Beauty

I do not have an artistic bone in my body.

Not to say that I am not creative in certain ways – but I have no innate ability or trained skill to create things that are stunning to look at or listen to.

But I appreciate the way that music and visual arts can re-present truths to us in new ways, the way that it can inspire new thoughts, new courage, and the way it can bring out deep emotion.

Yesterday we drove nearly all the way across southern British Columbia.  Talk about beauty….  Although somewhat exhausted by the long drive and the heart-in-mouth turns, my soul was so refreshed by a day full of incredible views.

This morning I woke up really early.  I saw the sky just beginning to get light under the moon and stars.  So I took my coffee and blankets, and sat out on the deck and watched as the sun came up over the mountains.  Just, wow.

I didn’t listen to any music for a week or two after Beatrix died – but since I started it has been a great way to process.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Switchfoot/Jon Foreman lately.  I’ve loved their music – it is infused with a view of reality that resonates with me.  A recurring theme is life – really being intentional and present in your days.  This music has inspired me and reminded me that we are “meant to live for so much more” than ordinary existence.  I’m so thankful for the days that we had with Beatrix.  I am so thankful that I didn’t miss them; that we crammed a lot of life and joy into two short years.

I want to share all of my favourite songs with you, but this one has been new to me in the last weeks.

Yesterday as we came through the last mountain pass, I got stuck on the song “Ulysses” by Josh Garrels,  over and over and over, for an hour at least.  And I just cried, all the way down.  The song is so beautiful, and sad, and… hopeful.

Last but not least, this painting, done by my friend Sarah Hall.  A couple nights before Beatrix died, I was walking back to our room, far too late at night.  I walked past this painting, and it spoke to me – so I picked it up from her table and added my name to the IOU list in her cashbox.  I have often felt like this is my life.  Never more so than at this moment, it is an apt picture of our journey.

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Thoughts and “Plans”

Hi.

We want to keep people updated on our process as we travel and (hopefully) heal.  There are so many of you who are very dear to our hearts, that we want to be in conversation with, but face-to-face and phone is so exhausting for me these days; I can only do a very limited amount.  Writing emails and messages is much easier, but the sheer volume is overwhelming.

SO: we are going to use our blog to communicate generally about our process.  A few things we would like to set as general principles as we start:

This is a tool for us to communicate.  Facebook continues to remind me that people who are not my “friends” have commented on our posts. dance emailWe have our privacy settings that way on purpose, and we don’t post anything online that we wouldn’t want anyone to see or know about.  We consider it fair game for conversation, online or offline.  Questions or comments are expected and welcome.  Sometimes people will ask questions in a public forum that I choose to answer in a private email (for example, what’s your mailing address?), so if there are comments that it seems we did not respond to, that is not necessarily the case.

Its mostly me (Amanda) writing.  I don’t always speak for both of us, but Mike sees and OK’s nearly everything I post online in normal circumstances – all the more so in this vulnerable time.

Regarding the specifics of Beatrix’s death: I’m finding that discussing the specific circumstances is not helpful, so beyond my original Facebook post, I don’t want to talk about it.

The video of Beatrix’s funeral is available here, if you haven’t seen it and would like to.  It was a really beautiful service, and we are so thankful to the people who helped us celebrate and mourn.  We are also thankful to be able to have it online for many who couldn’t be physically present.

In addition to grieving Beatrix’s death, we are also experiencing fairly significant culture shock, so some of the strange things we may do or say are also a result of the fact that we haven’t been engaged in Canadian culture for five years.

We are going to be asking for your support and advice on some specific things in the months to come, and will primarily use this as a tool for that.  Please feel free to engage, but no pressure if you just want to read.

 

We have some friends in the Vancouver area who are going to be away from their house until the end of October.  They have graciously offered theirtherapy mountains home to us for as long as we want to be there.  We will be heading there soon (highway fire closures permitting), and are going to be considering that our home base for the next few months.  There are a few reasons for this – one is that we have good relationships with people in the area.  Another is the geography and weather.  I’m aware that being outside in beautiful spaces is always important for my well-being, and being outside, in real nature, is something I would categorize as a need right now.  The image above is a little tongue-in-cheek, because another reason we are headed to Vancouver is that we want to seek some professional counselling, and have been advised that sooner is better.  Being near a larger centre gives us counselling options that we might not have access to in a smaller town.

We’re not making any long-term plans for the moment.  We are thankful that we have the luxury of taking time to pray, consider, listen, and heal a bit before we need to do that.  Our initial thought is that, after a few months, we will be able to decide on somewhere to be, with something to “do” for the next year or two, before we make any more permanent decisions about what to do with the rest of our lives.  The where and the how may change, but we expect that we will stay in missions in some way, and we will stay true to our vision statement.

We are incredibly rich in “relational resources.”  We have many people in our lives who are wise, capable, and caring.  But knowing that, everyone could be assuming that someone else is looking out for us, or wondering if we are just floundering alone.  There is a small team of YWAM leaders (and friends) who are committed to walk this through with us.  These are people we have good relationships with, whom we trust to advise us, and who each have long experience of walking with different people through difficult circumstances.  Mike & I are so thankful for the care and support they have shown us through the last weeks, and for their willingness to help us in various ways as we look at the future.