked over at me to investigate the intrusion. I was fairly certain it was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, but only when she left the nest for a few minutes was that confirmed.

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 I suggested we go to the Ice Cream Caboose, just across the parking lot. Kordan preferred a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We chatted about the many wonderful pictures, and for some reason I mentioned the excitement of the previous day, of being able to capture three different kinds of Mennonite cultures. The gentleman then asked if I knew how many different ones there are, whether it is three, or six…

I said probably closer to fifty. We talked quite a while about that, and I told them that I had been three different kinds myself, and knew many others.  About the Amish, I recommended they purchase Ira Wagler‘s book, “Growing Up Amish“–a delightful read that offers more than a casual glimpse into a beautiful and fascinating culture.

I took some gorgeous photographs, offered them my blog address–so they could contact me to get copies without my name, (and there’s many more!)–and then we bid them farewell, having made new friends.

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I suggested to Kordan that we visit the Ice Cream Caboose, but he preferred McDonald’s McFlurry. And that is what we did. No healthy lunch food. Just an ice cream McFlurry. I should have known better.

We took the ice cream to go, then drove back to the Dam end of the Mill Race to eat them. When we were all done, and ready to head home, I said we’d need to do this again sometime.  Kordan was quite agreeable.  We’ll go early next time, I said, when all the critters are hungry.

“Sure,” Kordan said, “How about next Wednesday when I am supposed to be in school?”

Haha! Nice try, little man!

“And next time we won’t get the McFlurry,” he said. “It wasn’t that good.”

I didn’t say it… But I’m thinking it will be the Ice Cream Caboose. At least it will be in a wafer cone, and make for some great pictures!

© Trudy Metzger

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“Your Father Died an Hour Ago”

As a young teen, and pre-teen, living under the iron fist rule of my father, in a house filled with hate, violence and death threats, I used to imagine what it would be like to not have parents. What if they died, and left us to be orphans? My older sister, Anna, would be quite capable of running the household. She had practically done it by age eight or nine. My other sisters would help, and my older brothers would manage the property. We’d be okay.

My parents usually did the grocery shopping together, for two reasons. One, because mom couldn’t drive, and the other because dad had to control the grocery money. During the worst times, I watched them drive out the lane together, and prayed a guilty prayer. I’d request a two things of Almighty God, one of which was not noble.

“Dear Heavenly Father…” I would begin, like any other prayer, and then continue with a deep, desperate plea, begging him to make my parents ‘Christian’, to be sure they both accepted Jesus. And then my prayer would wander into survival, and trying to feel noble, for my intent, I would suggest that maybe they could hit a bridge or run over a cliff and both go to heaven. In essence, I felt as if I was asking God for a mercy killing.

It was traumatizing to live a life of constant fear. And the worry that one or both of my parents might die and go to hell for what they did, added pressure and trauma of another sort. I had no confidence, if they apologized, that things would ever change. We had gone full cycle too many times for me to have any faith in that bringing about any kind of lasting change. My prayer was the only way I knew to take care of it, once and for all.

There was one other option that several siblings and I had discussed, that we felt might be effective. But the risk, should we get caught conniving such a thing, was too big. It could potentially cost us our lives.

My father had an ungodly fear of ghosts, in the sense of ‘divine messengers’. And his ‘reverence’ for God presented itself more as debilitating fear.

One evening I, and my three siblings next older than me, started scheming of a way to use this to bring dad to full repentance and transformation. We would need one of mom’s galvanized steel tubs, some rope and a large white bed sheet. One of us would have to be the ghost, and sit in tub. We would attach ropes to the handles of the tub, and gentle lower the volunteer ‘ghost’ from Wil’s window, which was situated directly above mom and dad’s bedroom window.

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The ghost would rap on their bedroom window, swaying gently back and forth, and begin to call dad, in German, by first name, in an eerie, ghost-like voice. We would then tell him to be afraid, very afraid, for the sins he had committed, and to repent and treat his family well, or certain doom would be his. We practised what that should sound like, and laughed until we almost wet ourselves, as we imagined how he would dive out of bed and onto his knees.

