Friday, 12 December 2014

Modern Day Samaritan Woman

Finding beauty in the hazy fog of forgetfulness and age!!

I arrived home from work yesterday and stood for some time at my dining room window watching my mother outside in the garden. She had apparently spent most of the day outside fussing with the plants and the animals and hardly noticed the hours slip by.
Watching her, I couldn’t help but wonder “who is this lady and what has she done with my mother”.

As I watched the woman who nurtured and disciplined me, the woman who taught me so many things, I could hardly begin to try and list them; I realized that I painfully “missed my mom”.

She is here with me, yet she is also so far away that she is barely reachable. The lady who shaped my faith, now tests it that same faith to the very extreme.

I keep searching for the beauty of the moment, the memory that will be saved for the future, the smile or laugh that I will remember…

but for the most part I live on edge, walk on eggs, waiting for the next bout of aggression and conflict. Conflict that can be triggered by anything random and inexplicable. One moment there will be peace and contentment and the next moment the tiniest comment, action or lack of immediate action can provoke an unexplained rage that targets anyone and everyone and can last for days on end.

When this happens the entire household avoids her and attempts to stay out of her way. This tends to be a very difficult thing to do, as she is not easily avoided. She tracks you down, searches you out and then just continues ranting where she left off. No soft answer turns away her wrath. She will settle for nothing less than the “head of the person” she has perceived to have done her harm.

Consequently, in the end I (as the daughter) have to step in and confront her.  I have to protect the family and demand that she stop abusing everyone and behave herself.
When this happens she packs up her bags and announces to all and sundry that she is leaving and departs to my brother’s home for a time.

And so the cycle continues until the story repeats itself at his house, whereupon she packs up her bags and returns to my house.

I spend hours trying to understand what has happened, search the internet for some clue, assistance, advice, anything at all, while fearing that the same will be my lot in old age. I miss her so very much and I realize so keenly that the time is so short. 

There is no time for all the conflict and aggression. Maybe it is already too late and the time for meaningful communion with one another is passed forever.

I pray that she has not forgotten her faith and her saviour. I pray that her sermons are real and not just repeated parrot fashion and that she hasn't lost touch with the one and only “person” that can be with her in this strange new place she has reached. None of us can go there because we don’t know where “there is”....

In the meantime I will keep on searching for the beauty, the smile, the laugh, the brief glimpse of the mom I knew, and the wonderful memories that will carry us through the days when she is no longer with us. I have no answers, very little hope for change and no new ideas, but I will keep trying to get through.

She is my “mom” and I love her so despite not understanding what has happened I will be there. I will stand as silent witness to the person I used to know, the person locked inside that tiny frame, perhaps locked away forever and overshadowed by this new unfamiliar stranger.

Ecclesiastes 12:2-5

Honor and enjoy your Creator while you’re still young,
Before the years take their toll and your vigour wanes,
Before your vision dims and the world blurs
And the winter years keep you close to the fire.
In old age, your body no longer serves you so well.
Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen.
The shades are pulled down on the world.
You can’t come and go at will. Things grind to a halt.
The hum of the household fades away.
You are wakened now by bird-song.
Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past.
Even a stroll down the road has its terrors.
Your hair turns apple-blossom white,
Adorning a fragile and impotent matchstick body.

Yes, you’re well on your way to eternal rest,
While your friends make plans for your funeral.
The Message (MSG)

*Hugs* till next time.

Modern Day Samaritan Woman
!!”Happy Contact!!

When my daughter was about two years old she loved plasters and bandages and lots of attention every time she had a “boo boo”. The smallest scrape or bruise required an enormous bandage accompanied by lots of hugs and kisses. Like all little girls she thrived and received an endless flow of love and attention.

On one of the occasions, when she was about two years old, she had another “boo boo” and we (family) were all laughing at the enormous bandage wrapped around her head giving her an almost cartoon like appearance and someone mentioned a well-meaning, “She is such a Hypochondriac”.

My daughter immediately reacted and drew her whole two year old stature up to full height,  slightly off balance and vision distorted by the huge bandage on her head, her hands held defiantly on her hips and announced boldly......

