Through a cloud of sadness,
Long before I knew him, our paths began to intersect.
Some call it “fate”; some call it “co-incidence.”
We called it “Divine Love.”
In Montreal, he and his family lived
… about three blocks away from my family.
In North Vancouver
… he lived a few miles away from me.
On the Sunshine Coast
… his family had a summer cottage in the community I worked.
We never met in any of those places.
And then we met, by happenstance at a Christmas Fair.
It wasn’t “love.”
It was simply a meeting of two people who shared common interests
and who began to grow in friendship.
And then ‘love’ entered the scene.
Not between the two of us
… just yet
but through a rescue dog
… his little King Charles Spaniel named Shandy.
As the years passed
the friendship he and I shared grew.
‘Love’ entered the spaces
that had been empty for far-too-long for us both.
When he first asked me to marry him
I said “No, not yet.”
Then he asked again
and again and again.
One day, he phoned and asked me to go
for an afternoon drive with him
… we often did that.
He came by with Shandy, picked me up and off we went.
And on a bench overlooking the ocean at Qualicum Beach
… he asked me to marry him.
And this time I knew
… the obstacles we had talked about were nothing
as long as we faced them together.
I realized that his love for me was so deep
as was mine for him
and that spending the rest of our lives together,
… no matter how long, how short,
was part of “Divine Love.”
Six weeks later he had sold his little house
I had sold my little house;
a new little house was purchased
and we were married and moved into our “forever home.”
Our wedding day was a day marked by ‘clouds’
… physical rain clouds
… other ‘clouds’
but we knew that we would face any,and all clouds
We were the love of each other’s lives
and we were grateful.
Over the years
… laughter filled our home
… deep conversations filled our home
… joy and peace and hope filled our home
… Divine Love filled our home.
On this day,
my beloved took his leave of this Planet Earth
… never ever
takes his leave of my heart.
Like other calligraphers
he joins others in that Great-Scriptorium-in-the-Sky,
and is singing in that lovely voice of his
the six words of his reality:
… “It is well with my soul.”
Through a cloud of sadness
… love shines and always will
And when the time times for me to join him
our cremains will be together
in a unique box crafted by our wood artist friend.
Death may bring the end of life
but it does not end a relationship
for the love we were so blessed to share
will never end.
Rest in peace my beloved Hans.
Rest in peace.
<Hans van der Werff April 29, 1929 – June 26, 2016>
© june maffin
Birthdays are supposed to be happy days
… times of celebration and memories that bring a smile to the face.
But not always.
This year’s birthday brought me echoes of words
spoken that day last year by my husband’s doctor:
… “esophageal cancer … it has spread … Hans, you have about six months.”
The doctor was wrong.
And four days after those words were spoken
… not six months
I wasn’t looking forward to my birthday this year
and didn’t spend time on the internet that day.
But when I finally did
unexpected and kind birthday greetings
brought light into the darkness
each image and comment
touching my heart in ways I cannot express.
Then a prayer emerged
… a prayer of hope that kind words would be
written, spoken and echo throughout our world
among family, friends, strangers and from politicians and social media.
Thank you, dear friends / dear Soulistry subscribers
for being conduits of kindness
which have echoed deep in my soul.
May words of kindness
echo throughout our world.
Photos and Text © June Maffin
<The photo of the apple blossom was taken when apple blossoms on our tree were plentiful. Sadly, that’s not the situation this year. But hopefully, it will be – next year. 🙂 >
I smile a lot
… I can’t help it.
When I’m in the garden
I can feel a smile begin to form on my face as
… flowers bloom
… strawberries bear fruit
… bird-gifts blossom and I wonder “what will you become?”
When I’m out for a walk
I can feel a smile begin to form on my face as
… puppies romp in the dog park
… lovers hold hands and snatch a kiss
… children’s laughter fills the air
… and even when a bird poops on my jacket!
When I’ve got my little camera in my hand
I can feel a smile begin to form on my face as
… raindrops transform the roses into something
even more beautiful than they were before the rain
… and joy fills my heart as a new Soulistry blog piece
begins to form in my heart and mind.
I believe that when we smile often
and find beauty and joy in the ordinary
we begin to realize how blessed we are.
May it be so. Amen. May it be so.
<The photo of the rose from our front yard was the catalyst for this Soulistry blog.>
Text and Photos © June Maffin
Has this ever happened to you?
Life is going along
… a few hiccups here
… a few hiccups there.
But then a curveball comes
… out of nowhere!
Has it ever happened to you?
Of course it has.
… wouldn’t be life
Sometimes the curveballs are such that
… they are predictable.
Sometimes they are
… anything but predictable.
… when the vet said, “It’s time. There is no cure for your beloved pet, only suffering”
and you know you have to do
… what you have to do.
But you don’t want to do it.
… the day the driver in the car
blinded by the sun
… behind the woman on a bike ride
ran into her.