By the time we had created the scene, we had released the stress and tension, and never quite had the courage to follow through, which disappointed me terribly. I was ready to try anything to inspire change.

After I moved out at age fifteen, and for many years after that, I tried to imagine how I would respond at news of dad’s death. Would I be relieved that the demons of fearing for my life would finally be silenced? Would I be sad, because there was a side of dad that was fun? And even if we disagreed on just about everything from religion to politics, and everything in between, I enjoyed some of our discussions. We definitely disagreed on prophesy, revelations and end times, something that devastated him, as though he had failed me personally. Would I miss those times? Or would the relief override all of that?

In dad’s last years, as illness slowly killed his body, literally, my terror of him disappeared. At family gatherings, until that time, if he left the table for anything at all, my mind immediately created a scene of him returning with a gun and opening fire. Not once in his healthy years did we get together, without that fear being very present for me.

But as his health declined, and his brute strength gave way to feeble bones, and weak muscles, that fear left. I no longer saw a vile, evil man, but a man destroyed by his own sin. During his extended hospital stays I tried to go visit him several times a week, even though I was pregnant and it was a ninety minute drive both ways.

When it was just the two of us in that room, talking heart to heart, I got to know my dad. He had told me bits of his story ten years earlier, when he was arrested and placed in a locked down psyche ward for uttering death threats. But that was different. In the hospital, in his old age, I heard his heart. His fears. His grief.

We talked a bit about what life had been, at home, when I was younger. He looked at me then, with tears in his eyes, and asked me to forgive him for all the evil things he had done against me.

“I forgave you a long time ago, Dad,” I said. “It’s what set me free from that stuff.” We talked a while longer, and then I left for home.

How times had changed. God answered the prayer to bring dad to repentance for the evil things he had done, but sparing his life.

***

On February 21, 2003, a beautiful, spring-like day, I was busy washing windows when the call came.

For all that I had imagined, in days gone by, of what I would think or feel, nothing could have prepared me for that moment.

“Your father passed away an hour ago… It was sudden… We think it was a heart attack…”

There was no undoing it. No bringing him back to life to talk about all that had been. No saying, “I love you”, one more time. I had started when he was in the psyche ward, to hug him and say those words. He never knew what to do with it, or how to receive it, and he could never really respond, but that was okay with me. It wasn’t about comfort, it was about overcoming and breaking generational chains.

For several nights after his death I had brutal nightmares, and then they stopped. Nightmares that had haunted me all my life, of fighting to survive against gunshots or knives, stopped. And they have happened but once or twice since. They were over.

But the ‘relief’ never came. The moment of ‘thank God the terror is over forever’, never hit. Only a sad awareness that many years were stolen by sin, and the overruling joy that dad saw it in time, and asked me to forgive him.

Ten years ago today, I lost my father. If I could sit down with him for one more cup of piping hot coffee–so fiercely hot that it has to be poured into a saucer to drink it–there is much I would say that I never had the courage to say then. I would ask more about what happened to his heart, in all that chaos. I would try harder to help him know himself, and find deeper healing. And I’d do it sooner.

In spite of moments, like today, where I remember with an element of grief, I don’t waste time with regrets, rather I try to learn from the past….

canstockphoto12188171I encourage you, parents… Call your children. Get together with them to talk heart to heart. Tell them you’re proud of them. Tell them you love them. And, by all means, take ownership and tell them you’re sorry. That conversation is the key to freedom for you and your children. I can’t promise that it won’t get worse before it gets better. But it’s the risk you have to take, even if you don’t see the reward for many years. Or ever.

And children… Forgive your parents. They are the product of what life did to them, of their own suffering. If you don’t forgive, you will become like them. You will fight it with all that you are, but you will look in the mirror one day and see your dad, or your mom.

Forgiveness is the key that opens a new door, to a new future, a new life. It opens the door for your children to forgive you one day, when you sin against them.

Today that door stands before you. Will you take the key you hold in your hand, and use it?

