"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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9/11, Sam's Speech and Good versus Evil

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It's a slow start for me today.  One of those rare and luxurious, tea and toast in bed days, after the kids have gone to school.  I needed a rest morning and I'm taking it.  Plenty of days ahead for activity.  And I'm sitting here with my computer, facebook open and I'm struck with the beauty and solemnity of the tributes for 9/11, that day no one will ever forget.  I remember that it was a slow start for me thirteen years ago as well, heavily pregnant and covered in PUPPP rash.  It was a hot day in September and I was trying to keep myself cool when a friend rang and told me to turn on the T.V.  

Those images.

Thirteen years later it occurs to me that I should write something too on such a subject so close to my heart, and then I realise I don't have to.  Our Sam has already said what needs to be said.  

Tuesday night we had the privilege of watching three of our children perform their speeches in the school speech finals.  8 year old Abby's speech was about her favourite hobby:  the rainbow loom.  9 year old Madeline spoke about the wives of King Henry the 8th, a subject that she is passionate about.  She's already started her speech for next year which will be about Lady Jane Grey.  You'd be right if you assumed she was my mini-me.

And Sam's speech is also about his passionate interests:  Star Wars, Harry Potter, LoTR and The Hobbit, but with a twist.  He speaks to convince us why these movies and books are so important.  Dressed in his Jedi cloak, he stands confidently in front of his audience and he speaks about good versus evil, like he knows.  Because he does know.  My boy of not-quite-thirteen already knows about the evil in this world.  And it breaks my heart.  

Below is a transcript of Sam's speech, meant to be spoken with conviction (and it was--he won the senior trophy and I was not the only one with shivers running down my spine), rather than read quietly to oneself.  

Good versus evil.  The greatest battle of them all.  Which side will you choose my Padewan and Younglings?  I am a Jedi Master.  I have faced both good and evil.  I am going to tell you about this battle and its importance to us today in 2014.

Have you noticed that all the best movies have this battle of good versus evil in them?  In both the Star Wars trilogies the battle is between light and dark.  Sith take control.  Think Darth Maul, Count Duku, Darth Sidius and the most notorious of them all, Darth Vader.  All dark.  All evil which the Rebel Alliance and Jedi have to fight against on behalf of the good.

Then there is Harry Potter.  The name Tom Marvelo Riddle might not mean much to you, but when he chose evil, he became the nasty, horrible Voldemort.  Through the seven books the battle rages between good and evil, Harry Potter versus Voldemort.

And who could forget Lord of the Rings?  A fellowship of hobbits, elves, dwarfs and men against the power of Sauron and his orcs and ringwraiths.  And now with the Hobbit trilogy we meet Azog the defiler and Smaug the dragon.  Again, evil, which the Dwarfs and Bilbo Baggins must try to defeat.

But why is this?  Why can’t we just enjoy the stories and movies for what they are … fiction.  Aren’t they just made up stories and characters to keep us entertained?  Is there really a Dark side? Is there really an evil Darth Vader out to conquer the universe?  And is there really a Lord Voldermort out there trying to destroy our good heroes?  Surely there are no Orcs hiding in the forests at night fighting battles for Sauron, the evil eye, watching our every move.

Well consider this.  The bombing of Malaysian Air flight MH 17 killing 298 people was not fiction.  The Nigerian school girls who were kidnapped by rebels in that country—not just a fairytale.   Massacres in Iraq and Syria —not fiction.  If you’re not convinced, let’s go back a bit further.  9/11 in 2001.  The Twin Towers came down during terrorist attacks and thousands of people were killed including police and firemen.  No, this was not fiction either.  Let’s go back even further.  World War 2.  Adolf Hitler and the concentration camps:   millions of people murdered.  Definitely, not fiction

The movies we watch and the books we read about good versus evil are so important because they warn us.  Evil is very real and it is something we all have to face in our lives.  The stories help us to be prepared and help us make good choices so we are always on the right side.  The good side.

