Silver, books or food?

IMG_4193These last weeks I have been reading two books, in norwegian, written by daughters, clearing out their mother’s home. Some years ago my siblings and I did that too, a chore that is something quite else, more like an initiation rite.
Going through item after item, trash and treasures, and deciding;
This you must leave, to grow to what you are to become,
this you may keep, to stay true to who you are,
this you may finally get rid of,
this is not yours to have,
all the time knowing it is only things.
The lesson that could be taken is: “These things are not what your mother left you, but what is, and what is worth keeping?”

One of the authors used the lost Franklin expedition to reflect on what we cherish. The  real story about  John Franklin and his men getting lost while searching for the Northwest passage in 1845 is still a mystery. Actually a new theory was launched as late as this january. What is known though is that these starving, lost men, pulled their sleds, hoping for salvation, but still throwing away essentials to make their burden lighter. The Inuits and the rescue parties have found tins of food, medical supplies and crucial tools left along the last route. They must have been giving in to despair, realizing all hope was lost. And then, perhaps not, the last things to be ditched were monogrammed silver cutlery and a novel. Why?

IMG_4444I found my copy of the book, The Vicar of Wakefield, and read it through, to understand why and when it would be better than food. I am not sure, what do you think?

To me the real eye opener is not how these lost men prioritized though. The more serious question is of course my own choices, not only when it comes to material belongings,or food versus books, what about relations, obligations, work, beliefs?

When I let something go, what guides my choosing? When I decide to keep on to something, will it really keep me up to the end?


True courage

IMG_2701 cheeringMy mother’s mother is one of God’s silent heroes. I use the present term, even if she has been gone for years now. I am sure she is cheering me on, up in the bleachers, as Paul says those who are dead do. Eagerly watching to see if we have the support we need, if we are staying the course, if we have heeded the warnings and stored the loving advice they gave us through their lives.

She used to be timid, just as me, able to conjure the worst catastrophes, not always trusting her own abilities. Yet always doing what she thought was right, with a serving and loving heart.

IMG_0275 dark cloudsThen one summer morning our world was shattered. My aunt and her husband had been stabbed to death by their neighbor.

I will not write about the anguish and pain, the grief and the fear. Months went by, the shadows of that day adding darkness to the other tragedies we had lived through as a family.

I thought my grandmother would never be able to straighten her back after that blow. She kept praying, serving and believing though.

I had to ask her: Why? How are you able to live?

She stopped knitting, but she did not answer at once. Then she looked at me, her voice still quiet, her eyes glowing strong.

” The worst has happened, after this nothing can frighten me. The worst has happened and God carried me through even that. That gives me courage to face my days, and to know that the small tasks he reminds me to do is important.”

IMG_5888 hortensiaI have seen illness, evil, death and  sorrow afflict my own family. I have listened to patients,clients and victims of evil hurt by violence, illness, shock, grief and death. I do not need to be reminded of the scary, terrible facts and deeds of life. I do need to be  inspired by everyone who keeps believing in beauty and love. I do need to share joy and laughter to pick up strength to keep striving for justice and a good life.

I need to stock up on beauty, truth and love to take me trough whatever fears I still will need to face in my life.

To do that I heed another advice Paul gave the Philippians : Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

That’s a lot, and enough for me!
IMG_5859 rose