when we were young…

writing with passion, living with vision and acting with intention

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Flipping ‘the bird’

I saw a woman flip a guy in a car the bird today.

The driver had his nose out as he was attempting to pull out from a parking lot into traffic.

The bird flipping woman stopped abruptly in front of his car, indignant that he was blocking the sidewalk. After giving him a piece of her mind with wild hand gestures, she turned on her heel and marched off with said arm and finger extended behind her.

She had a young girl with her, presumably her daughter.

My initial reaction was rather harsh – terrible behaviour to be displaying to her daughter. This is why we have kids who treat their peers with less respect than they show their pet. She is what is part of what is wrong with our society.

I’m a privileged woman. I have beautiful people in my life who inspire me with their grace, compassion and love. My twenties ushered forth people who have helped, supported, loved me at every turn. The times in my life where I have been met with criticism, mocking and judgement, I have been more likely to feel embittered, angry and resentful. Not exactly the building blocks of change and transformation.

I am a product of what has been imparted to me. The angry woman I saw today – obviously not one of her better days. But maybe it hasn’t been a kind life either. I’m not making excuses for her behaviour, we all have the choice to be an ass or have some class. I have just come to realize that some of us have a steeper mountain to climb than others. I don’t want to be a part of what hinders another person’s journey by the spirit of judgement that is so willing to ascend its lofty throne whenever presented the opportunity.




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The gift of transient friendships

As a little child, I understood that friendship should be a permanent thing. We are friends now and forever shall be.

Into my teens, best friends came in and out of my life. That process of redefining the place of friends in my life has shaped how I view friendship now as an adult.

I know many people who have their life-long friends whom they have been close with since the beginning. I always longed for that but the continuous eb and flow of who was/were my best friends has predominated. It’s not to say that I don’t still stay in touch with some long-time friends but the season of close comradery has since passed.

I once considered this a shortcoming; I now see it as a gift.

I am a very open person – it doesn’t take years for friends to see me for who I am at the core of my being: faults, ticks and quirks. I embrace diversity in the people whom I draw close. For that reason, ‘best friends’ is a relative term. My best friend two years ago is not the same one from five years ago. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to invest time into building a bond with many different people, even though there eventually comes a day, a chapter of life where paths diverge and even goodbyes are said.

Living where I do, in a small coastal community, I have already said goodbye (not always in a permanent sense) to several dear friends who have moved away.

Very soon, I will again say goodbye again to two very beautiful women in my life as they move also.  I honestly don’t know when I will see them next as they are moving a good distance away. I wish they could stay near – that our children could grow up together, that our friendships would deepen and we would build a history and the ease that long-time friendship provides.

At the same time, I feel so richly blessed to have had these woman in my life these past three years. They have encouraged and inspired me as a parent, as a partner to my husband and as a woman in a world of people needing love at every turn. I can honestly say that their friendship has left a permanent imprint on the woman I am continuing to grow and be.

It brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat to think about the day that I won’t be able to text or call to invite them over or make plans. But I know that if I had my go-to, long-time established “besties,” I might not have had the time or need to open my heart and benefit from the time spent sharing the daily routines, challenges, philosophies, joys, and ironies of our days.

The world is brimming with so many beautiful souls – I am a happier person for every one who has imparted to me their best. As the door opens wide for new friendships, I carry along the long lasting impressions of women who have touched my life.

brothers, friendship, always, love, together


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Why we all need Easter

Two Years Without Ariel and How I Go On.
By Cindy Olsen

There are over seven billion people in this world, and yet so often I feel lonely. When Ariel was travelling in Mexico, or Ecuador, or England, I missed her. But I felt her presence on this earth. If I spent the rest of my life searching the four corners of the world, I would not find her. She is gone and I am lonely for her.

Please don’t tell me I have my memories of her because memories don’t suffice. Neither do pictures, nor her sweatshirts, nor her boots that I wear. I am lonely for her physical presence; her scowling during year end finals, her laughing when I did or said something silly, her hugs, her standing in our living room with her weight on one leg so she could use the other foot to maneuver a soccer ball in such a way that it looked like she was creating a dance. I am lonely for her – the mind, body and soul that was Ariel.

And yet, I go on.