But that doesn’t mean it will always be easy.  The temptation Luke Skywalker and others face to turn to the dark side is very real.  Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to be able to do this to their little sister from time to time…..

But I have made my choice.  I am choosing good.  I am choosing the way of the Jedi.  But what about you?  Which side are you choosing?

Sam Dominikovich, September, 2014

This is our tribute to the thousands who lost their lives thirteen years ago.  This is our pledge that they did not lose their lives for nothing...that if a thirteen year old boy chooses light, the side of the good instead of the evil that rages all around us, then there is hope.

There is hope.

From Gothic to Science Fiction: Doctor Who and the B.C. Teacher's Dispute

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“The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life.  He showed all of us!  That you don’t just give up.  You don’t just let things happen.  You make a stand, you say no, you have the guts to do what’s right when everyone else just runs away!”       Rose Tyler from Doctor Who

After sitting on a plane for twelve hours and watching back to back episodes of the X Men, returning home to find myself searching for ways to stream the episodes I had missed, I finally had to admit something:   I love the X Men.  Not only do I love superheroes (yes, I have always been rather fond of our Hugh, even with metal claws), but I love all things weird and wonderful like superhero powers and time travel and gene mutations.  So it wasn’t a stretch at all to realise, actually, I have a fascination with sci fi.  I have carefully hidden it under the guise of “English Literature” geek, talking at length (to anyone who will listen) about all things William Shakespeare and Jane Austen.  And if you are listening, I mean really listening, and if you care to probe a little deeper, you will learn that I wrote my Honours thesis not on Jane Austen and female friendship as planned, but on Gender and Landscape in…wait for it…The Mysteries of Udolpho by Mrs Radcliffe and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Gothic and science fiction, all beautifully wrapped together in two amazing novels.  I relished every moment of reading those books and writing that thesis.  Oh how I unpacked and unravelled and cried and cheered and cried some more.  And when I probed these two works for clues and hints about gender roles as reflected in the landscape, I had “a ha” moments that will last a lifetime and will ensure that I honour these two women and their genius for all of my days.  Amazing.  Truly amazing. 

So in recognising that I love science fiction, gothic, fantasy, dystopian tales, super heroes, the works, one day not long ago I decided to do the right thing and hang up my chick-flick-I-can’t-stay-awake-any-longer-hat in exchange for Doctor Who.

After all, there isn’t such a thing as a Whovian for no reason.  And it came highly recommended by my friend Sarah Bessey who doesn’t even really like sci fi (we’ll have to have a chat about that).

Thus began my love affair with the Doctor.  I started with season one of the new Doctor Who which aired in 2005.  I adored Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, having never seen another Doctor Who in my life and I put up with some very bad graphics and cheesiness in favour of the characters and the stories.  Rose and her mother and Mickey and the Doctor.  Real people.  I loved it and continue to love it, four seasons, several companions and two doctors later.  But I don’t just love Doctor Who because I love sci-fi.  I love it because it’s real. 

Settle down; I’m not about to confess that I think aliens are about to invade London this Christmas. 

I don’t need to believe in aliens; there is enough evil and selfish agenda in this world as it is.  Everywhere.  Not just in those notoriously corrupt countries we hear about in the news, but right here in our own little towns.  There are battles going on around us all the time.  And unfortunately, once you open your eyes to the evil around us, you enter the battle and you cannot stop fighting.  You might try to stop and you might have little breaks but as long as there are battles (and there are always battles), you will always be fighting.

My favourite scene in Doctor Who occurs in the last episode of Season One.  The Doctor and Rose are engaged in an epic battle with the Daleks some time in the future and the Doctor tricks Rose into going home in the Tardis.  She cannot control the Tardis and she is stuck in her former reality.  She cannot return to the battle.  In a spine-chilling moment, a seemingly resigned Rose sits in a café with her mum and friend Mickey.  They are eating chips and talking about coleslaw and pizza.  It’s normal life on the East End—the life that Rose’s mother desperately wants for her daughter.  Just be normal.  In other words, stay safe.  But Rose cannot accept normal life.  She complains that “he’s fighting for us, for the whole planet and I’m just sitting here eating chips!”  Rose tries to explain to Mickey and her mum that it’s not about the aliens and the space travel, but that “it was a better life.”  She goes on:

“The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life.  He showed all of us!  That you don’t just give up.  You don’t just let things happen.  You make a stand, you say no, you have the guts to do what’s right when everyone else just runs away!”

