Categories
Be The Best.

Good Grief – v2

One of the most read blog posts over the years was about Charlie Brown and that other Charlie, Charles Dickens. I reread that blog post recently almost 10 years to the day it was written. All of it true in 2020. The massive UPS and DOWNS we are all feeling through COVID are very similar to the feelings of loss. Is grief good? No – it sucks, just to be clear. However grief doesn’t exist if a deep love didn’t exist first. Here’s a reproduction of that post:

I was thinking about Charlie Brown today.  Not really about Snoopy or Lucy or that piano dude…remember?  Schroeder. I was remembering one of Charlie Brown’s catch phrases….’good grief’.  After my extensive (4 minute) search on the history of ‘good grief’ I found….not much.  A euphemism for “Good God”, dating back to the 1900’s and of course an ‘Arrested Development’ TV episode from 2004?

I also thought about this quote…ok, you Grade 11 and 12’s…you should know this one.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way..

Got it?  Yes, that Charles Dickens from A Tale of Two Cities.  Sure, that was written in the 1800’s, but it is a pretty accurate description of grief I think.  I’ve seen a lot about stages of grief and I’m sure that is probably true, but right now it is more like a pretty big yo-yo.  You go up and down between the extremes of the ‘best of times’ remembering, laughing, joking, smiling and dive down to the ‘worst of times’, missing, aching, dreaming of the missed future etc.

Good Grief? Maybe that Charlie Brown was a lot smarter than I ever thought…but I think Lucy knew that all along.

Categories
Be The Best.

The Commencement – Part 2

So it’s Saturday.  The trauma and drama of the cross is behind us, but now what?  Historical accounts indicate a lot of second guessing and doubting about what the future would be without the Son of Man around physically.  Sort of like living in a suspended state.

We know what Saturday is like.  That’s where you live for a long long time.

But Sunday’s coming.

Quite literally as I type this, our dear friends, the Funks, who stood by us like soldiers for weeks and weeks, are in a suspended animation state with their family, specifically, their daughter Jessica (20).

As you read this, please offer a thot and prayer for her as she fights a flu-like infection that has forced her into a stable but critical state in a Vancouver area hospital.

As a group, we didn’t need any more lessons about how precious life was, but we got one anyways.

When it’s Saturday you think…did that thing just happen?  to us?  really?

Did we just lose Chris? really?

You can’t comprehend for a long time what actually happened.

Saturday is a day where those thoughts can come and topple you over.

I don’t know if you remember the blog post back about a year or so ago how astronauts (and others) are trained to compartmentalize their grief and emotions.  That’s the only way they can make it through traumatic situations and still land the plane, save people from burning buildings, deal with trauma etc.  You can read that post here.

I was also struck by the psychology professor commenting on the story indicating that compartmentalization makes sense but it can have severe impacts as well.  In other words you can’t compartmentalize forever.

So…what does that mean?  Saturday is a time when the doubts and questions come…you MUST compartmentalize to keep working, living and moving ahead BUT (and it’s a big BUT – insert your own joke here), if you only compartmentalize, you will pay a HUGE price.

Saturday is also for doubting.

Saturday is also for questioning.

Saturday is for being angry and confused.

Saturday is for letting those thoughts come to the door, you answer, chat a minute or two and then close the door.

That’s why there is a Saturday.

But Sunday’s coming.

To conclude, the blog post I wrote this past Christmas about Bob Ross the painter, has really stuck with me for months.  He’s that quirky public television personality with a cult-like-following who always looked like he destroyed his painting about 3/4 of the way through…only to have the final image always blow you away.  You can read that post here.

What’s the point you say?  Early on in our Saturday, the questions outweighed the answers, the pain outweighed any positive feelings of the future and I couldn’t understand how any pieces fit together.

I still don’t, actually, but I do know this.

The Joy of Painting
The Joy of Painting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe very strongly that we ARE part of a larger painting.  We don’t understand all the Master Painter does or is doing.  PERSPECTIVE is a thing that is not quite available on Saturday, but even as Satur-day turns into Saturday-night, that perspective grows.

And I know one thing…Sunday’s coming.

Categories
Be The Best.

Prime Time for Prime Rib

Tonight we had prime rib.

It was Chris’ favourite.

Prime rib at the Keg was a right of passage.  We always loved it.

Tonight for the Medema Christmas I smoked a prime rib.

It cooked for 7 hours and every time I went outside to check on it I thought of Chris.

As the prime rib readied itself for the first slice I thought of Chris.

He would have absolutely loved this meal and I thought of him the whole night.

I know he was right here with us, but I’m guessing the Prime Rib is even just a little better at the Keg in the Clouds…although he really would have liked this tonight!

Here’s a little vid of the action.  For all you techies, shot totally on the iPad2 with iMovie.

Have a great Christmas everyone.

Categories
Be The Best.

