It is never easy to lose a loved one. It is especially difficult when the loved one is such an extraordinarily loving and gifted man as was my father. Theodoros Antoniou – his given name – was born in the village of Koma tou Yialou, in a part of Cyprus now under Turkish occupation, to Antonios Georgiou and Pezouna Theodorou.
It’s 7:30 in the morning, and I am pulling a shirt over Janneke’s head. Rachel is already in her wheelchair and watching us intently. She’s typically more cooperative with getting dressed, offering me a gentle grin after stretching her long legs.
There. It was just like that; the sky was a bowl above me, and its rim the horizon in every direction. I’d read that line in a book and which book I couldn’t remember, but I must have liked the image because it stuck in my mind and surfaced in that sudden 12-year-old moment when I saw it was true.
The COVID crisis sparks a broad spectrum of emotions for me. Some days I’m faithfully optimistic – trusting God’s promise that he works all things for the good of those who love him. Other times I’m seriously discouraged by the grim statistics, the spectre of the “second wave,” and the ever-changing restrictions and regulations we’re subjected to.
With everything going on in the world today, vacation may either be at the forefront of your thoughts or the farthest thing from your mind. Because, while many provinces are opening up, the pandemic is still present, and – as government officials are quick to remind us – ready to relapse into a second wave should our vigilance falter. And so, many people are torn between the desire to escape to a secret hideaway or continue to hunker down at home.
I love trivia: pub trivia, Jeopardy, trivia board games. So of course I got in on a top trivia trend: HQ Trivia, a smartphone app that draws, at times, more than one million players to live games so they can compete for cash prizes. As the audience grows, the value of the prizes has been growing too. Very few of these players actually win, though.
“We remain in a state of urgent need,” Melanie McLearon of Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexion, an Ontario child welfare agency, told Christian Courier in an interview. “We desperately require new families to care for children.” “While most children in the country are dealing with the frustrations of missing their friends, a hiatus in sports seasons and closed playgrounds, others worry about the very real possibility of homelessness, abuse or neglect,” writes Chris Palusky in Christianity Today. An influx of children in some form of foster or extended family/kinship care is anticipated as the COVID-19 lockdown measures start to ease up.
The stories I grew up with linked oranges with Christmas and chocolate with Holland’s liberation. That smooth, sweet taste triggers memories for many Dutch people who lived to see the arrival of smiling Canadian soldiers and to hear the laughter of free people. What was Liberation in the Netherlands like, 75 years ago? Tiny Bolderheij smiles at the question.
Christmas music fills the air. Lights sparkle on the Christmas trees of in each of the “Drumm girls’” homes. An enormous glass bowl full of fake fruit and vegetables sits in each home – carrots, lemons, metallic cucumbers, carved stone pears, crystal covered apples and more – the collection growing larger with each passing year. Each piece holds a memory. Each piece is a part of a Christmas tradition that began on December 24, 2002. Each piece is a memory of our mother.
Then a new thought comes, and the dogs pause. What if the whole purpose of my life on this planet, the only task of significance I’ve been given, is to make a difference in ONE life?
All of these experiences serve to remind me our anticipation is limited by our human inability to know all and see all. We anticipate what we know. We anticipate what we think we need. We anticipate what we wish.
Aaron and his parents came into the waiting room. All three of them beamed. With a huge smile my son-in-law hugged me and said, “Congratulations! You have a brand new, beautiful baby. . .” (he paused for dramatic effect and I thought I would pass out) “. . .