And right then and there, watching Doctor Who on my laptop and drinking hot tea with my McVities, I knew what it was about.  I described that scene as spine-chilling because it shows us that once we have seen the evil, the destruction and the battles, we can’t go back.  We can’t run away.  We can’t go back to coleslaw and chips.  How can any of us go back to coleslaw and chips when we have seen what we have seen?  When we know there is a better way of living our life?

We can’t.

And that’s the way it should be.  Because like Rose, we were not made just to sit on our comfortable seats eating chips.  Oh yes, we have those moments and lots of them and they are a blessing and a gift.  I am grateful every day for times of quiet and rest and coleslaw and chips. 

Blossom and tui and lakeside and lambs.

Laughter and games and music and faith. 

These are the things that give us strength and courage when the battles start.  And I’m not saying that we should be looking for battles around every corner.  Believe me, I have not gone seeking the battles that our family has faced.  That would be a bitter and destructive existence.  But I am saying that as we go, if our eyes are open, we will see the battles.  Because as sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are supposed to see the injustice, the untruth, the unfair and the downright evil and we are supposed to stand up and play our part in the battle when the time comes.  And the time will always come and we have to be ready.  Because there are those who cannot fight and we are supposed to fight for them.  And there are others who do not see the battle or do not want to acknowledge it and yes, we are supposed to fight, even for them.  Even for those who just run away.

Most importantly, we are supposed to fight for our children.  Yes, they need to learn that life isn’t fair sometimes and they need to learn how to protect themselves.  But they also need to know that Mum and Dad and other significant adults will go to the ends of the earth to protect them and fight for them.  They can’t always fight their own battles.  Sometimes we are supposed to do it for them so that they can just keep on being kids.  They’ll have their own battles soon enough and they can fight them when they are strong and have the skills they need with which to fight.

My friends in B.C. are doing exactly that.  They are fighting an incredible battle on behalf of all children in that province, not just their own.  Major injustices have occurred and I can only speculate at the selfish agenda which is driving the government to behave and act in the way that they are.  But my friends, the teachers in B.C., have stood up and said no because they have the guts to “do what’s right when everyone else just runs away.”

I know my friends are tired of fighting.  I know they are in fact exhausted and potentially financially crippled.  I wish more parents and tax-payers who aren’t even teachers would pick up the fight and let my friends rest for a bit.  Let them eat chips and talk about coleslaw and pizza, even just for a few days while the government gets a clear message that the entire province of B.C is disgusted with them.  But in true Rose fashion, my friends continue to stand.  Rose finds her way back to the Doctor, back to the battle, and my friends will keep standing and keep fighting too.  They are fighting for the good of an entire province, yet they still have to put up with accusations of selfishness and greed.  This fight isn’t about money.  It’s about integrity.  It’s about truth.  It’s about the future. 

And as I picture Premier Christy Clark and the Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender speaking to the cameras, I instantly get an image in my mind of the Slitheen, hungry aliens set on devouring the human race masquerading as powerful but corrupt politicians. 

And in case you didn’t know, they also let off a lot of hot air.

Doctor Who is not so far from the truth.

And that’s why I love it.

Celebrating my cow man and a love letter (the third)

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Late afternoon, the sun was shining and the birds were chirping.  I wrapped my skirted legs around yours on our garden swing, gently swaying as we sat.  We watched.  And waited.

And we breathed.  

We inhaled spring and exhaled winter.  Every breath a relief and a solace.

You pointed out the tui on top of the tallest pine.  It was perched there at the very tip, immobile, and like a heavy star on the Christmas tree, we expected the branch to bend under its weight.  It didn't.  Motionless.  Still.  