Photo Credits

The song I have chosen today, is a secular one with a powerful message. It has been my theme song, in my relationship with my father, since his passing. I think I listen to it every year, and thank God that dad and I had that conversation in the living years. I apologize if it offends anyone that I, in ministry, would post a secular song, but I unapologetically leave you the message it holds:

Living Years, Mike & The Mechanics

“RIP, Dad. In spite of all things, I have always loved. you. I always will.”

© Trudy Metzger

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Praying Like A Pagan: A Challenge from My Sons

I wasn’t planning to write a blog tonight, but, after tucking my two youngest into bed, I decided to take a few minutes to do so.

Tonight Tim & I had a great night. We met with a handful of couples for an evening of prayer and confession. Well, it started with one individual sharing some things with me a few weeks ago, and wanting to pray through some past ‘stuff’ and some ongoing struggles.

Within the context of meeting in a group such as this, we had never had such a meeting. It was new… the unknown. And it was beautiful. It turned out to be an evening of prayer, of reaching out to God as a group. The presence of God was sweet and powerful. The perfect ‘ending’ to an intense week.

We returned home shortly after 10:00. Todd, thirteen, and Kordan, ten, were ready for bed, but not asleep. There was a bit of a dispute between them about who would tuck them in bed, Daddy or me. In the end I was the one who went up.

Everyone in our family knows that when I do prayer time, I sometimes get carried away… well, maybe usually… and I ‘chatter’ to God about all kinds of things. When they were little it worked great for putting them to sleep. I would pray, and pray and pray, until they fell sound asleep. I didn’t necessarily do it for that reason, it was just a great ‘bonus’ to my time with God.

As always we prayed together when I tucked them in. First Todd prayed, then Kordan, and finally I prayed. Both prayed their unique prayers, but each included, “…thank you that tomorrow is Saturday, and we will clean a little and play a lot….” Todd added a ‘hopefully’ to the end of that prayer. And then it was my turn.

I did the usual and prayed a while, but tonight I caught myself and wrapped it up relatively quickly.

Immediately when I said ‘amen’, and before I could leave the room, Kordan said, “Wait, Mommy, wait… Turn on the ‘head light’ (meaning the light on the head of the bed)… there’s something I want to show you.”

He pulled a box from the head of the bed and I assumed it was something he had made, but, as he turned the box, I recognized his Bible box. He said something about the book of Matthew, and having learned something in Bible Quizzing at church.

He looked up the book of Matthew at the front of the Bible, then started paging through, looking for page 1051. A few chapters in he decided to flip large sections and get there faster. In Matthew he started skimming, eventually asking Todd for a bit of help for the chapter and then scanning for verses. He said it was about prayer.

The heading ‘Prayer’ caught my eye so I pointed to it. He held it up and I read it to him. When I got to verse seven, Kordan said, with a laugh, “Yeah, that’s the one, that’s what I wanted to show you.”

The verse says, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words…”

Both boys laughed their little hearts out at their own humour and wit, at having found a verse, just for me. “That’s you mom… that’s what you do.”

I laughed, and explained, “It’s a bit different. I don’t think I’ll be heard for talking a lot.” Then I added, “I just think God likes to listen to me chatter.”

They argued that maybe that was just my perception, not reality, and laughed again.

It was a fun and light ‘topping’ to a week filled with ministry, and seeing the power of God work in breaking the chains of silence, victimization and abuse.

It is no wonder God tells us to become like little children. There is freedom in laughter, freedom in humour, and freedom in the love, hugs and kisses of our children.

I finished tucking them in, my heart full with the wonder of being blessed with God’s love through our children. I said it in my prayer, and I’ll say it again. I am so thankful for our family.

And my prayers… well, they may continue to be as long as that of the pagans, but I still think God likes to listen to me chatter.

