I love back to school time of year for many reasons. I have been called an office supply/school supply hoarder. I am no longer allowed to go in to the office supply store alone this time of year. I never outgrew my excitement for buying new pens, pencils, notebooks and other stationary paraphernalia. The scent of the paper and ink sends my pulse racing. I am not alone in this obsession. Admit it, some of you can relate to my secret stash of pencils that I do not share and the stash of pens that I will loan with the understanding that if it isn’t returned the borrower will pay the price with their first born or a pound of flesh. Oh come on! Those are my good pens, y’all.
I like this time of year for the memories of the promise of new friendships. Many of my lasting relationships started during the first few weeks of school. On my Facebook friends list you will see my best friends from middle school and high school. I even married one.
As you send your kids off to school this month, remind them about the important stuff. Remind them to stay safe the world is an ugly place. Encourage them to make new friends and keep the good ones they have. Tell them that the friends they meet now are the ones that will love them the longest, disappoint them the worst and beak their hearts the hardest. Every bit of love, disappointment and heartache is worth it. Tell them to yell the loudest at the pep rallies, eat the pizza in the cafeteria, get all those crazy people to sign their yearbooks, and pay attention in class. Give them a camera, preferably one of those New Retro Polaroids. Encourage them to take thousands of pictures. The snapshots they take now will be gold to them in twenty years or less.
Remind them that all the stuff that seems so important right now should be put to the test, will it matter for my future? No, then let it go. Yes, then give it the attention it deserves. Make them read, read and read some more.
Most importantly impress upon them that no matter what happens this school year, no matter what people think or say, they are special, important and unique.
Happy Mother’s Day
Well met to all of you who came out to the Gulf Coast Ren Faire! The O’Gara’s had a grand time meeting all of you.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
The O’Gara Clan
In his famous poem about death, Henry Scott Holland wrote,
“Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.”
Death is just a change in being and a slight change in location. There is no such thing as an after life, it is a continuation of life in a different dimension. Heaven and hell is closer that what you know. It is presumed that when a person dies that it is the physical condition that is responsible, but it is actually the reverse. The soul of the person leaves the body first and then the body, which cannot continue without it expires. Where does that soul go?
The Bible mentions that there is a veil separating the earthly world from the spiritual one. It was witnessed by the disciples when Jesus went on the mount to have a conversation with Moses and Elijah. Elijah and Moses existed on earth 546 years apart, they met in heaven. Since the two men were already dead, Jesus transformed himself in to his spiritual form to meet with them. (Luke 9) Various people have been said to have entered heaven while still alive, including Enoch, Elijah and Jesus himself, after his resurrection. Thus death is not a permanent state, but a shifted state of life.
There are countless stories of humans seeing their relatives who have passed on as if they were sitting in front of them alive. Ask one of those people and they will tell you in no uncertain terms that heaven is a real place that is close. It is not some place above our heads and hell is not in the ground.
If death is just a different state of being, why then do we grieve when a loved one passes through that door? We should celebrate their transition. What we grieve is not what the person is gaining, what we grieve is our loss of them. We can’t see past our own sadness and selfish want to keep them with us. We should try to remember, they are close by, just in the other room. If we could move the veil, we would see them.
As I write this my family is keeping vigil over my grandmother. She was one of the major influences in my life who taught me about love, God and Jesus. She said to me, “Don’t be sad when someone dies. Be happy. Even the angels rejoice when someone dies.” She taught me that heaven is my true home. Not this earthly realm of pain and sorrow. She and my other grandparents, made it a priority to teach me about spiritual things. They also encouraged me to keep studying truth. A legacy I am passing on to my children and grandchildren.
I am sad that I can’t be with her as she takes the journey home, however, I know where she is headed I will be there too one day. I will hold on to the memories of her, not the sick and old her, but the vibrant, Jesus loving her. I will continue to honor her memory by loving God and seeking truth. When she passes on to heaven, I will try to be happy and rejoice with the angels that she is with Jesus who she loves more than life and more than all of us, and she loves us a lot.
Thinking about the Christmas wrapping, shopping, and decorating, it hit me. All the stuff that I call traditions and all the seasonal necessities that I think we need are so not necessary. Christmas is about the family that I shop, decorate, wrap, and do the traditions for to try to please. Will my family love me less if I do not go all out for them at Christmas? No, they love me either way.
We are told through media, peer pressure, and social expectations that Christmas would not be special if we do not give our family all the things they want. We believe that Christmas will not be memorable if we do not max out our credit cards on the latest gadgets and greatest toys. This lie that the retail giants of the world want us to believe is fatal and tragic. It most certainly is NOT Christmas.
We have been told over again in all those mushy Christmas specials, Christmas is about loving each other. Christmas is not about stuff. The meaning behind the gifts is important. It does not matter if the gifts are the latest must have or a handmade creation. It is the love that you show that family while sitting around that decorated tree. Once we take this truth to heart, Christmas will be special and memorable.
This year Christmas will be different. Christmas will be about love.