Santa and Angels

brown beside fireplace near brown wicker basket

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It was Christmas Eve and children all over the world were waiting for the most magical day of the year.

Serena looked up at the stars, “Can you see Santa”

“N0. But he’s up there somewhere. I can feel it ” replied Tarrin

Tarrin and Serena heard a whistling sound and an object dropped out of the sky and landed next to the cousins. Tarrin stooped to pick it up and gave a surprise shout,

“It’s a whistle, let’s go inside and show it to my mother “.

Tarrin ran into the house waving the whistle, with Serena close behind.

Devin snatched the whistle from Tarrin’s hand and held it out of her reach, as Tarrin and Serena both jumped frantically trying to retrieve the whistle.

Kayleigh shouted, ” Mom, Devin’s teasing Tarrin again, send him to his room, ” while Kieran wrestled the whistle from Devin. Brianna in turn snatching the whistle from Kieran noticed some words engraved on its surface.

Brianna read aloud, ” Whistle and I’ll come to you. What does that mean? “

Devin reclaimed the whistle and blew as loud as he could. There was no sound.

” That’s disgusting ” proclaimed Kayleigh ” You don’t know where that whistles been “.

Kieran facing the patio door to the back yard saw something falling from the sky and turned on the outside lights. Kieran, Brianna, Kayleigh, Devin, Tarrin and their cousin Serena stood gaping in shock and amazement as they saw Santa and his reindeer, large as life, standing in their backyard.

Brianna was the first to recover, ” What cute reindeer ” she said, and all the children tumbled out the door into the back yard.

 ” Who whistled for me, ” enquired Santa, ” and what’s the emergency “

“There’s no emergency, ” responded Kieran ” We found a whistle and Devin blew it”

” Ho! Ho! Ho! ” laughed Santa, ” I must have dropped my summoning whistle that the elves use”

Kayleigh asked in a pleading voice, ” Now that you’re here Santa, can you take us for a short ride around the roof tops “.

“Better than that “, said Santa ” How would you like to help me deliver the presents.”

All the children gave a great cheer and ran inside to retrieve their winter coats, gloves and hats. ” Shot gun, ” yelled Kieran as they ran outside to arrange themselves in the sled.

Soon they were flying over the roof tops and the houses became a tiny speck below.

Tarrin asked Santa where they were going to deliver the presents and Santa replied,

” Let’s try England”. 

Kieran thought for a minute and then turning to Santa enquired ” I went to England this year and it took me six hours by plane. How can we get there and back by morning as well as visit all the other countries”

Santa just smiled and said ” By using a little piece of Heaven”

Santa closed his eyes, the children felt a slight tingle and found themselves surrounded by a bright light and a feeling of peace and contentment. Angels were flying all around them singing praises to God 

” This is my little secret.” said Santa, ” I work with the Angels and the elves at Christmas. It’s team work, the only way we can get things done in time. I enter a little doorway to Heaven at Christmas and ask your Guardian Angels to help me deliver the presents. The Angels also let me use Heaven as a shortcut so that I can travel, in the blink of an eye, to any country I wish. “.

Sure enough, in the blink of an eye,  the children again felt a slight tingling and they were flying over England. They spent the next while having fun, helping Santa to deliver lots of presents to the children of  England. Quite soon the presents were all gone.

“Time to head back,” said Santa, “But we’ll make a little stop first”

They soon felt that tingling feeling as they entered Heaven again.  The next instant, they saw a bright star shining in front of them, and were followed out of Heaven by a legion of angels. The reindeer  flew down and landed by a stable.

The children looked on in wonder, as they recognized Mary and Joseph kneeling beside a crib that held the baby Jesus.

Joseph and Mary turned to Santa and the children and greeted them warmly ” Hello Nicholas, hello children, so glad you are here to celebrate the birth of our baby”.

Tarrin, without any hesitation, walked up to the baby Jesus and laid her teddy bear at the foot of the crib.

Serena followed her closely and set her PJ Mask doll by the teddy bear.

Kayleigh took her bracelet from her wrist and laid it beside the teddy bear and PJ Mask.

