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Posts Tagged ‘Episcopal Church’

Depth is critical. Without it, life is two-dimensional and only has length and height.

3D, however, is by far richer because it adds depth. And depth adds dimension, perspective and soothes the mind, heart and soul because it helps bring things to life, and life into focus.

Similarly, in photography, depth of field allows us to discern distance between what is in focus while keeping an eye on what lies beyond.

Note that neither concept embraces looking back.

Ironically, last week before this post came out, I had captured a shot down by the bay that I’d sent to my blogging buddy, Mr. 3D, for his feedback, since he has a really good eye for photography, creativity and all things beachy keen.

My mother’s favorite flower was the camellia, a flower she paid handsomely for to enjoy in her native Chicago, but which grows abundantly here where she chose to live out her last years with me. So I always think of her in the winter when the camellias bloom so beautifully like this.

Some of you may be aware that I laid my mother to rest, summer before last.

Or so I thought!

In an odd and truly unusual religious turnaround, the priest sought me privately after church last week and made a very unexpected confession. “Er, I believe we found what appears to be more of your mother’s ashes, back in the sacristy. What would you like us to do?”

You see, the priest had been hit by a drunk driver the week before mother died (fortunately he was alright after a few weeks of recovery), so the interim priest did the funeral and interred her ashes in the church memorial garden.

I know mother was buried because I and my family was there in vivo to participate in the solemn event. We wept. We joined hands. We sang hymns and prayed. The children scooped grandmother into the earth. Rites were performed.

We said goodbye. Forever.

There was apparently some miscommunication about a second box that turned up long after what the rest of us thought was the actual second box, had been dispersed to the places her ashes were scattered over water. Somehow, the funeral home had created three boxes and delivered them to the church and with the main priest out of commission, nobody knew about Box 3.

Until this week. They’ve been doing a head-to-toe cleaning of the church as they prepare for the regional Diocesan Convention to descend upon our church later this week.

Mother was a photographer and she also had a great sense of humor, so I’m sure she was LHAO from all points beyond, when we learned she had actually been haunting the church for the past 18 months.

So when the priest asked me what I wanted him to do, for a split second, mother’s funny story about what to do with her ashes (pre-death) danced across my mind.

At some point in her 80s (she died at 93), some funeral home solicitor kept calling her every week trying to get her to buy a funeral plan. They were, as pesky solicitors are, relentless.

So one day mother, anticipating their call, decided to rig up a sure-fire way to get them to stop calling. Sure enough, the phone rang that day and she answered with a wry smirk on her face and when they asked yet again she’d decided yet to buy a plan with them, she said without skipping a beat,

“Yes, I’ve finally decided what plan I want. I want to be cremated and for my ashes to be divided into four. Each one of my children will get a portion of my ashes to keep in the trunks of their cars. That way, should they ever get stuck in the snow somewhere, I can still be of help to my children.”

The hapless funeral solicitor never called back. And I decided against suggesting this to the priest, although I might save the story for him for a lighter time in the future.

So yesterday, mother was officially laid to rest with the rest of her ashes, in the church garden where we thought we’d been going to visit (all of) her all along.

The garden happened to have many different-colored camellia bushes behind the memorial section, so I picked one for mother this morning and located her plot, which was newly disturbed with broken grass and unearthed dirt.

Rest finally in peace, Elizabeth Anne – and may you take some awesome photos in Heaven!

Thank You, God, for the gifts You have given me through my mother – love never ending, a happy spirit, an abundance of laughter, a zeal for learning, an eye for Your creation, a passion for seeking You…and for 3D and depth of all fields.

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Entrenched in an other-dimensional dream landscape, my mind was very actively resting.

It was just before dawn and a distant, rolling, rumble of thunder seduced me into inviting it into my dream. The dream-people around me and I took note of its sound and paused in whatever it was we were all respectively doing, here by the sea.

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(Dreams, I think, are the only place and time in which we are so paradoxically hyper-aware while in a simultaneous state of being unaware.

In dreams, heightened senses punctuate the surreal palette of blurred imagination.

It is where colors blend into vivid magnificence and a favorite song stuck in the head crescendos into new understanding. Taste and smell explode into hyperdrive, and touch can either numb or excite every last nerve in your system.

Time warps without warning, but it’s all good.

The deepest shadows of our psyche, for a short time, become ultra-aroused as the light of opportunity to dream shines upon them.

The unknown becomes known…

The unacceptable, acceptable…

Curiosity becomes experiential…

Wisps of other worlds suggestively dance within reach, but are strangely just out of touch – both vexing and comforting at once.

