As I was looking for a particular picture of Lake Maud, I found this one instead.......
In the back on the left, is my sister Julie. Next to her is my cousin Corrine, and I am in the front left and my cousin Thora Lee is the front right. A picture of sisters, sharing time at Lake Maud. I really did not remember that I had this picture and it was very important that I happened to find this picture today. We got word last week that my cousin Corrine had died very unexpectedly. She was a widow and never had any children. She lived in Tucson, Arizona. It was very sad to think about her being all alone when she died. Believe it or not, I think I actually remember this particular day that the picture was taken. It was the last time that my Uncle Walfred (Corrine and Thora Lee's dad) was ever at the lake. He was not well, but my dad drove to their house and brought them down for a picnic. I remember that Uncle Walfred sat in a lawn chair through the entire event. But it was actually the first time I remember seeing him NOT laying on the couch in their living room. Unfortunately, he died during that next year. My cousin Thora Lee is the closest to me in age of any of my first cousins. She is two years older than me, and we spent many days together when we were at the lake. I was remembering that the last time I saw Corrine was at my dad's funeral in 1985. It is really a sad thing that time passes and you don't make it a priority to see those relatives that you spent so much time with as children. Now, back to Lake Maud.....
I was thinking about one particular summer. I'm not exactly sure how old I was, but I believe I was in early junior high. My dad was putting "Knotty Pine" paneling on the walls of the cabin.....(one of his usual "projects" of the year). That year was unusually hot. I remember watching the sweat just pour off of my mom and dad as they cut board after board to be nailed up on those walls. There was not a breath of air movement and all we had was one small (very old) fan. And we had several really awful storms during that year. For northern Minnesota, this was very strange. It was in the high 90's and I remember one day even went above 100. Yes, it was a very odd weather summer.
I really believe that the reason that I thought of Lake Maud today, was so that I could find this picture. I have been thinking so much about my cousin Corrine and also Thora Lee, who lost her sister. My ability to relate to situations of grief and loss has certainly changed. It is not so easy to just pass over these events. It is good to enter into the feelings and memories.
So I just took a minute and looked at that picture a bit closer. I loved that amazing Juniper bush that we are standing by. It was the centerpiece of the large front yard. My mom loved that bush! And here is a funny thing.........Bath and Body Works sells a shower gel with the fragrance "Juniper Breeze". Whenever I have that gel in my shower, as soon as it hits the hot water, I can close my eyes and feel like I am standing in that spot - just like in this picture - smelling that Juniper bush! I spent so many hours sitting in a lawn chair, right by that bush. Ah..... Lake Maud. How I miss you!
Yes, the weather today reminded me of Lake Maud, which reminded me of my cousin Corrine, which led me to a time of grief and sadness, which turned into another memory of Lake Maud, which left me with a warm, wonderful good feeling, and then a bit of sadness and missing. What a mix of stuff! And a mix of emotions. In this short, little blog I have remembered, grieved, regretted, recalled, celebrated, smiled and cried. It's been quite a day and quite a blog. But after it all, I just feel calm and peaceful. It is such an amazing thing to walk through memories when you are LED there by Jesus. When the Spirit is nudging you along a path it is so much easier to walk through all of the stuff - good and bad. Because when you get to the end.... you always end up in a place where you know that Jesus had a plan and purpose for the entire thing. Knowing he is leading lets you just relax and let it all unfold before you. This whole thing today just fills me with overflowing hope. Hope because no matter how I am feeling right now, Jesus is leading me to a new place.
Thank you Jesus for using the weather and the "wrong" picture to bring me into and through memories, grief, sadness and into peace and hope. You are such an amazing and loving God that knows us and cares so much about all aspects of our lives. Holy Spirit, help us all to move through these emotions and draw us along so that we don't get stuck in one place. Thank you Jesus for your plan and destiny for each of us. Amen