” Thank you ” said Mary,”  Three gifts, the perfect number “.

Santa and the children stood around the crib for a while and offered a silent prayer. After a while Santa gestured the children towards the sleigh and they said their goodbyes to Mary and Joseph and Jesus.

In another blink of an eye, they found themselves descending into their backyard, their adventures behind them.

” Our parents will be worried about us ” said Devin “We must have been gone most of the night”.

“Don’t worry” replied Santa ”  No time has passed at all, we have returned to the moment we first met in your backyard “.

Brianna quickly ran inside and grabbed some carrots for the reindeer and chocolate chip cookies for Santa. Santa thanked the children for the carrots and cookies and for being such great helpers and with a jolly cheer and a Merry Christmas he was again on his way. For he still had children to visit. 

And Kieran, Kayleigh, Brianna, Devin, Tarrin and Serena made some hot chocolate and settled down to wait for the most magical day of the year.

( This is a Christmas story for my six grandchildren Kieran, Brianna, Devin, Kayleigh, Tarrin and Serena).

Confession

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This is a photo from 2016. My granddaughters Tarrin on the left and Brianna on the right.

Brianna was apprehensive. She stood in line with her grade 8 class, from St. Ignatius school,waiting to confess her sins to Father Munroe. It was the beginning of Advent and she had to be cleansed of her past misdeeds to prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Her mind was in a whirl as she went through last years events wondering what to confess.

Soon it was her turn to enter the make shift confessional.

Brianna intoned, ” Bless me  Father for I have sinned…………………………….. “.

Father Munroe allowed a slight pause and then in a benign voice prompted  ” Begin, my child, do you have anything to confess”

Brianna thought for a while and then muttered, ” I forgot to give Splash her carrot last week, I was in a hurry and forgot to pick one up”.

Father Munroe looked a little baffled and enquired, ” and who is Splash “.

” The horse I ride at Old Orchard Farm. I have lessons Mondays and Wednesdays ”

Father Munroe encouraged Brianna to continue.

Brianna screwed up her face in concentration, ” I was sick last month and wasn’t able to clean Bubbles cage “.

Father Munroe looking a little exasperated said, ” I suppose Bubbles is your pet mouse”

” No Father ” Brianna replied, “He’s my pet hamster”

Father Munroe with a resigned look urged Brianna to continue.

” It was pouring with rain yesterday, so I refused to take Finn for a walk, even though I knew I should ” confessed Brianna.

Father Munroe perked up ” Ha, you disobeyed your parents. I presume Finn is your dog”

” Yes Father” murmured Brianna, ” But my parents weren’t home, I just felt guilty about releasing him to the back yard, instead of walking him”.

” Do you have anything else to confess ” asked Father Munroe.

Brianna thought long and hard if she had mistreated the cats Fred and Ffion but couldn’t think of anything. ” That’s all I have to confess Father ”

Father Munroe still probing Brianna’s soul asked  if she had any brothers or sisters. Brianna replied in the affirmative.

‘ You never fight or argue with your brothers and sisters ,” enquired an astonished Father Munroe.

” Of course I do, “says Brianna ” But that’s not a sin, it’s survival”

” Perhaps you should treat you brothers and sisters more like animals ” reflected Father Munroe.  Absolving Brianna of her sins and with a sigh of relief he moved on to the next student.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pilgrimage

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“To feel the pull, the draw, the interior attraction, and to want to follow it, even if it has no name still, that is the “pilgrim spirit.”The “why” only becomes clear as time passes, only long after the walking is over.”
― Kevin A. Codd, Beyond Even the Stars: A Compostela Pilgrim in France

Each July my mother made her annual pilgrimage, with children in tow,  from the slums of East London to the hills of Moolum on the fringes of Kilkenny,two miles from the village of Kilmacow and six miles from Waterford, Ireland. She was coming home to the aunt who raised her, to the home where she had her fondest memories as a child. My mother inherited the house and moved there when she was sixty, and I in turn made my annual pilgrimage from Canada to Moolum till she died aged ninety. The house in Moolum was a shrine to the memories and spirit of past family.