Kick that.

The Karate Kid
Image via Wikipedia

Have you seen that Karate Kid movie?

I haven’t…but I watched a preview, read a review and someone talked to me about it so I pretty much have…

I did see the first generation of films in the 80’s, and I know the 2010 film garnered a lot of solid positive reviews.

It was watching the preview bits on a Blue-Ray disc though that really caught my eye and ear.

The Mr. Han character (the amazing Jackie Chan) states ‘Life will knock us down, but we can choose whether or not to stand back up.’

You can see it here at about 49 seconds in.

Life will knock us down…but we can CHOOSE to get back up.

There’s that word again!!

During a week like this where for whatever reasons the feelings of loss are amplified, we continue to choose.

Rock your weekend.

Categories
Be The Best.

Hope is an action word.

What is hope?

It’s a noun.

It’s a verb.

It’s actually both.

That being said, any way you use it, I’ll argue that hope is an action word.

What do I mean?

Hope may be a state of mind or the expression of a state of being but when hope is combined with action…it truly is an action word.  I hope for a great future.  How am I making that future happen?

This past weekend, a trail on private land was dedicated to Chris’ memory.

The name of the trail…Hope Trail.

Totally love it.

Chris’ story is one of sadness sure…but it is also oozing with hope.

This trail leading down from a beautiful Valley property to the river below is not for the timid.  It’s a tough trail fit for a hard training athlete doing the equivalent of bleacher runs as Chris would do many times.

What is hope?  Hope is a massive tree crashing down in a windstorm and then the thought, desire and action to cut the barrier in pieces to get the trail through.  Hope is not seeing a cliff, but seeing a trail…

Steve addresses the assembled at the trail dedication...(ok, I think he was telling a joke)

Hope Trail.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Many thanks to Steve and Evy Klassen (Steve spoke at Chris’ funeral) and their family for this amazing remembrance for Chris.

Be The Best!

Categories
Be The Best.

An intro to two.

I’m going to intro you to a couple of people that I don’t know.

But..with the world of social media, the web CAN be an amazing place to connect on the journey of the new normal.

The first is Steve Ewen.

I’ve never met him.

He’s a reporter with the Vancouver Province and he’s battling cancer.  It’s a tough battle.  He’s called his blog, ‘I’m sad and mad about getting cancer’.  Actually no…he hasn’t.  His blog is called, Crush the Tumour with Humour.

It’s some amazing stories of someone going through a very tough fight but remaining positive and using humour to negotiate the new normal he and his wife find themselves living.  If I can figure it out, I’ll add it to my ‘links’ section, but here’s a quick direct link if you want to check it out.  Here’s an excerpt from today:

The bad news is that the new stitches in my back has led to our surgeon, Dr. Robert Lee, limiting my arm movements for the next two weeks. The really bad news, at least for the people at G.F. Strong and the general public around King Ed and Laurel in Vancouver, is that they’ve given me a power wheelchair.
Oh. Mercy. Think of the havoc I can cause with a motor and wheels?

Keep rockin it Steve!

The second link is from Gillian Berg, the Mission mom who lost her husband and father of their four children at Christmas.  Her writing is deep, spiritual and an amazing work of strength and vulnerability rolled into one.  An excerpt from her latest:

Last night, as my daughter asked for help, begged for prayers that would take her fear away, the fear that something else might happen, the fear that she is still in danger, I realized again that like the work needed to heal the physical wounds, there was going to be gruelling work needed to heal the emotional ones.

We, each one of us, will have to choose to stand slowly, painfully upon the limbs of our broken dreams; to endure the attacks of relentless discouragement of working towards something new; to fight for something better, something healthier.

To Steve and Gillian I would say, we all haven’t chosen our situations.  It happened.  Life happens. There is no big answer to the ‘why’ question….at least not one that may be evident in this lifetime.  We”ll simply stand with you on your journey of the new normal as so many have and are standing with us.  This is a link to the first time the term ‘the new normal’ entered our lexicon.  It’s been a fixture ever since.

Categories
Be The Best.

Seeing through listening.

I had a very unique experience on Saturday.

AC (Auntie Cathy, aka Cathy AJ Hardy) was in the remote Mission studio of Philip Janz doing some vocal tracks for her upcoming release.

She invited me to drop by and Philip was gracious to let me take a few pics  and shoot a little vid.

Philip is a very accomplished musician and producer in the gospel genre and beyond with awards he probably won’t tell you about, but you can read about them on the web!

I love music and the process of creating.

What makes Philip so unique is the ability to really understand music from a musical perspective and also be a technical master.  Watching him work was very interesting.  He was a blend of technician, music coach, manager and orchestra leader.  He knew what small part he wanted recorded and/or changed and then had a vision of how that would affect the whole piece.  You need a lot of vision and skill to do that as well as get the best from the musician or vocalist you are working with.

It was as if Philip was seeing everything through his ears if that makes any sense.  The part I like most in the vid is seeing him twirl his pen as he listens to Cathy lay down a vocal track.  He’s feeling every note and nuance making decisions on timing, pitch and understanding of how he’ll use that piece of the puzzle to help Cathy tell her story.  Very cool.

Talk about Be The Best.

Oh yah…AC is coming out with a new album.  That is VERY COOL too.  There are some fun songs.  There are some DEEP songs.  There are some songs sung with Chris is mind.

I loved what I heard…and I can’t wait.

Here’s a very little sneak peek inside the work of a master producer and a pretty cool musician…(yah, that’s high praise coming from an older brother…)

The other thing to watch for in the vid is the emotion that comes through music.  Is it possible to be happy and sad at the same time?  Is it possible to be feeling the deepest emotions of loss yet feel the powerful strength of hope for the future? Yup.

You can catch all the updates on Cathy’s updated website and her blog.

Categories
Be The Best.

Happy Birthday Chris!

So many people have told us or emailed us about how they thought of us over Christmas.

I know so many more think of us often and are thinking of us now as we mark what would have been Chris’ 18th birthday tomorrow even if they don’t or can’t tell us.

We are exactly the same way.

We’ve been following the story of the Berg family in Mission and Gillian Berg’s amazing strength and very real highs and lows as she takes care of her family and slowly moves forward with each day.

You can follow and support with your thoughts and prayers through: http://gillianb-journeying.blogspot.com/

The reason I say we are the same is that our hearts go out to Gillian and her family, but we don’t know them personally.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them, but we haven’t verbalized that to them.  For now we will support by reading, caring and praying.  Just as we’ve done, she can see by the blog views how so many people are supporting them.

We know that’s what people do for us all the time.

As we approach Chris’ birthday tomorrow, we don’t have any big public events happening.  A few of his school buds will drop by.  As a family, we’ll head to our favourite steakhouse for a big steak dinner and piece of ice cream cake.  Chris was a fitness and health food fanatic, but he would eat steak and ice cream cake…and we’ll have some in his honour tomorrow night.

So the question is always, what can I do?  What should I do?  I don’t know them very well, or even if I do, I’m not sure what to do.

Here’s the solution.

We’d ask everyone who reads this blog to do some little thing in honour of Chris tomorrow.

Here’s a few ideas.

1. push-ups – even doing one or two in his name would be cool

2. make a toast when you have dinner

3. hug your kids

4. hug your parents

5. eat some yogurt (he would eat probably 4-6 per day)

6. wish him a happy birthday verbally

7. cook some eggs (yep…he ate a LOT of eggs)

There’s a few ways.

I’m sure you can think of more.

Drop us a comment if you want to share.

If you don’t, we totally get it and we want to say thank you for the continued support.

Randy, Ingrid and Max.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRIS!!

 

Jan 09 - Chris turns 16.

 

Categories
Be The Best.

Roller Derby?

Take a look at this pic.

It’s from the very early 70’s.

My Dad…preacher by day…roller derby by night.

Ok, maybe not roller derby, but he and Mom found roller skates for the whole family and turned the basement into a roller zone…complete with a ramp!

It was great fun.

We were at some friends recently and their two daughters put on several skits, songs and dance routines throughout the evening.  We loved it.

As the rush of Christmas week comes surging on us, I love to think of these simple, fun family times and the memories they create.

I’ve heard of families heading for ski hills and others heading to warm beaches over the next week.

Whatever you do, I wish you a lifetime of great memories.

For us, we will be creating new ones and also dipping into our bank of memories.

We are thankful every day for the deposits we’ve made through trips, adventures, and just crazy stuff around the house…just like my Dad did with roller skates in the basement!

Dad (Rev. Jake), Grace, Val, Randy and Cathy (AC).

Categories
Be The Best. Christian Friesen

Hamming it up.

Before we had Thanksgiving dinner, my young nephew Ethan came over and whispered to me that he would like to say a few jokes before I said grace.

He’s too young to know, but his timing was perfect.  Not the timing of his jokes mind you…a career in stand-up may be a little ways away, but I knew what I wanted to say before we started dinner and Ethan’s jokes were a perfect counterbalance to how I was feeling at that moment.

After the comedy act, I stated as best as I could to the 15 of us around the table that it is not unusual for families to have set an extra place for a lost loved one.  We didn’t do that and the answer why is very simple.

Chris remains with each of us at all times wherever we are…together or separated.

Max helped me out and said grace and for his continued strength I am proud and grateful.

Now, that smoked ham was awesome and a lot of fun.

Here’s a few pics.

Maple Glazed Ham ready for the smoker...shameless product placement...!

Stick a fork in it! The finished product after 2 hours of smoke and 5 hours of heat. Unreal.