There are three reasons I go on – a trinity of sorts. This trinity is made up of myself, my neighbours, and God.

I will start with myself because I knew pretty quickly that I needed to make a choice. Every morning I woke up with a groan. Every morning Ariel was still gone and I had to live another day without her and with the incredible emotional, spiritual and physical pain that caused. But every day I woke up. This pain that was so unbearable, was not going to actually kill me. Whether I liked it or not, whether or not I liked the circumstances of my life, life was going to continue. I needed to choose how I was going to live in this world without Ariel.

I could have chosen to fade away. Not to die, but to become (or stay) broken, less then myself, uninvolved, bitter, depressed, angry, sick. I could have become a worry and a burden to my husband, daughter, my son-in-law and grandsons, daughter-like nieces, sister, family and friends.
But they were already reeling from the loss of Ariel. I couldn’t do that to them. Because you see, I love them so much too; especially Ariel’s sister. I never want my Alysse to think that I love Ariel more then her. I love them equally.

So I chose to participate in life again.

Another reason I chose to participate is because even in my darkest depths I was aware that I am not the only person in this world suffering a traumatic loss. I thought of my grandmother who had three of her four children die before her. At Ariel’s service there were at least four sets of parents who had lost children. And one couple did not know that in two weeks time two of their sons would also be gone. Life is not fair for many people, not just me. I felt that choosing to participate in life again, was a way to acknowledge the suffering of others.

So I made this choice. But choosing to participate in life and actually doing it are two different things. I couldn’t do it by myself.

That is where you come in – “my neighbours” – the second member of this trinity. I define my neighbour as anyone other then me. It is you who did the hard work to help me live out my choice.

It is Randi and Mary who cooked and cleaned, got me dressed, did our laundry, did paperwork, made phone calls, and never left me alone. And they did this for weeks. It is my husband who has been patient and caring. It is Alysse sending pictures of the boys and coming down to visit more then normal. It is Menno and Arie just being their sweet selves. It is Taylor, Rudi and Bailey constantly phoning and visiting and keeping me company. The Ens family, Sammarco’s, Samuels, my parents and too many more to mention.

It is the cards, and meals, roses, orchids, hydrangeas, soups and pies that you all dropped off. It is the cherry blossom trees you planted. It is the ornaments, “likes” on facebook, words of encouragement, Pandora charms, necklaces and gifts for my grandsons. It is the photo album, books and poems. The box of notes and treasures from Nottingham.

It is Ariel’s friends, near and far – who showed compassion and maturity beyond their years. Coming to Ariel’s Amazing Race.

It is Ariel’s bench.

It is my faith community – family actually. Hundreds of people showing me love, crying with me, giving me space when I needed it, helping out.
Today and every day, I am thankful for my neighbours. I go on because of the overwhelming outpouring of love from all of you, my dear neighbours whom I love back.

Love. It is love that brings us to God. He completes this special trinity.
In the first few months, I showed no love towards God. I swore at Him, shook my fists at him, and stamped my feet. In anger I turned my back on him and even questioned His existence; which made me question the meaning of life. I asked hard questions. And I have processed those questions. I have talked with people and read a lot and reflected. I have worked hard. I’ve prayed. And in time, I turned back to Him. My anger turned to an even deeper understanding and stronger faith.

I go on because of my faith in Jesus. I believe that there is a beautiful, mysterious, magical, spiritual truth to our lives that is bigger then our physical death. I believe that Ariel is gone from this world and a part of me will always be sad. But I also believe that she now lives in Gods presence, where she is meant to be – where we are all meant to be and in that I have peace.

I am thankful for being able to make the choice that I did. I am thankful for you, the people whom I love and hold dear; who loved and cared for me so greatly that my only response was to get out of bed, get dressed and put one foot in front of the other. And I am thankful and praise God for creating us; for creating Ariel. I am thankful that he loves us so much that he wants us to live with him for all eternity. I am thankful that He made that happen. Because of Jesus, light wins, life wins, love wins.

I go on because I believe with all my heart and soul and mind that Ariel goes on….and that more than suffices.

Wishing you all a Happy Easter this April 20th,2014.

Dedicated to my husband who journeys with me.


These words were re-blogged with permission from the woman who wrote them – a lady with whom I used to attend church.