I’ve been thinking of pilgrimages lately. I think it’s because I’m doing less walking since I’ve become involved with WordPress. I have good intentions, but then I access the laptop and WordPress, and find that five minutes of existence in the WordPress world equates to four hours in our world. 

After my running days came to an end due to back problems I began walking 1-2 hours a day and had kept at this consistently until the last few months. I want to revive this habit and have been thinking in terms of completing a pilgrimage. I love walking in the woods and isolated spots and I am trying to find a scenic spot to visit, where I can stay awhile and reflect.

Pilgrimage is a concept easy for me to accept because I have spent most of my life in the Catholic tradition. I remember an aunt forty years ago relating her experience of a pilgrimage to Lourdes. She described the communal and transcendent experience of thousands of people walking in the night, holding candles and praying and singing.

Most of us are involved in a pilgrimage of sorts, a spiritual journey, a great adventure, a quest to fully understand ourselves and find a place in this universe. Let’s enjoy the journey.

 

The Hidden Hand

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“When God is ready for you to move, He will make your situation uncomfortable.”
― Germany Kent

The hidden hand of God tapped me lightly on the shoulder and guided me on a path that I had never walked before.  A path that bought forth my humanity from the arrogant, robot like being that I had become.

It was all so easy. I came from a family of wealth and power and was raised to accept these hard won gifts as my birth right, even though I had done nothing to earn them. I grew into arrogance and the certainty of my actions. I was in control.

I first met Anna at a fund raising event my mother had organized for the local hospital. I asked her for a dance and we ended up chatting for most of the evening. We agreed to meet again. We married a year later.

My father retired and I took over the family investment business. I buried myself in the creation of wealth for myself and for my family, working long hours.

Some time later Anna gave birth to our son assuring that the dynasty would continue. I was surprised to discover love for the second time as I watched our son grow into childhood.

At the age of seven he lost his normal childhood enthusiasm and became listless. This continued for a week. We took him to a medical specialist, who diagnosed a rare disease and he died three months later.

I was devastated and my soul descended into a very dark night. I spent endless,  listless days in solitude, inconsolable, uncaring of the passage of time or affairs of the world.

Some time later I felt the touch of a gentle breeze blowing the torpor from my mind. A voice whispered ” what now ” and the answer flooded my being. What about other children. There was no cure for my son, but what of other children with incurable diseases. Who will help them.

So I formed a family foundation and devoted my wealth and contacts to hire the best researchers to hunt down the causes for a number of fatal diseases. We had many successes and many children’s lives were saved. Two years after the death of our son Anna gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl.

I look back now and realize, that God balances everything , out of great tragedy can come great good.

( This is a fictional story)

Family

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My daughter’s children. From left to right. Kieran, Brianna, Devin, Kayleigh and Tarrin in front. Photo was taken two years ago.

My daughter came to visit. Walking in the door holding Kieran, her eight month old son, she made her announcement.

” I have some news to share.  I’m expecting triplets “.

” What!  How!  What!  When? Congratulations. When? ”

” The doctor thinks around November. If all goes well “.

My son-in-law just sat to the side with a dazed looking expression.

Three months later my daughter was confined to bed rest at home. A month after that she was confined to a bed at Women’s College Hospital under the care of a specialist.

The triplets, Brianna, Devin and Kayleigh were born at twenty four weeks, three months premature, weighing 2lbs. each. Their skin was translucent and their bodies could fit in the palm of your hand. They were placed in incubators, attached to oxygen, feeding tubes, heart monitors and a number of other medical devices. My daughter was allowed home after a few days but made the 1-2 hour journey to the hospital everyday from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m so she  could bond with the babies. As soon as it was safe to do so, the babies were allowed out of the incubators for a while, so my daughter could hold them and they could feel the comfort of their mothers body.

The triplets were born in the middle of August but not allowed to leave the hospital till November 1. I can still picture the shock on my fourteen month old grandsons face as we brought the triplets in one by one. I still don’t think he has gotten over the shock.