“I am NOT a Happy Contact”…

Needless to say this stuck and we as a family have enjoyed it ever since. My daughter has grown up into a beautiful young woman now and recently God has revealed to me that my daughter is indeed a
!!”Happy Contact!!

Her personality and gentle nature draw people to her and as a natural leader and peacemaker, she calms and resolves all kinds of conflicts without trying very hard.

Contact with her makes one happy!

I am blessed, proud and humbled to be the mother of such a remarkable young woman. I have witnessed her at work, without realizing her impact on others or even trying very hard she creates a safe place for people. I have been the recipient of her gentle care and probably will be again.

My daughter,  is indeed “Beyond Beautiful”

*Hugs* till next time.


Thursday, 30 October 2014

Honourable man.

What does it mean to be an honorable man?

When my son Kyle –John was growing up and I was home-schooling him, I was very aware of his approaching “manhood”. I knew that I would be instrumental in shaping him into the man he would become and I wanted him to be an honorable man.

This is an old term and I doubt many people, especially men think about it very much nowadays, but just a few hundred years ago men would live and die for their own and their family’s honor.

Honor was what separated those who were reliable and honest from those who were not. 

An honorable man’s word was never questioned and business contracts were verbally agreed upon based on the honor of the men involved.

How was I going to impart this notion, idea and all important character trait into my sons life?  I taught him the theory behind the word, based on the Word with God’s Honor as the only reliable yardstick. We then looked at the lives of various men who had lived honorable lives.

I had done what I could, but I worried that with time he would forget so on his 15th birthday I gave him the simplest of gifts. On a piece of paper, handwritten in my own writing (Have I mentioned that I write down everything?) I penned the words

“ I dare you to grow up to be a man of honor

He kept this paper in his wallet until he was twenty and then lost it when his wallet was stolen. (I often wonder if the thief that stole his wallet ever read that dare and whether it perhaps had assisted him in changing his ways).

I choose to believe however that the principle behind that dare is buried deep in my son’s character and as he faces challenges and life’s twists, I believe he will do the honorable thing rather than the popular thing.

*Hugs* till next time.

Your Story Matters.

When I was young I grew up very naively; as I was very certain about how my life would pan out. I spent hour’s day dreaming about “being grown up” and free to do just as I pleased; never once realizing that I would be substituting accountability to parents for accountability to society.

Eventually I did grow up and life happened. 

Gloriously, tragically, amazingly, terrifyingly, recklessly, responsibly, coming at me in waves with endless pressure to conform and measure up.

I found myself with bills to pay, people to care for and all sorts of other un-imagined problems to resolve.

Relationships become more complex and challenging. Marriage and children added to the complexity of these relationships and although I loved being a mother I was constantly aware of my decisions and how they affected my children. I wanted to be ‘super mom’ and I wanted to protect my children from all things negative and create a safe haven for them to grow up in. I wanted my children to have unlimited optimism about their futures.

As a home-schooling family, we were isolated during the week, yet at the same time free to explore and flexible enough to take part in field trips, art, dance and all sorts of other lessons.  We baked, experimented and tested whatever came to mind.

It was during this extremely busy time that I learned the value of listening to and reading about other people’s stories. Everyone has a story and no story is boring or unremarkable. I literally would absorb and soak in other home schooling families stories, because they “had been there” and been through the things we were facing. 

Their successes and failures became important to me and I took their advice seriously because they had the credibility.

Their stories gave me permission to be discouraged and weary at times. Their stories gave me hope that all would come together in the end and that my children would grow up to be educated and well-rounded citizens in their generation. Their stories were real and just as messy as ours. 

With hindsight I realize that although many of them will never know it, they were like cheerleaders standing beside our field, cheering us on while we muddled through maths lessons, trips to the library, laundry and quick snacks.

Their stories mattered to us because they dared to share them. 

*Hugs* till next time.

Why I hear you ask do you call yourself a modern day Samaritan Woman?

In short, I was happily married for 23 years, home schooled my two children, directed a Worship Dance Ministry and generally lived in a very contented self-contained bubble, my very own castle in the sky…….. until the day my marriage broke up and “Boom” my whole world collapsed almost overnight. 

What do you do when this happens?  What do you do?
I didn’t know.

