Friday, March 30, 2018

Good... Friday???

The coldness and finality of Crucifixion and the constant reminder of ultimate sacrifice of Christ is visually arresting here in Rockport Cemetery.

As a young person being introduced... and indoctrinated into the Mormon faith which my parents had chosen to embrace... I was left with many unanswered questions about its doctrines and teaching. I must readily admit however, that we were encouraged to ask questions and to speak openly within a group of our elders.

It did disturb me though... even then, that men and women were subdivided and met in separate groups and there were differences in the distribution of power and importance in decision-making.

One of the questions that arose with in me very early centered around the celebration of Easter. I did most certainly understand the weighty consequences of the cruel penalty of the agony and eventual drawn out death suffered by those unfortunates who faced this fate. This led me to always wonder how one could actually consider the dark Friday when Christ faced this ordeal and perished as being in any fashion... "Good"?

Easter as I experienced it and Christian belief played it out was joyful celebration and seemed "out of step" with the dreadful event that had preceded it a scant two days earlier.. Not even in adulthood  was that confusion in my mind's eye of the idea of such a treacherous Friday being in any way "Good".

Here... in my Garden of Hearts gathered to celebrate Allison's continuing presence in my life... this granite heart-shaped stone displays a certain crucifix stance... piercing the cold remainder of winter's snow. Behind it .... the only bit of color emanates from a "Miss Kitty" figure that she jabbed into my garden, teasingly... to offset and chide me for my ongoing complaints about summer "interlopers" who most often have no regard for private property. A reminder of tolerance.

 I decided to give further thought to the notion of today being "Good"... again because I felt no real good today. Two days ago Allison's Mom, Joan, Deb and I went down to the site of the ginkgo tree which had been planted in Allison's memory by her Queen's students.

Joan had picked up some inexpensive Easter eggs to hang on the tree... not being able to see it remain bare. Allie always looked forward to such festivities. She never relinquished that "child within"... and never felt it necessary to hide the fact that she felt comfortable letting her child out to play... in front of anyone.

Deb had spent the whole week and had lovingly crafted seven lovely stained glass eggs to be added to Joan's. That gift lifted every one's spirits to a higher plane... and certainly added unexpected elegance to the decorations. I'm sure... that Allie would have been smiling down upon us.

I did some serious reading to try and find a different perspective about seeing the "Good" in this particular Friday in the face of this gargantuan loss that we as a family have suffered. Strangely... some pieces did fall strangely into place that made some sense. Perhaps... they might as well help some of you to make sense of your own loss... if you too search for peace and solace.

Within the Christian framework... Good Friday does indeed mark the flogging... the agonizing trek of Christ to Calvary... his crucifixion by the Romans on the cross and his lingering death while his loved ones looked on helplessly.

That scenario roughly parallels Allie's ordeal... stretching out over three years and culminating in her eventual death on Wednesday, April 26th... at 7:30 am. Note that the details remain specific.

However, it is at this point that changes occur for me. Her death brought with it an ability to  redeem  myself for the deep and encompassing anger and pain that had totally gripped my consciousness. By seeking therapeutic counsel, I was able to confront these paralyzing feelings that kept me in bondage.

Since achieving this resurrection of my previous positivity... creativity and Joy... even momentarily, I have been able to achieve new meaning in my life and have learned to focus my thoughts and memories upon pleasant moments that she and I spent together.

As well... I can actually feel her presence in the world about me that she and I loved and shared together. We were kindred spirits in life... always. Death has not been able to destroy that connection and bond that we shared as human beings.

My Chicks... feeding chickadees last February at the Cataraqui Conservation Sugar bush. Who'd have guessed this would be our last sugarin' off celebration?

This is a still life using a cup she brought me from Venice... a postcard sent while she worked there and the final roses before the frost. I miss those impromptu gifts and frequent heart gifts that we exchanged!

What I Learned From Searching Out the "Good" in this Friday

Search within and without... for the answers. They are most certainly present in your daily life and treasure trove of pleasant memories. I found my own easy to access and immediate in their therapeutic influence.

Most members of my immediate family have provided immense emotional support. Their support more than compensates for the disappointing actions of others... who for whatever their reasons, have been unable to "be actively present". Perhaps time will change this...

Thank you to the hosts of my friends who stepped up and have supported me... particularly my blogging family members . Your constant presence and encouraging words on this blog continue to inspire my creative spirit. Thank you all!

