Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Duane and the ocean....

Every time I stand looking at the ocean, I think of Duane. I wasn’t there with him when he saw it for the first time, but his brother told me that he just stood there, looking and looking and looking. I wonder what he might have been thinking about. I see him in my mind’s eye, mesmerized. It’s so big. Maybe he was overwhelmed by the bigness, the vastness of it.

Then I imagine him standing there with me, looking at it. I’ll never forget a conversation that he and I had one day about heaven. We were wondering - in fact, we were both beginning to believe, that rather than it being a place “way out there” somewhere, that it just might be….right here (just reach your hand out) within reach….just another realm. So I wonder if he might be right there with me, in that other realm…the one that this realm that we inhabit is merely a shadow of….just on the other side of a veil that I can’t penetrate, where it’s beautiful and perfect and peaceful beyond imagining.
I never get tired of going to the ocean. I think of Duane when I’m there, and I think of Jesus, the One Who created the ocean. I love watching the waves come in and listening to the sound of it. And every time I am on the beach, I think of the phrase “sea billows roll.” I couldn’t remember what song that phrase came from, and it kept going through my mind, so I looked it up online. It’s in two songs - “It is Well With My Soul” talks about “when sorrows like sea billows roll,” and “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.” That one says, "Since Jesus came into my heart, Since Jesus came into my heart; Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll, Since Jesus came into my heart."  I certainly have had "sorrows like sea billows roll," but because Jesus is real in my life, it IS well with my soul.  I sing those songs as I walk the beach.

As I watch the waves roll in, I think of how God’s love is never-ending.  It just keeps coming and coming and coming. It’s endless. His mercy is endless. His grace is endless.  I thank Him for the ocean and all that I see and experience there.  I thank Him for His presence, for His love, for His mercy.  I thank Him for Him.  As a mother, I still wish that Duane was here with us, but since he's not, I'm thankful that he is safe and sound and fulfilled, with Jesus.  I like to imagine him decorating the family mansion with his artwork. 

So as I walk the beach, I sometimes imagine both Jesus and Duane walking with me.  The Bible says of those who know the Lord, that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and it says that He has promised to never leave me - so, if Duane is with Him and He is with me, then....Duane must be with me too.  All of us who miss him can find comfort in that.

Here's Duane when I dropped him off at the airport to go to Florida to visit his brother.  I think he was about twelve or thirteen years old.  I was a little nervous, but I had talked to the airline and was sure they would take good care of him. He had a great time in Florida. 

Did you ever lay on the beach, on your belly, and just dig down in the sand, letting the grains run through your fingers?  I do.  When I do, I think about several Scriptures that mention the grains of sand.  Like God told Abraham that he would have descendants as numerous as the grains of sand.  That's a lot of descendants!!

But my favorite one tells me that God's thoughts toward me are more than the grains of sand.  How amazing is that!

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!  They are innumerable!
I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
Psalm 139:17, 18

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Duane's 9/11 drawing.......

“A sin fell on this country on September 11th, 2001 that shattered a city. A sin that showed its head like an ugly dog. The tragedy that was to break this country united it in a way we had never seen, and strengthened our very foundation. Yet through the smoke and death…..WE STILL STAND."
Duane DuBois 9/15/01”

This was Duane’s interpretation of the terrorist attack on the WTC towers on September 11, 2001, drawn four days after the event.