You squeezed my hand and said, "it's a sign..."

"Of what?"  I asked.

And you laughed because you really had no idea.  I said, "it's not a sign; this is a sign.  All of this."

The stillness.  The peace.  The beauty.

The rest.

And I squeezed your hand harder, knowing you had to go back to work, back to town to be master of ceremony at an event.  You were a little nervous even though you were born for the role.  Born to command, to dictate and to entertain.  Born to keep a crowd at ease while carrying on a whole programme of events.  But at that moment you were still by my side and still mine, all mine.  You didn't belong to hundreds of maths enthusiasts then.  Just to me.

I remember writing about the Cow Man in our lives, celebrating our heroes, not for one moment thinking that I would come to this place of absolutely depending upon and needing several heroes in my life.  I needed them; they stood up.  And I celebrate them again.

More than anyone, you stood up.  As you always have and always will.  You stood up for me, made the phone calls that needed to be made, said the things that I needed to hear and held my hand.  Because that's what you were born to do.  You were born to be my hero, my Cow Man and I am grateful.

You slipped away from me into the dusk and I sat a little while longer on our swing.  Alone with the tui and a gentle breeze.  Alone, but not afraid.  For a moment at least, not afraid.

Alone, I inhaled spring and exhaled winter.

And I rested.

On seeing what we'd rather not have to see

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Last night, or should I say, in the early hours of this morning as I went from groggy unsettled sleep to groggy unsettled sleep, I kept having the same dream.  

Now first of all, I don't put much stock in dreams.  Yes I know about Joseph in the Bible and I know that God is capable of speaking to us in our dreams and visions but I have seen this potential abused far too much by men and I admit it would take an awful lot to convince me that a dream is a word from God.  It is more likely to be an accumulation and interpretation of the thousands of images that have crossed in front of our eyes, during the day, both in real life and in what we glean from our technological world.  Some of these things we don't actually see but our brains acknowledge them and they get into our self-conscious without us even knowing.  

So my dreams last night were not from God but directly from my brain.  Still, it's my brain saying something to me.  And I've been listening.

You've all probably had that dream where someone or something is after you and you can't move?  You experience the panic and frustration of wanting to run but you can't move.  Your legs are glued to the spot.  And then you wake up in a cold "oh it was just a dream!" sweat.

Well last night or this morning, I dreamt that I could not see.  I could not open my eyes except for brief moments but when I did, I was blinded by glaring awful light that hurt my eyes and made them cry.  The dream went on for ages, in and out of days, all with that frustration and panic of not being able to see.  I would stumble around the house, go to the grocery store grasping at the aisles and whatever I could touch, ride my bike and drive my car--all blind. And afraid of what could be lurking right in front of me that might hurt me.

Think about it:  if someone were to put a blindfold over your eyes and make you take steps in a clear room, even knowing that there were no obstacles in front of you, your steps would still be tiny and awkward and your arms would be flailing in front of you because of what could be there.  The unknown is the most frightening thing we face.

So naturally I've thought a lot about seeing and blindness and the world we live in right now.  There is a lot we would rather not see. So much we'd rather not know.  The Nigerian school girls kidnapped by rebels, the bombing of the Malaysian plane, the massacres in Syria and Iraq, the racism and turmoil in Ferguson--all horrible stuff in our world that most of us, if we're honest, would rather not see.

And if we did see, if we did open our eyes, we would see plenty in our own cities and towns.  Poverty.  Domestic abuse.  Rape.  Drug and alcohol abuse.  Suicide.

Hey, if we're really honest, we'd have to admit we have our eyes shut to a lot of what we'd rather not see even in our own churches. Abuse. Exploitation.  Manipulation.  Judgment.  Gossip. Assumption.  Perversions of truth.  Lies and corruption.  

I read a lot of blogs by some amazing people who refuse to keep their eyes shut.  People like Sarah Bessey, Rachel Held Evans and Jen Hatmaker.  All women who, no matter how much it hurts to see, they welcome the seeing and they use their voices to give us all the opportunity to see as well.  They make a stand for social injustice, for the abused, for the marginalised and they hope that others too will see what needs to be seen.  That others too might stand up and that one small seeing step at a time, we might make a difference.

