Red is for November

Tree of Life (Austrian cross-stitch folk-art)

Tree of Life (Austrian cross-stitch folk-art)

It has been one of those “roller-coaster” months for me, seeming a whole lifetime of profound events crammed into thirty days. It’s been a time of grieving, remembering, rejoicing, recoiling, rethinking, refreshing, repenting, reaffirming.
Here are some of my thoughts.

My November calendar has scarlet outlines, squares marking the life-blood throbbing and oozing through our decades–beginnings and transitions, overlapping marked time with eternity:

  • Remembrance Day–
    • blood-red poppies, everywhere pinned on lapels and wreaths, fastening the battlefield sacrifices onto our nation’s psyche.
    • Stories and histories taking real form – soldiers, (one’s own, and foes, many now friends); civilians and refugees victimized for their views, race, colour, religion, or simply for being in the wrong place; hunger, brutality, fear, and yet courage, gumption, moral fortitude, love, compassion… Same old themes, with new generations caught up in the historical cycles of this world.
  •  a conception announced– a baby’s heartbeat pulsing under a mother’s heart, waiting for time of birth: “Congratulations!”
  • such mothers’ babies, suddenly, so it seems, turned five, thirteen, sixteen, forty-five, seventy–
    and we joyously toast the “baby”: “Happy Birthday!”
  • marriages sustained and strengthened over years or decades, even through heartbreaks, and
    celebrated with blood-red hearts and roses: “Happy Anniversary!”
  • names of souls who were, in our marked time,
    our father, mother, uncle, cousin, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother.
    We grieve our sudden, recent losses– both the confounding, heart-wrenching cancer-induced ones,
    and those soaked in the soothing balm of mercy and peace;
    and note the lingering loneliness, missing those recently and long gone.
  • …and these very souls who are, now and for eternity, beyond the reach of our grief,
    basking in purest Love and Light, all their shortcomings on earth erased by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
    With Christ alive again (seen by hundreds of witnesses, and confirmed by the apostle Paul in many texts, including 1 Corinthians 15:20 (ESV): “But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”), historical realities are confirmed on the spiritual plane, and spiritual realities are manifested on the historical plane.

And so I end with these thoughts expressed during my cancer treatments:

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