The great puzzles of life are linked, piece by piece, and are suddenly seen with new clarity and perspective.

And sometimes all those things happen in reverse and prompt us to action by day).

Still afloat in my dreams, the thunder in its commanding, bass voice again called to me from afar, authoritatively yet gently – this time penetrating not only my dreams, but my mind and soul.

I hid behind the dunes of my heart, both afraid and excited, knowing full well, deep down that I was inexplicably drawn to be still and to listen attentively for more.

I peeped out to hear again that which I could not grasp as my own to hear whenever I willed, staying sheltered among the protective sea oats in my dream. They offered a buffer while I was able to remain nestled in the warm, soft sandy bed while affording me a glimpse of what may lie beyond.

Storm and peace, peace and storm.

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The crash and thunder of the waves are not unlike the crash and thunder of…thunder. Yet this sound was not my familiar sea-waves crashing. No, this was less rhythmic and unmistakably called for my attention.

Nature’s pulse dictated that the days of calm, predictable weather were about to give way to another round of action.

Denying and still dreaming, I instinctively turned back to the world I’d unwittingly made up, curled up in my warm nest, preferring to believe I was safe, secure and content.

A startling flash appeared through my closed eyelids.

If I could justify-away the sound of Thunder, his Lightning would pierce my being to ensure his presence was known.

I scurried back to my dreamy denial, trying in vain to seek refuge in the safe depths of where I’d been, where I knew I would not have to be in control of thinking, choosing, feeling or acting.

It is the only place I know where I can rightfully claim no responsibility. No rambling, sped-up legal disclaimer required at the end.

Trespassing allowed.

For a moment, my eyes fluttered open and shut, drifting between the dimensions…

Back to the land of unbridled images, uncaptured prose and personal potential I’ll be hard-pressed to recall or play out in my waking hours. (This, despite the Post-Its & pen kept handy wherever I go).

But Thunder then carefully pressed me again to attend to him. Another unmistakable flash lit up the insides of my eyelids, causing the power to go out in my dreamscape.

Okay, you have my attention again!

I snapped my eyes open a fraction too late; the light was gone. Sight and sound evaporated into the darkness. I was alone again and forced to emerge from my nest and back into the routine of what we purport to be “real life.”

I was left to wonder if Thunder was teasing me, making me think he was there, coming to claim me and my dreams.

Was he just playing, messing with my mind? Did I imagine he played for me that gentle but confirming ballad twice in a row when I was adrift in another land? Or was it real?

(Silly girl, it was for all to hear – how foolish of you to think it was just for you…Will you EVER evolve out of that stage of early adolescence where we believe that all is directed only at us?)

And his accompanying light, so bright it dared infiltrate my senses without my expecting? What power to control me and my innermost being like that!

Before I could mentally pinch myself, a soft but steady rain fell outside, washing away my wonder, forcing me to open my eyes again to another day, a real day, here.

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My mind transitioned from dream to rain-ridden reality with silly alliteration…

Gloopy

Gloppy

Drippy

Droppy

I snuggled myself tighter in the comfort of the arms of this thunderstorm-lullaby in reverse, which softly soothed me in drifting from my alter-universe and into today, and all that it may bring to fuel the dreams of tonight and of nights to come.

My mind drifted at church today as I sneaked a peak through the phallic-shaped windows at the steady, pounding rain and shared the recitation of the Nicene Creed and breaking of bread with other hearty, storm-braving saints.

The blood of Christ washed down into my stomach spreading stinging warmth into my body.

Next on the kneeler I was supposed to be collecting my post-communion thoughts, but my tongue worked at the stray pieces of Christ’s body among my teeth while my untamed mind wandered out to the narthex, where we had all left our dripping umbrellas neatly lined up.

I kneeled but instead of praying, I was wishing I’d taken a picture of the line of umbrellas because they were interesting: big ones, small ones, colorful ones, dark ones; most upright, some askance, one or two keeled over by the weight of the rain they bore. (Dang, will my head every QUIT?!)

But it struck me that they were all assembled together, clearly having been through the storm, drenched but ready to serve, faithfully waiting to be used again for good purpose, even if that means being blown inside-out by an unexpected gust of wind.

Not unlike us…for His good purpose. He’s got us covered, day and night, in dreams, reality and beyond.

Thanks, God, for the sanctity and privacy of the hearts and souls you bless us with, for the wonder of imagination and of reality, the bridging of the two, and for the dimensions you provide beyond our wildest dreams.

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