I've seen a fair bit too.  I've seen things I'd rather not have seen and I've seen a lot of hurt and pain and fear.  This week, especially, I'd have liked to close my eyes and not see anything.  How tempting it would be to simply shut my eyes and run away.  But instead I've chosen to keep my eyes wide open, to stand up to what I fear.  Because as in my dream, although it hurt to open my eyes and see the glaring awfulness outside, it also hurt to be blind.  I was stumbling, fearful of what I could not see, afraid of what might happen.  At least with my eyes open, I am fully prepared.  

No matter how tempting it is to shut our eyes to the hurt and the awfulness, we can't.  We need to keep our eyes open and we need to acknowledge what we see, not just for the sake of others, but for our own sake as well.

And God knows this. He knows that for our own protection, we need to keep our eyes open and we need to see: "All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them." (John 16:1-4)

Jesus warned the disciples and us that we will face trouble and heartache. I believe that time is now. We need to accept it and be aware. We need to keep our eyes open and be ready to protect ourselves and to offer protection to others.

Most important, we need to stand in the assurance that we are not alone in facing what we fear because we have the Holy Spirit as our advocate, the spirit of Truth who will guide us in all things and speak for us.

The hope that I have in the Holy Spirit, the promises and assurances made to me by God in His word, help me to keep my eyes open. Wide open.  

I would never wish to be blind again.

On saying ENOUGH! and a community saying it with me

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In my most unimaginable week, when I knew I had an enemy who intended to harm me, when I found myself in my very own episode of Doctor Who facing the ugliest of the Slitheens too big for his stolen skin, my son gave me a hug.

My 12-going-on-13-year-old-anti-touch-since-being-in-the-cot-son gave me a hug.


Because he knew.  He just knew:  mama needed a hug.

In fact, God knew.  God knew I needed a hug.  I've had lots of them this week, both physical and virtual from so many people but what better miracle--what better way for God to say "I know what you need," than for my anti-touch son to spontaneously wrap his gangly arms around me, awkwardly bend his head toward my cradling shoulder without exactly leaning in, and say something so simple and so beautiful as "thanks for all the wonderful dinners you cook for us Mum."  


Because this is the week where I have seen evil and stood up to it and said, "no more! This stops now!"  But I did not do it alone.  Oh no.  As strong as I am, I could never have done it alone: "who will believe me?"  The words of a every victim of abuse, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. Who will believe me?


This is the week where I have been embraced by my community...my actual God-given community who or may not acknowledge Him for themselves, who have stood and said with me in a great big Jesus-over-turning-tables-in-the-temple voice: "ENOUGH!"  They have combined their strong and protective arms with my son's around me, some in uniform, and I have exhaled a long sigh of relief. They have stood with me, and they have surrounded me.  They have loved and they have protected.  Together in full volume they have said, enough.

This is the community I love and value no matter what they believe. This, the community which understands love and loyalty and authenticity even if they don't understand Jesus Christ.

They may not understand Him; but He understands them.  And they are fantastic.


I love them.  And I am so grateful for them.

Thank you.

On accountability in church leadership: don't leave your common sense at the door!

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Since reading about some of the controversy that has plagued Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church recently, I have had a question gnawing at me and it won't let go.  I have asked this question before, in my own context of small church hurt.  This is so much bigger; yet the question is still the same.

How can people be so blind to the truth?  How can they carry on believing?  Why do they just accept the status quo?

In my local case, I know some of why the people keep believing.  They weren't told the truth and still aren't and it will be the Holy Spirit's job to present the truth to them as He did to me and to others.  Unlike the people speaking publicly about Mars Hill, I deliberately made a choice not to expose anyone or anything.  I put away my soap box.  I did not present the evidence I had in my possession.  I walked away and never looked back.  And I am okay with that, even seeing and admiring so many brave people who are speaking out about Mars Hill.  The difference is that Mars Hill is global and therefore has huge potential for influence--good or bad.  My local church...not so much.  I do not fear that the lies, control and manipulation going on locally will be much of a threat to evangelical Christianity although, yes, more people will be hurt.  As I am sure they already have.