My books and reading have yielded so many answers... as has music. Throughout my life, I have been able to gain knowledge and direction in my personal and creative lives.This morning, I gained insight into the development of the the actual contents of this lengthy post. I make no apology for its length. In simple truth...I paint and write... always to connect with my Self... and then "You".

In closing, I offer this favourite song of mine... handed to me years ago by my dad. The song has always resonated with a sense of Hope and Faith and the potential... in myself and others to survive... and contribute. It was written by the famous comedic figure Charlie Chaplin... as strange as that might seem. 

What a "chain letter" of Hope.... Charlie... to Nat... to my Dad... to Me... and now... to you! 

Pass it forward!


Happy Easter... to ALL!!... and "Keep smilin! "


  1. Hi Bruce, I'm glad that you are restoring your positive attitude and joy in life. For some reason we tend to take good times for granted, I think, and by choosing to remember them more they can help us to get through the bad times.

    All the best,

  2. Thanks Keith... for your encouraging comments... and continuing supportive presence. Those gifts add strength to one's resolve to recognize the positive and to focus upon it.

    Happy Easter to you and your family!

    Good Painting!

  3. Hi Bruce, another very thought provoking post from you. I didn't realise you were raised a Mormon that must have been interesting. We have a Mormon church in the town near us. I wasn't too sure on the difference between Mormon's and Jehovah Witnesses apart from the fact I believe that Mormons can have several wives. (This must be very expensive in the modern world!) I read a book a few years ago called 'The 19th Wife' which was about a Mormon sect set a century ago in Utah. A very hard life and not much of a life for women who were second class citizens. It must have been a journey for you to embrace modern ideas and having a family close to you on equal terms. I am not sure if the Mormons are so strict these days.
    It is so good to see your positive spirit find a way forward regarding the loss of your beautiful child. Your dear daughter would be so proud of you Bruce. Very best wishes Caroline part of your blogging family!

  4. Good morning Caroline!... Thanks for your comments and observations regarding my last post... thought-provoking indeed!

    My experience within Mormonism in those tender years actually in hindsight... was character-building and not at all as bad as the (obviously) still existent common misinformation about the Latter Day Saint doctrines and practices.

    Polygamy does exist today within a small pocket sect of adherents to practices that are in most states including Utah illegal to practice. I have no intention to dwell upon those aspects Caroline. Back in my younger years I face ridicule and physically hid from acknowledging that I was even aware of Mormonism... or that our family were Mormons.

    Mormonism... to its credit focuses upon family values and worship. I was always invited to express my opinions... even if they challenged "the Faith" ... as mine often did.

    They taught me the value of writing and presenting my own ideas openly.... just as I am doing in this blog today. Back then... they were called "two and a half minute talks". They were opportunities for me to prepare and share a "lesson" for the entire congregation. In point... they molded my habits and my lack of fear in speaking using my own voice.... FREELY!

    Neither I... my family or any member of the wee congregation were ever considered or made to feel that they "were second class citizens." Just the opposite really. I grew up in a very class-conscious and elitist few ran everything in town... at every level of education and in politics. Strangely Lass... they still do... or falsely believe that they can.

    The Mormon women stood by and supported my Mom in her declining years... respecting contributions and Faith until her final end. I shall always be grateful for my Mormon "connection"... and that finally I matured enough to practice the principles that they encouraged me to embrace as a "Free Thinker."

    NO lecture intended here Lass. Your comments were worthy of the space and time I have taken to offer another "two and a half minute talk" to my new gathering of "Brothers and Sisters."

    Isn't that a comforting thought Caroline??? ... "Us" being family!!!

    I wonder...

    Have a great day and thanks again for your encouraging thoughts! Keep 'em coming Lass!

    Have a great day! Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  5. Keep painting and writing - and smiling, Bruce. Not much more to say about this wonderful post but that I read it all, enjoyed it all, and it gave me pause to think, also. Good Friday = perhaps because without that day, there would have been no resurrection and belief in that supreme compassion and saving grace? I was raised Baptist so I seem to remember some things.

  6. Good evening Rhonda!... It gives me great pleasure and purpose to share my thoughts and ideas with kindred spirits like yourself... and our small blogging family circle.

    What your words clearly say and I believe is that all faiths present common principles which one can happily build upon and live out their lives.

    There is a passage from my Mormon past which still clearly resonates in my hope and faith-based philosophy;

    "Where one or more are gathered in my name... there I shall be."

    I feel that strength when I feel alone... or troubled by life.

    Stay your course Rhonda ... you have much to offer through your gift of art and your beautiful spirit.

    Good Painting... and rich blessings!