Through Another’s Eyes

looking_backDear readers…it’s been awhile. A long while. It seems that I am inspired to write on the road…less so when I’m home.

 

But I received this from a reader recently, Cecile, who I have never met. She began following my journey several years back. My life looks a whole lot different than it did four years ago, and although I know deep down that I have made much progress in so many ways, day to day the evolution feels tiny, incremental. I found her note to be very powerful because it summarizes my journey quite succinctly. And although I try to remain present and forward looking, it reminds me of the critical importance of occasionally looking back and tracking my journey over longer periods, with a view to recognizing and celebrating the key milestones along the path that have led to growth. Sometimes it takes someone else with an objective perspective to help you see them. Thank you Cissy for this incredible gift that you have given me.

 

A few years back, I found out that our whole lives we’d been lied to and deceived, and that lots of unnecessary lives had been lost, and more were being sacrificed. There was so much confusion and sadness in my heart, and all the animals were suffering more and more, and it continues to this day.

 

But one day, I found this website called Tiny Buddha. All the writers there were great, but one stood out to me. His name was Jonathan, just like my own little brother Jon who is lost to me now. So I really began to pay attention to all that he was trying to teach, and little by little the crazy chaos in my head and in my heart started to click, and the brain cells started holding hands again.

 

And so one day the brave and good man did go to Africa, far from home he went, to help the children there. And I followed him closely. He didn’t know me, but I left comments and I continued to learn. Then when he came back home, things had changed, and he had to face some harsh truths that would have broken any good man.

 

But my friend Jonathan hit the slopes when the powder was right, and he shared his pics and his fun. That old dude sings a mean song too, has his own band, and he’s just as cute as they come. Pure goodness and love this one. Tonight he sneaks in the back door in his own endearing way with a modest FB post to get our attention again.

 

He hasn’t lost his MOJO, that’s for sure. Love you Mr. Lareau! P E A CE buddy!–Cissy

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Two True Gifts of Christmas

imageThe best part of the Christmas season for me are those unexpected gifts of goodness, insight, connection, and light that sometimes come our way. They are gifts of magic. And they are all around us, when we are open to receiving them. Here are two from my world that may lift you up.

The first story is about Sister Lorraine Malo, a beautiful woman I have known for many years who died in June at the age of 76. She was born in 1936, and entered religious life in 1955 at the age 19. She was a woman of unshakeable faith, who lived through unspeakable horrors, and yet spent her life serving others–always smiling, always hopeful. For most of the last 10 years, she helped orphaned and very sick children in Haiti–befriending them, teaching them, consoling them, and playing with them. I just found out recently that she had died, and it made me very sad.image

On my way out of Toronto last week, I stopped in at the Sisters of St Joseph to make a donation towards the work she started in Haiti. I also hoped to speak to a sister who knew Sister Lorraine, and was with her at the end. And as luck would have it, I ended up having a very emotional chat with Sister Pat Boucher who shared with me some of the final days, moments, and memories with her. We both cried. Towards the end I noted that Sister Lorraine died just a few days shy of her 77th birthday. Sister Pat had asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday about two weeks prior to that.

Sister Lorraine said: “there is nothing to plan for me, Sister Pat…because I will be in heaven.”

If anyone deserves to be there, it is surely Sister Lorraine. And I have absolutely no doubt that she is there now, watching over all the souls she touched.

The second story happened just this past week. I stopped by to say hi to the Wongs, my next door neighbours for 15 years. I usually pop in once a year since since I moved away in 2008. Mr. and Mrs. Wong don’t speak English very well, but somehow we manage to communicate, at least superficially. Mrs. Wong and I had never shared more than a brief hug, but on this day, it was very different.

Mrs. Wong asked me for my address. I tried to explain that I don’t really have an official home address right now, following the profoundly painful experience earlier this year of separating from my wife. She locked onto my eyes and started crying. Then she held my hand, grabbed my arm, and tried to explain to me that her son was going through a similar experience, and how worried she was about him and her five-year-old granddaughter. I shared with her some thoughts on how I am somehow getting through this, and how important her family’s support and the support of her son’s friends would be over the coming months. She told me to be strong and to never doubt my goodness. And for the next 20 minutes or so she held onto me tightly and did not let go. She never stopped looking in my eyes.

It was an extended moment of very close, intense physical and emotional connection that I have very rarely felt in my life, in particular from a relative stranger. We locked onto each other, and somehow in those moments, we gave each other the gift of comfort.

“It is only in love that the human heart is happy and in loving action that fulfillment and peace reside.”–Sister Lorraine Malo