Your friend died
… and he lived
knowing he had killed another human being.
… when the symptoms began gradually
but weren’t recognized as “symptoms”
until it became clear that something-wasn’t-quite-right.
The testing and waiting
… for tests began
Then the waiting
… for results
And then diagnosis.
… the big “C.”
No one goes through life without a curveball or two
… or twenty-two
But life isn’t about the *number* of curve balls.
Life is about adjusting our perspective and
… not letting them define us
… not letting them destroy us.
And it’s up to us
… to learn how to handle them.
© June Maffin
“Miss Pudgy Angel – it’s time for you to come
and lift us out of the fear many are feeling these days.”
This night, I want to share a story
a true story about *Miss Pudgy Angel.*
Many are feeling fear these days
… fear of “what next” when people think of the present incumbent of the White House in the United States
… fear of terrorists
… fear of flying
… fear of a medical diagnosis
… fear of aging
… fear of an unknown future.
I wish I could say that I’ve never been fearful,
but I remember a terrifying plane ride
… when the plane heaved and starting falling
… luggage began to come out of overhead bins
… and people screamed.
My hands were in a death grip on the arms of the seat.
My breathing was shallow and swift as my mind raced through possible scenarios.
I was scared
… big time.
“God, help,” I heard myself whisper as the crying around me seemed to increase.
And then, *she* appeared.
… Miss Pudgy Angel.
Well, that’s what I called her when I was given her as a gift many years earlier.
She sat on my mantle for years and years
… and I delighted in her presence
… and in her sweet and gentle smile.
Why I thought of her at that moment, I didn’t know
… but I was grateful.
Her image brought a smile to my face
and for just an instant
my concentration was on her
… not on the fear.
I soon found myself imagining Miss Pudgy Angel with three of her pudgy angel friends
… Miss Pudgy Angel was underneath the nose of the plane
… two of her friends were under each wing of the plane
… and one was under the plane’s tail.
Each was working to stabilize the plane and help the plane climb back into its proper flying pattern.
The more I visualized Miss Pudgy Angel and her friends
it seemed that there was less and less space for the fear to take over my thoughts.
Slowly, I realized that my breathing had slowed down
my grip on the armrest had lightened
… and I was smiling!
Those four pudgy angels were ridiculously funny!
They huffed and puffed and pushed their pudgy arms into place.
nd as I continued to visualize the four of them under the plane
… lifting it
… stabilizing it
the more I became aware that the heaving of the plane had slowed
and my fear was dissipating.
Do I understand what happened in that moment in the sky?
Not for a second.
Of course, there was no Miss Pudgy Angel
… or her pudgy-angel-friends underneath the plane.
And yet … and yet …
As twenty-first century people living in a western culture
we’ve inherited a philosophy that says
“knowledge comes from a combination of our intellect plus our five senses.
If we can’t touch, taste, see, hear, smell or reason it,
then its existence is suspect.”
So it’s not surprising that giving serious attention to the existence of angels is difficult.
If angels are part of the realm of the Spirit
… that’s the realm of the unknown and the mysterious
and it’s not a world to which many can easily relate.
But in the Book of Job in the Old Testament
these words give rise to the possible reality:
“God does speak. Now, one way. Now another, though we may not perceive it”
To believe that there is a Holy Other, Creator, By-Whatever-Name
… to believe that such a Holy One speaks to us
… and to believe that such communication happens through the form of an angel
well, that takes an openness
… an openness to Mystery.
Do i believe in the possibility of angels?
I did then.
I do now.
And many times since that moment-in-the-sky
I have uttered/prayed/whispered/thought words of gratitude.
Were the pilot and co-pilot, crew, air traffic controllers, Miss Pudgy Angel and her friends
… angels that day?
I don’t know.
I just know that for that brief terrifying moment
… when I visualized Miss Pudgy Angel and her friends lifting the plane
… as the pilot, co-pilot, crew and air traffic controllers were working hard to stabilize the plane and get it back on its flight pattern
I was being lifted out of fear.
May all who experience fear of whatever form, in whatever way, for whatever reason
… some way
… some day
be lifted out of fear.
Text and Photo @ June Maffin
<An aside: Miss Pudgy Angel now rests on the top of a bureau my husband, Hans van der Werff build, beside the handcarved container which holds his cremains. And yes, she still beams that beatific smile and each time I pass her and Hans’ unique urn, I smile, remember, and give thanks.>
I didn’t create Ms. DinoCritter for
… a reason … or purpose … or underscore a message
I created her simply
… to play.
… shapes and colours and new techniques
… care for the outcome
… do something other than watch the never-ending media commentaries
… let go of anything that was distracting me from “be-ing”
… aware of blessings
… filled with peace and joy and gratitude
Ahhh, the joy of play
… “for no reason.”
Artwork and Text © June Maffin