I wish all of you a joyful 2018, before I forget.
Little things can effect mood swings between joy and sadness. Receiving a smile often makes my day. This week our residents organized a hymn-sing with the help of a professional music director and members of the church of the Nazarene, having us sing Christmas songs not often heard on the media, but known to most, and appreciated by all.
A lady resident who is unable to hear and talk but able to smile and graces us royally with it, wished to partake by performing a Christmas solo! When she stood (smiling) facing us I didn't know what to expect as she had indicated (she writes beautifully) wanting to sing Silent Night.
After a nod of the director she placed a finger over her lips while making a motion of darkness with the other hand, indicating quiet and darkness, and we softly sang
silent night, - not missing a beat her finger pointed upward as we followed with
holy night, - she made the sign of peace followed by a blinding gesture and we gave her
all is calm, all is bright, - then she made as if holding a baby as we we sang
round yon virgin mother and child, - her smile was wide and tender as she faced us
holy infant so tender and mild, - and we answered when she wooed the baby to sleep
sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.
Those few moments of actively helping the lady singing her solo, was one of those rare moments of joy which not only made my day, but I know will be remembered by many as being so special, a joyful moment.
Through google I learned a little about what the the word joy means – great times of pleasure and happiness, delight, sweetness of life, a time of song, smiles, and laugh, and about twenty more, the bible speaks of good tidings of great joy as well.
At the end of this year I feel rich to remember so many people, events, and every-day living which can be characterized as joy, that I feel no longing for heaven.
If the joy I received could be measured in rich food I would be grossly overweight.
Over the past year, which like a shadow raced by, I received so many manifestations of appreciation, love, and goodwill to last me the rest of my life' and leave left-overs.
I received also eye-openers of how unworthy I was at times to receive all that good, as only a couple of days ago I walked behind a woman, who like me came from our 'gymnast class' on the way to the bistro for a coffee. She was unsteady on her feet, and walked very slow ahead of me, while I was impatient for the caffeine.
She did not show up for lunch today and chaplain John announced that she 'had moved to a better place with her lord and Savior,' in other words she had died, and I thought would she have noticed my impatience with her? Was that one of her last memories, and that was not a feeling of joy.
When a person experiences joy, he or she are automatically thankful, and I am thankful to to all people who have helped me in in several ways, like a certain university lady with advice and encouragement too much to describe, and only once criticized my feeble beginnings in writing, which she since has denied as being untrue. I am scared too say 'I love you,' as she has progressed so high in life, but I do love her anyways, and always will appreciate her.
I fondly remember the great times we had with my wife's American cousins. I (think) can taste the home-made ice-cream we liberally absorbed, and was witnessed by Anne's parents, at a time when we were all young.
These were truly joyful times we were having in that great farm house with wall to wall kids and cousins.
In the mean time we have all grown older, and important members of the families, the pioneer arch-fathers passed on while new generations took over, and others were born.
What a joy to still have their memory.
The list of people I owe gratitude too of family and acquaintances is long, as it is of people I met as by accident, like 'ships passing in the night'.
We rush to where we came from, not to return, at least not in this time (I think).
I think of Len, my son, who would have been 56 year old, had he still been alive, but made it to 18 only. He could have been a grandfather, a father, a husband, and still a son, a brother and uncle. What tears have been shed in the almost forty years we have been without him.
I think of my brother Sid, who was the first one of our brothers to explore the mystery of death in this country, and our only sister Aukje, who was the proud mother of five children. Those two where so close one time but now are resting in worlds apart.
I think about my sister in law Tony, leaving a husband and five children, also in a car accident. I think about my parents, whom I owe so very much and have known so little, and wished I would be able to ask them so many questions yet. My in-law parents, who were so different from my own parents but whom I cherished as my own.
When I think of my departed wife Anne I think about the one time in my life that I went on a bus tour to Ouwehands zoo as a five year old, it was one long day of adventure and fun in 1936, when Anne was a cute little one year old baby.
I remember I got a pair of white bread sandwiches with cheese for lunch, not the pre-cut, prepackaged slices of make believe cheese of today, but a generous cut from a whole Gouda cheese, cut by a large lady with a big knife, or by a big lady with a large knife, holding the cheese against her bosom while she cut it.
She put a full slice as big as the plate in between two slices of white bread for lunch and a full glass of orange juice, things I never had tasted before, all because my mother's saved up of coupons obtained from the Spar chain, the rival store of mom and dad.
The sweet lemonade made me throw up, but boy did it taste good while I drank it. If you can still follow me, such was my marriage with Anne, adventurous, daring, unafraid, not one to follow without being sure, we loved, we warred, yet her last words were 'and I love you too', which made me make up my mind not to marry again.
My brother Frank would say - like Chinese food, sweet and sour, but the sweet won out all the time, and words are not strong enough and pages not large enough to describe my thankfulness to have been married to Anne.
Those pictures are a great Christmas present to me. Thank you Norma again for this very valuable gift.
I will quit for now but many more people will be remembered by me shortly – a tall lady in Fryslân / a teacher in Fryslân / a staff member at Menno place / a young lady of over eighty in Fryslân, two in fact / and many more, but for now - HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL !!