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Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010


Below is a message I received from a new friend -- one of several good people from all over the world whom I have come to know as a result of correspondences they sent me following the tragedy that took place at the West Nickel Mines Amish schoolhouse in October.

I asked Cea if she would grant me permission to post her letter here, because I believe her words are evidence of both genuine Christian love, and the precious uniting of two hearts that comprehend the true meaning of the celebration of Christmas (I did not express to her those opinions, in those terms, because she is far too humble to listen to, let alone agree with, those sentiments when applied to her own actions and beliefs. :)

Anyway, this is the message I received from Cea a few days ago, in its entirety. Perhaps we all can use it in some entirely personal way, to enrich our own Christmas reflections (I know I did) – by considering thoughts that are, at the same time, sorrow-filled and uplifting ... and so fitting for this most beautiful of seasons:

~ ~ ~


Lately, my free time is directed toward and consumed by caretaking. I am in the process of assisting my mother through the interesting stages of her second childhood and walking methodically with her through the emotional, physical, and spiritual struggles that come when one's body simply wears out.

Every day, she is moving closer and closer to the marvelous dwelling place her Heavenly Father has prepared for her.

As soon as I leave my assigned workstation at the office, I'm off to pick her up from "day-care." She calls our time getting settled in at home "happy hour" and dinner preparation, etc. "mischief making." We've finished putting up our tree and the little manger scene composed of Boyd's Bears. (She found it in one of the antique stores in Old Towne Orange, where we live.)

Christmas at our house is well underway. She, in her very childlike way, is peering into Christmas with such fresh excitement, awe, and wonder. I've caught her rocking in her chair by the tree on an evening saying over and over softly ... "It's amazing, it's amazing God with us."

She can no longer remember the words to familiar Christmas carols but the music itself speaks to her. She quietly hums her own special composition of Silent Night, Away in the Manger, Good Christian Men Rejoice, O Come All Ye Faithful, Jesus Loves Me, and her favorite bits and pieces from The Messiah. She often clearly sings ... "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

She has her own little bridge and goes into singing, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." My favorite of her songs is the chorus, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. Blessing, and honor, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."

So, I may not have a great deal to say about the Christmas Season as I am so caught up in living it with someone very frail. Someone who believes in and rejoices in the miracle of Christmas. She admits openly that she doesn't know a lot any more ... but she does know the Christmas cookies have never tasted sweeter, the lights have never been brighter, the music never more glorious.

I'm living with someone who is, even in a wheelchair, walking by faith, who knows what it is to have a relationship with the person who came into the world as the child in the manger ... whose birth we celebrate.

As I daily walk my mother to the grave, I pity the souls who are trying to drive the Christ child out of our culture, out of our public square, out of our collective consciousness. What will they do when they stand on the edge of eternity ... peering into emptiness ... emptiness that resulted from insisting that we extract this miraculous time of remembering the Christ child from our lives?

What will our culture do when there is no longer the annual call ... the call to come and see ... to come and bow down ... to come and adore ... to recognize with awe and reverence the miracle of God with us?

Pity the man and woman, standing with diminished physical, emotional and spiritual strength facing eternity with such an arrogant heart knowing not the Christ of Christmas.




3timesalady said...

God bless you, Cea!

And thank you, Joanie.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this.

Lori_Gmeiner said...

What a beautiful story, and what a beautiful person and loving daughter you are, Cea!

God bless you and your Mother this Christmas season. May He keep giving you the strength you need to cope with your Mother's failing health.


jim said...

My wife used to visit the elderly in nursing homes around Christmastime. It would always break her heart to see how many of them had no one who cared. They were always so happy to have a visitor.

Your mother is lucky to have a daughter like you who doesn't "put her away" because she is too "inconvenient."

God bless you both as you enjoy the holidays together.

guinevere said...

Such a heartfelt story! You are a good daughter, Cea and your dear mother is blessed to have you to care for her as her life ebbs.

I wish you both a happy Christmas and good fortune in the New Year.

