Tweets by @morningblend56 According to Mary: December 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Advent Wanderings and Letter to Rosa

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to my advent wanderings. Just bear with me and we'll get through this rather long blog just fine.

Our first house in Pella was about 6 blocks from the cemetery and made for a lonely walk when we first moved here. Although I recognized the names on the grave stones as Dutch names, they were different the Dutch names I grew up with in Michigan. I didn't know a soul among all those names and it emphasised that I was indeed a stranger in a strange land. The cemetery became a place to have a good cry and then get on with living.

Last Christmas, Rosa, my boss at the bookstore where I work, my daughter, Rachel, and I went to Judy's house to see her collection of Nativities. Judy bought a nativity from our store most years and we would always think about her when we were putting them out for display at Christmas, wondering if she would like any of them this year. Rosa was always happy if we had an especially unusual nativity to show her.

She lived in a Victorian mansion on one of the oldest streets in town and each room was filled with her nativity collection. Rosa and I told her every year that we wanted to see her collection and last year we made it. Judy had been given a second change at life that past year. She had experienced what they thought was a stroke and her recovery was a complete miracle...except for the pain in her shoulder. She died four months later of cancer.

The other day while our house was being shown by a realtor, I drove to the cemetery and took a walk among all the rows of names...But living 28 years in Pella, I can now find the place where my friend's stillborn baby lies, Cal's folks are buried here and some of the teachers of my children...Judy is here, too. Much to my surprise I know almost all the names now. The cemetery is full of friends and acquaintances. Somewhere along the way, I lost my stranger status.

In moving to Des Moines we aren't just leaving Pella, we are leaving our community.
That's what my walk in the cemetery told me.
And cemeteries remain a good place to have a cry.

Cal and I bought a house in Des Moines on 4043 Ashby Ave. I affectionately call it "Tiny Castle" as it is a modified Tudor style. Cal and I both liked the size of the rooms and the layout. I have a vision for the house, but it needs a lot of work and we are anxious to restore this house and make it our home.

Cal and I have been trying to focus more on Advent this year. Christ has come. Christ is Coming Again. We are in the same place as Israel was the first time. The days appear dark at times and we are longing for his Kingdom to come.

I think of being in "advent" as being pregnant with expectation. It is a helpless feeling. We don't know when the baby will come, we don't know when the promise will be realized. And so we wait. Sometimes we wait with hope, sometimes with despair. We try to be attentive to the present moment, but that darn baby keeps moving around and distracting us. And so we give up and sit with our dreams in our lap and plan for the future. That's what advent has come to mean to me and the waiting for our house to sell and to move seems to feed my longing for Advent.


Dear Rosa,

This year at the staff Christmas Party I was delighted to receive the picture frame with the words, "We have shared together the blessings of God." Rosa, I will always think of you when I hear those words.

You are my Sister in Christ. We HAVE share his blessing. We have wanted the best for each other. We have demanded little of each other. We have tried to be there for each other. We have accepted each other and enjoyed each other. We let each other fly. For me this has been a great joy.

I will never have a job that I have enjoyed and had so much fun doing as working for you at Gosselinks. I love your giggle and your sense of humor and your honesty. I've enjoying watching your fly by the seat of your pants. Your ability to welcome people and speak at the drop of a hat has awed me. Your generosity and creativity in giving us all unusual and interesting gifts (Like going to Wicked) is over the top.

I have appreciated your ability to share my dreams. I have appreciated your flexibility. And your curls.

I want to tell you how I have loved and respected you for all the things that you have done over the years for me and for the store and for your devotion to your family.

I hope I will be able to be of some service to you and help to make the next months a little easier.

Thank you for everything. And Merry Christmas.