There are a lot of issues surrounding Mark Driscoll's and Mars Hill's credibility.  There is only one that I will address here and to me it is the crux.  It's the clincher.  It's the thing that requires common sense to say:  "Get out!  Run for your lives!  Head for the hills and duck for cover!"

In a word:  accountability.  The Executive Elders refuse to disclose their salaries to the congregations of Mars Hill.

Now to me in my black and white world, that non-disclosure says a whole lot.  And the fact that Dalton Roraback was forced out of leadership shortly afterwards for asking the question, says a whole lot more.  Common sense says there must be a reason, something hiding in that non-disclosure.  Common sense says, stop believing. Stop following.  Get out.

And yet, there are many many many people across the United States still donating money to Mars Hill and believing in the institution.  

It's complicated I know that.  I am too black and white and coming from a very limited perspective.  I know that.

I also know that if it were their government spending their tax dollars, pretty much every American citizen would agree that it is their right to know how much their leaders and politicians are being paid.  If that information were not available, cries of corruption would erupt far and wide.  And rightly so.

But why isn't it the same in a church?  Why do so many people accept that it's okay not to be told?  It's okay.  We don't need to know.  We trust our God-appointed elders and it's okay.  We submit to their authority.  We trust them without question.  Yes Sir, no Sir, thank you very much Sir.

What are we afraid of?

Why do we lose all of our God-given common sense when it comes to church governance?

Because it is not okay, even in a church.  Because that God-appointed leader may be anointed, gifted, humble, spiritual, wonderful, amazing and all those things but he or she is still human.  They are not God.  They are fallible.

And believe me, the more powerful and influential they are, the more susceptible they are to greed and control and manipulation and the more in line they need to be with Jesus and His teachings.  It's human nature.  And it's a problem.  A problem that demands accountability.  

And so the original question plagued me:  why do people accept it?

And then I remembered a novel I used to teach at High School called The Wave by Morton Rhue.  In fact, I think I may have even studied it when I was in school.  The students in a history class ask the very same question to their teacher referring to Nazi Germany and millions of Jewish people killed.  Why didn't people stand up?  Why didn't they stop him?  How did they let it happen?

So history teacher Mr. Ross endeavours to answer the question through a social experiment.  He starts a group called the Wave.  At first the students are sceptical and think their teacher is loopy but eventually they join in.  They start chanting and marching.  They subscribe to Mr. Ross's principles of "Strength through Action, Strength through Community, Strength through Discipline" and everything improves.  No one is left out, even the former class reject Robert Billings and all their grades improve too.  Mr. Ross himself is amazed with his success until some of the group become violent with non-members.  He realises that his experiment worked dangerously well.  

The answer to the question, the students discover, is that they all long for something bigger than themselves to believe in and to be a part of.  This was especially true of the class clown who was suddenly accepted.  He was the one with the most to lose when it ends and who took the group most seriously, even volunteering to become the body-guard for Mr. Ross, the leader who had given him so much.  

People long to be accepted and they need to feel valued.   I have heard a church leader recently admit that church leaders can play on that need and he warned that some will.  People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves--a contributing part--which is why some churches are so successful at getting people to leave their common sense at the door.  Join us.  You are welcome here.  We value you.  Just don't ask any questions.

Christian:  You do not have to leave your common sense at the door of a church.  And those with discerning gifts need to trust that those questions you want answered come not just from common sense but from the Holy Spirit.  John 3:20 reminds us that "Everyone who does evil will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed."  If by asking a question or pointing out injustice you are shining a light on the situation but leaders refuse to allow it, thus insisting on hiding in the dark, then there is a problem.  And the problem is not you.