I reacted to events as they unfolded with little thought, reflection or purpose. I made so many mistakes. When I thought of my future all I could imagine was this huge black hole of nothing-ness. I saw a pointless existence. My children were about to leave home, so I was also facing the empty nest. I didn’t have the sense to think, I merely reacted blindly, stupidly, as the enemy bombarded me with one thing after another. It was only much later that I recalled the warning from scripture that our battle is not against flesh, but against the principalities and powers. I became angry and fearful and with each passing day. I lost hope until I had none left at all. Naturally all the thoughts and emotions were recorded faithfully in my journals and although I can barely bring myself to read through the raw emotion recorded on those pages, I have seen that despite this being one the worst seasons, I have ever faced in my life, God was faithful and his assurances, love and stability are clearly found in between my ranting’s and ravings. I noticed later that my writing style had changed and I had become extremely self-absorbed. I am ashamed to say it, but it was all about me and my pain, my loss and my anger.

My constant mantra at the time was:

This too shall pass”
This too shall pass”
This too shall pass”

I slowly started living again but really only because I didn’t die, as I had fully expected to. I wish I could say I was brave and determined to face life despite the odds, but that is not how it happened. I simply did not die, so I had to get up and go to work and carry out a semblance of living.  I withdrew from all my “happily married friends” and lived in isolation, only venturing out when I was forced to. I turned instead to my faithful journals, ever recording, pouring out everything.

This too shall pass”
This too shall pass”
This too shall pass”

I met man number two with whom I felt just maybe there was some hope and I could continue this life. He reminded me of good times, made me laugh again and was a companion in the most wonderful of ways. This man truly could “see” me. Unfortunately, although it was our will to marry and build a new life together, it certainly wasn't Gods Will for us, as this dear man, very special, so close to my heart, developed a Stem Cell Tumor and passed away within two years of diagnosis. It plunged me into another period of pain and disbelief.  On a daily basis for fourteen months it felt as if we had been holding death at bay.  Once again my journals were faithful friends, recording the events as they unfolded, as a new season of care-giving unfolded.
Once again I clung to:

“This too shall pass”
This too shall pass”
This too shall pass”

After this season had passed (as they all do, even when we can’t imagine it) and with the prompting of friends and family to “live again”, I eventually met man number three.  (My husband, the man who would make me his wife. The man who would restore to me my sense of worth)

Before this happened however; while driving to work one day, the Lord spoke to me so clearly and said “Do you realize that you are a modern day Samaritan Woman?”  

Me, a Samaritan Woman? No, never!!! Wasn’t she a ‘bad woman’? A questionable lady with a number of men? We all heard that story in Sunday School and Church Sermons and we all know she was the example of who NOT to be.

I thought about it the whole day and couldn't wait to get home from work to read her story in John 4. Interestingly, her name is never mentioned. Neither is there any mention of her character, children, parents, siblings or her life, except from the fact that she had, had several husbands and the man she was living with at the time was not her husband.
I related to her story. I never had several husbands, but I had known three men and the one I was living with was NOT my husband. 

This started a journey of honest reflection and serious thought about this mysterious lady that Jesus had taken the time to speak with, just as he had done with me in my car that morning.

Was she really a “bad” woman? I didn’t believe I was a “bad” woman.
Was it her lifelong dream to have several husbands / lovers?

It wasn’t mine. At sweet sixteen, I never dreamed of knowing three men. I wanted the same as all young girls. My own husband to love “forever and ever after”.

However, regardless of what I had dreamed as a young girl, a series of circumstances and bad decisions had brought me to this place. Forty something, divorced, living with a man and yet I dared to call myself a Christian. 
  • ·       Could it be that the Samaritan Woman had not merely jumped from man to man at random, but perhaps life, circumstances and bad decisions had also brought her to the place she was in when she met Jesus? 
  • ·         Could we suppose that she may have been widowed by one of her five husbands (surely not her doing)?
  • ·         Could we suppose that one of the five had perhaps committed adultery and abandoned her?
  • ·         Could we suppose that one of them may have abused her, forcing her to have to leave for her own survival?
  • ·         Could we suppose that by the time she had reached number five she was so worn out, tired of struggle and disappointment and desperately longing for true companionship?
  • ·         Could we suppose that despite the disapproval of those around her that she just moved in obstinately with man number five, and ignored the voices of reason in her own mind?