There were a number of logistics involved in the early months of raising the triplets. For example they were all on different formula strengths and their bottles had to be colour coded. My wife was there all day helping out and I would come over every day after work to help. We both left around 11:00 p.m. every night and wished my daughter and son-in-law the best of luck for the night. Needless to say there was not much sleep for the first few months. In that time we had sold our house and purchased a house within two minutes walking distance of my daughters house.

In December of that year, two months after the triplets came home, my company downsized and I lost my job. It was then that my daughter asked, if my wife and I would be able to look after the grandkids while she went back to work. As a family group we had discussed all the options available.  In the end it boiled down to economic survival. So my wife and I agreed to take on the daily responsibility of caring for the grandchildren. My daughter went back to work when they were a year old.

The routine for my wife and I was as follows. I would walk over to my daughters house every morning for 6:30 a.m. which was the time my daughter and son-in-law left for work. I would stay with them till 11:00 a.m. at which time my wife returned from her morning aqua fit class. I would leave and she would prepare their lunches and put them down for a nap at 1:00 p.m. I would return at 2:00 p.m. and look after them till my daughter returned home at 5:30 p.m.

Summer was easy as I would bundle them all in a wagon with a supply of snacks for the morning. We would leave the house around 7:30 a.m. and tour the parks of the area returning at 11:00-11:30 a.m. I would continue this routine after their naps.

In the Fall we would spend most of our time in the woods, exploring, jumping in leaves and collecting pine cones in buckets.

The Winter would be fun when it snowed. Besides tobogganing,  we would make snow forts and snow castles using their sand buckets and shovels. We would also have sock fights in the house. I would grab all the socks from the drawers and we would run around the house, throwing socks at each other, engaged in battle. They loved it.

In the Spring when it rained they loved to catch the water flowing down the drain pipes into buckets and empty it out and start all over again. We also had puddle jumping contests. Dressed in splash pants and rain boots we would search for the biggest puddles we could find and see who could make the biggest splash.

Just as the four grandkids started school and my wife and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing we had from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to ourselves my daughter visited.

“I have some news to share. Remember me telling you that I felt so tired after running the Toronto marathon in October and had a hard time trying to recover. Well I decided to make a doctor’s appointment to see what was wrong with me. Good news. The doctor said it’s because I’m nine weeks pregnant”.

My wife and I looked at each other and said congratulations that is great news………and gave a big sigh. But as it turned out Tarrin was a gem to look after.

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This is a shout out to Serena, my son’s daughter, on the left. Tarrin is on the right.

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Because my daughters household is not crazy enough. This is Finn. He’s a Norwegian Behund puppy . They also have two Maincoone cats Fred and Ffion, a hamster bubbles and tropical fish.

 

 

 

 

 

Karma

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“Karma comes after everyone eventually. You can’t get away with screwing people over your whole life, I don’t care who you are. What goes around comes around. That’s how it works. Sooner or later the universe will serve you the revenge that you deserve.”
― Jessica Brody, The Karma Club

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all its possibilities. Water poured down from the heavens, baptising the earth, cleansing it, nurturing new life. The roads of the cities and towns were washed clean and puddles formed, awaiting the splash of tiny feet on their way to school.

Rose hovered over Brian’s sleeping form and hesitantly offered, ” it’s 6:00 a.m.”. Brian twitched in his sleep and Rose proclaimed a little louder, ” Brian, it’s 6 o’clock”. Brian jerked upright, grunted and rolled out of bed. Rose made her way to the kitchen to cook a big breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages and toast that Brian was so fond of. Brian completed his morning routine and set off for work. He was in the office to-day, having to attend lectures on sales motivation and product enhancement. He sat through the lectures thoroughly bored, while his mind drifted to the new, pretty, young sales assistant recently hired. After work he made his way to the tennis club for his 5:00 p.m. game with Peter. Arriving at the club he placed his gym bag on the bench and started to unpack the contents. He suddenly scrambled in panic  searching his bag. He  lashed out, smashing his fist against the locker door and raging, “the stupid bitch, forgot to pack my shorts”. His fists clenched and unclenched as rage seethed inside him. Arriving home he yelled at Rose , “you forgot to pack my shorts, it’s all your fault if I lose this important client”. Rose timidly accepted his pronouncements. Karma.