© Trudy Metzger

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Divine Interruption: Forgiving, Releasing and Blessing My Father (Part 5)

Writing this post, smack dab in the middle of the mini series of my journey to forgiving my dad, is as random as the call that inspired it, but it’s too good not to tell, and it fits with my previous post, so here goes…

The phone rang last night, in the middle of me working on the blog I posted this morning, about family and the ways we interact… or don’t, and how we never ‘just call’ or ‘just get together’.

Truth be told, I don’t really enjoy chattering on the phone, so that’s part of the problem, and nor does my family. Unless they recognize a number as one of their friends’, my children don’t pay much attention to the phone and seldom answer it. Especially in the evening. So it was a bit odd when my daughter handed me the phone and said it’s for me.

There was a bit of irony and humour in it. The call was my sister Anna, from Mount Joy PA, the Mennonite Deacon’s wife, whom I love, with her cute American accent.

I wondered, at first, if she was maybe calling because she had read my blog and it had triggered some memories, or her memories were different than mine and she had some questions. But that wasn’t it at all.

Anna wanted to know if I wear contacts. That seemed random. I said I did until about seven or eight years ago, before they started to add the handling tint. I’m allergic to metals, and the blue tint is made out of copper,  so I can’t wear them any more. Why did she wonder.

Anna giggled, and in her laid back, true phlegmatic style, told me how she had ordered some contacts. They arrived a week ago, but she had not opened them and then one of her daughters got curious, and opened the package. To their shock, and amazement, the package inside had our address on it. “Tim and Trudy (no last name) 15 Coral Gables Crescent…”

“I kept it as a souvenir,” Anna said. “It’s so rare that something like this would happen.”

She thought it looked like the handwriting of a young child. I wondered if God did it. How else, out of the millions of people in the world, and with us living 9 hours apart, would it be her sister’s name and address that lands on a publicly shipped package, in Pennsylvania? And not to mention that it’s the sister who is writing about the family dynamics and consequences of the abuse and violence. And it was ordered through none other than Wal-Mart, a store I mostly avoid.

It is all too wildly wonderful, that she called me, just for a fun moment, on a day when I wrote we never do that. Maybe it is divine providence, God’s fingerprint on our lives, His way of saying ‘family matters’ … ‘you are not forgotten’, and ‘I’m in this story’.

We chatted about life. And health. We must be middle-aged women. Who else gets on the phone and spends the conversation on restless leg syndrome, and energy levels?

I told her to go on iron supplements, and eat lots of broccoli and spinach. Three months and you’ll be a new person. Oh, and there’s a specific brand of iron. It’s easier on the stomach. And I even told her what store to get it from, to avoid the wicked expense of small pharmacy packaging.

Funny how times change, me giving her any advice at all…  She was my big sister, the oldest sister at home, and always took care of stuff. When she was about nineteen, and I thirteen, she recruited Tina as her support, and together they pulled me aside for a meeting. They wanted to make sure I knew about menstrual cycle, what to do and where to find the hidden stash of pads in our very Victorian-kind-of-silent home.

I had already educated myself. The old encyclopaedia was fairly detailed, and I had already found ‘the stash’, thank you very much.

 

When I told them I had educated myself, Anna giggled, Tina grinned. They had just wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be caught off guard and think I’m dying or something. That was all. And with that I was released from the meeting.

I don’t know if I ever thanked them. I should have. Even though I already knew, it made me feel special to know they cared and wanted to protect me. My heart felt light… loved.

Interesting, the timing of her call, drawing me back down memory lane, into the more pleasant memories of childhood and early youth.  I’ve often thought of it, how much she played the role of a second mom in the house. How safe I felt with her.

Truly God was with me. And to receive that call yesterday was a reminder that no little detail of my life escapes Him. I am loved. Even this event was written in a story about me, before I was ever born, just as the darkest day was recorded. (Psalm 139:16) It all creates a beautiful collage, a work of art that shows the glory and goodness of God. And that thought thrills me.

Note: There was a strong response to my post on Family Dynamics, and specifically the inability to bond. Typically I respond only privately to the messages sent to me privately but because of nature of the struggle in those messages, I will further address this in  my next post.

© Trudy Metzger

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