Most important, as Christians we need to remember that we already do belong to something bigger than ourselves, that is, we belong to God as His daughter or son and are a significant part of His universal plan.  Jesus Christ is your brother.  And you are valued and loved.  You do not need to find your value in a church by contributing or belonging there. You need to find your value in your relationship with Jesus Christ and know that you already have it.

You already belong.  You're already there.

An aside:  lest anyone should think my tone is haughty or arrogant...I too once left my common sense at the door.  I belonged to a church and I belonged to a team in that church.  And it felt good and it felt right.  So good and so right in fact, that I lost my sense of judgement and trusted those who shouldn't have been trusted.  Others had warned me but I didn't listen.  I should have pried myself away from that group and that church long before the decision was taken from me. Thankfully I woke up before much harm was done, or the Holy Spirit shook the sense back into me. Probably both.  The point is, I know.  I know. 

"So dawn goes down to day"

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Today I said good-bye to my nearly 13 year old slider rocking chair.  The age of the rocker is significant; it is also the age of my eldest baby.  My lanky, gangly, sleeping-in-to-all hours baby.  My boy-man.

We bought the slider rocker 13 years ago from The Baby Factory on Devon Street.   It was the first piece of furniture we had ever bought brand new and somehow it matched our second hand forest green 2 seater sofa perfectly. With no family nearby to hand down their baby things to us, we needed all the essentials:  crib, stroller, high chair, all-in-ones, diapers, bins, toys, singlets, cardigans.  All of it, brand new.  But the first thing we bought was the slider rocker.  The soon-to-be mama in me already had a picture of late night feeds and early morning settling, sitting in that rocker.

And I was not wrong.  It was well used. The arms of that rocker were the perfect height for cradling a baby whilst feeding or just rocking while singing a lullaby.  That rocker saw me through four babies and two houses.

Bit by bit we have sold all that baby furniture that we had to buy for our sprogs.   Saying good-bye to the white-washed crib that went through three babies and then was converted to a toddler bed from one of the twins--that was the hardest moment.  I loved that crib.  And I loved that rocker and because I am a hopeless romantic and because that chair held so many memories, I said I would never sell it, even though the matching 2 seater second hand sofa was long gone.  In fact, that slider rocker has not matched anything in my house for a very long time.  The cushion began to sag years ago and all the screws were loose.  It squeaked horribly when it rocked.

That slider rocker was only really used as a last resort for seating in my lounge, but there it remained, pushed into a corner between the stereo cabinet and the piano.  

And with another move in our future, I looked at the slider rocker one day.  The one in which I nursed and rocked my babies.  That terribly out of place and falling apart slider rocker.

It was time to go and so go it did.  To a young mum with her own wee bairns to feed.  

I saw it go, put the cash in my pocket, turned away and washed the dishes.

No tears, not even a choking at my throat.

It simply was time.

Time to move on.  Time to let go.  Time to smile and remember fondly.  But time for new memories. 

How glad I am for new memories!

Am I becoming less sentimental as I age?  Maybe I am.  I am certainly becoming less attached because I have learnt recently that nothing lasts forever.  But I already knew that.  Robert Frost and I both new that, that poem I studied back in Middle School simultaneously with our study of a classic novel, The Outsiders:

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

(by Robert Frost, "Nothing Gold Can Stay")

Nothing gold can stay.  Certainly the inevitable outcome for the leaf is to wither and die.  Clearly the rosy hues of dawn must fade to grey before they succumb to the blinding light of day.  And obviously, my golden time of raising babies is well and truly over.

But here's the thing:  there is always new gold to take its place.  And there is always more gold yet to be discovered for you.  There might be a lot of day to get through first...just ordinary grey, green, blue day before we see another golden dawn but we will see it again. There will always be another dawn, often bolder and more beautiful than the one we tried to hold on to, the one we dreaded to lose.  Be filled with joy as you anticipate the golden dawn ahead.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

God has plans for gold in my future.  Plans for gold in your future.  
It's not such a bad thing after all, saying good-bye to something old and rickety and worn.  

Not such a bad thing.