Anonymous said...

Heartbreaking and beautiful.

You are a faithful child, Cea, and your mother is a faith-filled mother.

May you both have a memorable Christmas together as she nears the end of her life.

Anonymous said...

I believe her words are evidence of both genuine Christian love, and the precious uniting of two hearts that comprehend the true meaning of the celebration of Christmas.

Amen to that! Bless you, Cea.

Cea said...

I wish I could thank each of you individually for your kind words and best wishes for a happy Christmas. Our Christmastime was memorable, indeed.

The day before Christmas, I creaked and groaned out of bed in the middle of the night and stumbled down the hall to my mom’s room. I dreaded what I was going to find on the other side of the door as it was obvious from the commotion inside that a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad virus had dropped in. Yikes! At times like this, my selfish heart can take on a harsh and strident tone… ‘Why me, God? This isn’t exactly how I had planned to spend my Christmas’. Sometimes it is difficult to make an unruly heart yield to the real question that needs to be asked, isn’t it? At those moments where attitude is more important than our circumstances it is often difficult to embrace the situation with a humble heart’s cry of ... ‘show me.’ ’God, will you show me?’ Will you show me how to respond to this situation in a kind and loving way? Will you show me how to be creative in the face of obvious disappointment? Will you show me how to nurture my mother’s spirit so that she can celebrate Christmastime fully…even if it must be spent in bed? ‘Will you show me how to turn an illness into a hallowed and gracious time?’

Your wishes for a blessed celebration, indeed came true for me. We spent the day in our new Christmas nightgowns, sipping hot chocolate from Santa mugs, reading our favorite stories from worn out picture books, listening to our favorite portions of Handel’s Messiah over and over…reading aloud together the Christmas story… pondering over the miracle of ‘God with us’. It was a wonderful day where the alchemy of Christmastime transformed the gloom and doom of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad virus.

I hope all of you will have memorable times with dear family and friends this coming New Year.


Anonymous said...

Bless you, Cea. Your heart is certainly in the right place! I wish you and your dear Mother a Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, I have to work at keeping my heart 'in the right place'. Often I have to reflect upon the words of Solomon...'give attention to my words, incline your ears to my sayings, for length of days, and years of life and peace they will give to you. Do not let kindness and truth depart from you. Bind them around your neck and write them on the tablet of your heart.' The other evening, I stuffed a down comforter into the dryer so that it would be pre-heated...nice and toasty. The moon was beginning to rise and I hoped that a little 'moonlight madness' would have a settling, quieting effect on my mom. It was amazing to watch the moonlight slowly illuminate her face and to watch the stressful expression melt into rapturous joy. I have Joanie to thank for the inspiration. Her personal Christmas message was a powerful admonition to me as it urged me to seek a place where I can reflect on majesty, artistry, beauty, and significance that is of an eternal nature. She was right. God is good.

dawn'searlylight said...

Sometimes, I have to work at keeping my heart 'in the right place'.

Cea, from reading this entire essay and the list of comments it sounds to me like you have to work a lot less hard than most of us. You are a good and caring person who wants to please God.

God bless and keep you, Cea.

Anonymous said...

Cea said...
Thank you for the kind thoughts and the invocation of God's blessing on my life. I'm pretty ordinary, really. Life invited me to honor my mother as her 'care-giver'. All I have to do is respond to the invitation to 'mommy the mommy' in a kind and loving way. Sometimes, that decision has to be made moment by moment. Selfishness and resentment are perpetual enemies. However, I know, too, that if I pay close attention, I have the opportunity of seeing God transform this death march with my mother into a miracle...a piece of good fortune, really. It might be easier for some of us to respond to others in a loving way...but it is still hard work. All of us encounter situations that do not automatically bring forth a loving, caring response. However, I am learning, even from my frail mother, that we always have a choice. Every day she powerfully demonstrates that attitude is more important than facts. Attitude is more important than our circumstances, our appearance, our giftedness, or our skills.
May God bless and keep you, too.