Different people see different things in works of art. After looking at this drawing for a while, it seems to me that Duane was seeing sin as a living thing - note the letters “SIN” appear to have life; they seem to have bodily qualities. The way he drew the letters reminds me of the phrase “sin crouches at the door," found in Genesis 4, verse 7. Cain was angry in this story, because God was pleased with his brother Abel’s offering of a firstborn animal, but He did not accept Cain’s offering of produce from his farm. God basically asked Cain, “What’s the problem? Why the temper tantrum?” God told Cain that if he did well, he’d be accepted, but if he didn’t, then sin was lying in wait for him, ready to pounce. Apparently Cain knew what kind of offering God had asked for, yet he chose to go his own way and offer produce. God told Cain, “Sin is out to get you - you have to master it.” To personalize it, if I know that God has asked something particular of me, but I think what He asks is too hard and decide to do something easier (even if it’s something “good,” as Cain probably thought his offering was good), then “sin” is waiting to pounce on me, and there may be dire consequences. Cain could have repented, but instead he had angry words with his brother, and killed him. Sin pounced on Cain, Abel lost his life, and Cain ended up being a marked man, a homeless wanderer on Earth.

God personified sin in this passage, and that seems to me, to be what Duane was doing in his drawing. He said “a sin fell” and “reared its head.“ It looks to me like “sin” has fingers and is holding something - is it an explosive device? It looks like there is a figure behind the letters, wearing a hood and a robe or a cloak. The American flag is in the background, behind the towers, flames of destruction are there. Sin pounced on us like an ugly dog. And yet, instead of destroying us, it made us stronger and we still stand.

So that’s the track on which my mind traveled as I pondered Duane’s drawing and his words. What do you see, and what thoughts do you have?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Baby pictures....

I seem to be lacking much inspiration the last few days, so I decided to simply share a few photos from Duane’s infancy in Texas with you…..a few family photos.

Big brothers relaxing with their new sibling. I’d say Duane is about a week old in this one.

My dad, “Poppy” and my mom - Poppy and Grandma Lind. Al and Lois Lind. It was nice to have them with us in Texas for a while. My dad had already retired from his position as the Postmaster in Equinunk, so they were able to travel.


Typical photo of Mom with new baby, about 6 weeks old. As any new mom knows, we catch some zzzzz's whenever we can!

This one cracks me up. Duane might not be too happy with me for showing this one. :-)  He was about six weeks old here. Isn't there an old expression, "Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed?"  How about "Bright-eyed and bushy-haired?"

And here's the sleepy dad with the new baby.

This is a good one of the DuBois men. I was so outnumbered!! It just wasn’t fair, you know?
Grandma Vivian (Mike’s mom) DuBois with Duane. It was great to have her visit us in Texas, too.

I like this one of me and Duane. He’s 3 months old here.


Here's where we start to see an alert, adventurous baby (can't you see adventure in those eyes?). 

So there's a sample of photos from the first three months of the life of Duane David DuBois in Midland, TX.  Perhaps my inspiration is coming now, as I look at these old photos.  A friend of mine recently wrote to me, "Photography is a walking Philippians 4:8."  I had to look that up and think about it.  The Message reads like this:  "Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds with and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious -- the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse."

When you've lived as long as I have (I will never, never, never admit to "old," but I will acknowledge that I have been around a bit longer than some of my readers --*smile*), you've experienced "the good, the bad and the ugly."  The bad and the ugly can make us bitter or better, to use an oft-repeated phrase.  I firmly believe that the choice lies within each one of us, whether to become bitter or better.  If we choose to think on the bad and the ugly, we will become bad and ugly, or bitter.  If we choose to think on the good, we will become better.  So I think what my friend meant was that photos help us to be reminded of the good, the real, the lovely, the just.  When I look at my old family photos, I am reminded of the happy times.  We don't normally photograph the angry times, the sad times, the tragedies, the sicknesses, but only those things that we knew at the time that we would want to remember.  I knew I would want to remember what Duane looked like at birth, at one month, at two months, at three months, and so on.  Even now, when the grandkids are doing something cute (which of course happens every day), I run and grab my camera.  I don't remember nearly as much of the good parts of life that I wish I did (now how I wish I had kept diaries and journals all my life), but I did take a lot of pictures.  And I still do.  And how happy I am that I did, and that I do. 
So, fill your mind with the best, not the worst......
Fill your mind with the beautiful, not the ugly......
Fill your mind with the things to praise, not the things to curse.....
We really do become like that which we behold.