We will never know, because the bible is silent regarding the circumstances that brought her to the place where she was. I don’t want to insinuate she was totally innocent, as we are all sinners and make wrong choices; however I am more inclined to understand her and empathize. I am more inclined to grant her grace and mercy in spite of what she may have done. Why? Because I related to her on so many levels that I could have been her. I almost wish I could stretch back through the ages and give her a huge hug. When I close my eyes and listen closely I can hear her say “This too shall pass!!!”

I started paying attention and realized that there are many unnamed Samaritan Women’s voices echoing through the ages. Their stories untold and unknown. There were and are still many women just like me and that dear woman at the well.  Broken, weary, abandoned woman can be found in-between lives, jobs and even men. Seeking, always seeking for that place of “absolute belonging”. Yes you know what I mean. If like me, you have had it and lost it you never stop searching for it. You are always aware that you don’t have it. It drives you to do desperate things that you ordinarily would never have done.
If this is you and you can also relate then I want to say to you:

“This too shall pass”
This too shall pass”
This too shall pass”

I know that this is true because God in His wonderful mercy and love and in His perfect timing gave me the greatest desire of my heart. For many long years, I had asked Him to give me my OWN husband and that this husband would serve God with me.

On the 21st of June 2014, this gift was handed to me by my Father in Heaven. No longer am I in-between lives and husbands. He gave me my own husband.  On the 21st of June 2014, my children took my hands and blessed me, as I boldly stepped into the future. No longer was I facing a black hole of empty existence and I am forever grateful that I serve the God of “New Beginnings”.

Granted, I now face a whole new set of challenges as a third wife and “step mom” (without a handy “How to” manual) but with God’s Grace we will do this together and write our own manual as we go.

I do however still relate to that Samaritan Woman (and think of her often) and to all the women who have since followed her because I too, have walked in her shoes for long lonely years and I know her well…I have been her and I have met her and befriended her in so many other precious women I have met in the past few years. Many of whom have become my close friends and sisters.

*Hugs* till next time.

Welcome to my blog. 

Take a seat and visit awhile. Its cosy in here and you are very welcome.

My name is Ariéte and I have been writing since I first learned how to. I’m not very good at it, but I do it anyhow. I have always enjoyed writing and I write down just about anything and everything. I have journals, prayer journals, note books and lists of all sorts. I even utilize the note book application on my mobile phone for recipes, poems and to do lists. How many people even know there is such a thing?  I love words and how they sound. (My favourite at this moment is ratchet. It has such a catchy sound, rolls off the tongue so easily). Go on….try it, say it a few times over…now more quickly…what can I say? I love the word. Pity in my line of work I can't slip it in anywhere and everywhere. I also love pens and pencils of all colours and shapes. Well in a nutshell!!!  Stationery of all sorts.
I have never really consciously considered my obsession with writing. I just did it automatically, until recently when I was asked,

“Why do you write everything down?”  Why indeed?

I didn’t really have an answer, apart from the fact that I actually enjoy the act of picking up a pen and writing on paper.  I enjoy the sensation of pressing the pen to the paper and controlling the writing. I enjoy the process of collecting all my thoughts and tying them down as it were onto that white sheet of paper.

Recorded, Saved, Retrievable, Controlled.

Writing grants me permission to move on. To let go.  To forget what is churning around in my brain and allow some new thoughts and conversations to enter.
Yes! I have conversations with myself, God, my children, my friends and even my pets all the time.
I thought about this passion for words and writing and the most truthful answer is that writing helps me to create some kind of order from the chaos that is my life. It brings perspective, separates me from the ugly in a manner that I have control over and helps me to discern Gods Will for me versus my own desires. Once it’s penned to paper, its confined to that white piece of paper and contained, under control.  

No longer random and all over the place,
scrappy and unpredictable.

So I am planning to pen my thoughts and ramblings here, releasing them from my mind and heart and in the process just maybe assisting others who may well be passing through where I have just been.

*Hugs* till next time.