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all it’s possibilities. The sun shone down from the heavens, proclaiming it’s warmth and embracing all the creatures on earth.  Town and cities were bathed in light and it’s peoples were filled with new energy, while the children skipped and danced to school.

Rose fluttered over Brian’s sleeping form, cooed her morning call and retreated to the kitchen. Brian awoke in a grumpy mood, he had been called to an early meeting with the sales manager. The sales meeting did not go well. Brian had continually failed to meet his quotas and was given one last chance to meet this months quota or he would be gone. He arrived home that evening in a miserable mood. Walking in the door he let loose on a continuous rant about the stupidity of his manager, the stupidity of his clients and how his talents were unappreciated. He continued this rant through supper, gulping down his food without tasting.  Rose listened patiently and nodded her agreement. Karma

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all its possibilities. The earth continued its rotation around the sun, dancing harmoniously with the planets. People are locked in their daily routines of self absorption and survival, failing to appreciate the complexity and beauty of the universe.

Rose contemplated Brian’s sleeping form wondering what made him so angry, resentful and bitter. She echoed her wake up call and wandered into the kitchen. Brian spent his day arguing with customers over product complaints, it was always the customers fault, he was forever the victim. He was on his way home, when he felt a terrific pain in his chest, he collapsed over the steering well, and the car veered off the road into a ditch, tumbling onto its side. Rose answered the door bell and listened as the police officers explained the manner of Brian’s death and that he was being held at Hamilton hospital. She thanked the police officers and after they had left walked to the kitchen cupboard. Reaching her hand to the back of the cupboard, she pulled out the one million dollar life insurance policy on Brian’s life, she had taken out six  months ago. She reviewed its contents and poured herself a glass of wine. Settling into the chair she decided that Brian could wait till tomorrow for her to make the appropriate funeral arrangements. Sipping her wine, she sighed contently, enjoying the peace and tranquility of her house. Karma

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“Life is painful. It has thorns, like the stem of a rose. Culture and art are the roses that bloom on the stem. The flower is yourself, your humanity. Art is the liberation of the humanity inside yourself.”
― Daisaku Ikeda

A new day dawning. Another chance at life with all its possibilities. Rose woke up late, stretched and unfurled her arms towards heaven. Today was a new beginning. Her life was starting anew and she was determined to embrace it and create a positive spark from the ashes of the past. Karma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silence

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“We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.”
― Leonora Carrington

His mind was confused, and he was so tired. Is it meal time , shall I get up and eat. But wave after wave of fatigue ate at him and he had no desire to move. He heard noises all around but the sounds were making his head hurt. He kept his eyes closed and tried to block out the sounds. After a while he succeeded. He embraced the silence and in return the silence enfolded him and held him close. He saw a dove ascending in a clear sky,  carried by the wind,  towards heaven. He saw himself enfolded in a cocoon of clouds, waiting, marking time before his transformation. He drifted off into endless slumber.

The doctor reached down and closed the eyes of his shrunken body.

“How old was he”

“He was ten years doctor, but sick for a long time. His family came in this morning. They were from a tiny village. A twelve mile walk. They carried him all the way.”

“Only ten and so small and shrunken. He looks like a five year old. How many more like him”

” He is the eighth to die to-day doctor. The families have no food. It’s the war you know”

The doctor shook his head and cried inwardly. His first day volunteering for Doctors Without Borders and he felt so helpless. He had no food only medicines. What they needed was food………. and the war to end.

The war in Yemen has been ongoing for three years. 2.2 million children are suffering from malnutrition and 85,000 children under the age of five have died.

Just another statistic in a world of seven billion people.

These words were inspired by /janedougherty.wordpress.com. Writing at Jane Dougherty writes. She wrote a poem on this subject “Why are the babies dying”.