Being small

From the time that we are very small, we long to be very big.

Dads and moms and teachers say, or at least it is generally thought to be desirable that they say, we are important and unique and special.

And then we get bigger and we see we are just small dots. Dots among dots, like sand at the beach.

We are not inclined to feel grateful for that feeling.

So we stand on a platform. We swing our arms around. And they walk right on by.

We sigh a deep sigh and wave our arms around halfheartedly before sitting down despondently.

Grains of sand accept they are part of the whole, they won’t be put on a pedestal to be admired above all the other grains of sand on the beach, but we don’t accept our fate so easily.

We want to be seen. Preferably alone. The numbers of admirers are never quite enough. We feel out, despite the high numbers some of us manage to accumulate.

As if there is an elite in-group, and if you can only be part of and call out their admiration, that it will fill all the empty places, the vague […]

When I’m the girl in the photograph

January, 1922, a young dutch girl is at school in Zaventem, Belgium. She writes the date carefully, each word a work of art.

96 years later I hold it in my hands. I trace the letters she wrote; my great-grandmother.

She started writing it just after a world war, not knowing it would only be the first. Before she had children, before those children grew up.

Did she make ever make the fancy recipes she carefully wrote down, for visitors or in-laws?

Sometimes I think of life back then in black and white, or at least in the faded colors of the photographs I find.

But the sun shone just as brightly, and the grass was just as green.

Life seemed to stretch out just as endlessly for her. After she went back home and put her simple brown notebook with its elaborate curly writing on a shelf, she couldn’t have known that almost a century later it would find itself back in Belgium close to the place where it received its first word.

Someday I’ll be the girl in the old fashioned photograph. And although it won’t be black and white it will seem just as […]

What they are all saying

The trees are saying it, while the sticky sap is running through their veins, rushing to the leaves that are making oxygen so that we breathe, live.

That God is great.

The sun is shining it out with its warmth from 90 million miles away. It warms us, sends energy with the sunbeams that come barging through space towards us, so our skin can transform it into vitamins.

Three small boys who grew into actual people in me. Now they walk beside me, becoming who they are a little more every day.

Eyes full of admiration, seeing miracles. It’s the miracle I see. God is great.The summer comes, anticipated by everybody. Hope flares up in our hearts like fireworks in the night sky.The mystery in our hearts that long for something else. Something untouchable, unattainable and it becomes reachable and tangible when we love others, when we feel the sun on our skin and when we create beauty to see.The presence of God we can see in the everyday, all around us, and at the same time have to hunt for as if it’s a lifelong, worldwide treasure hunt.The clouds, big airy castles made of dust and water […]

The hope that’s always there

All through the winter months, the trees have hidden it: the life that streams through their veins.

Sometimes I’ve thought they must be dead.

Overhead the sky is making an impenetrable wall between us and the sun by spreading a thick blanket of fluffy gray clouds from horizon to horizon.

It won’t be long now before the gray blanket leaves. And the daffodils are the first to appear.

All those months they sat, with only the promise of what would be, like a funny little onion underground. Now they come up.

All that quiet waiting, silent growing and now we can see it. It makes everyone happy and they’ll do it again next year.

Yellow pieces of wonder on the side of the road and nobody can help looking at them, because everybody knows it.

Spring is coming. Thin, fragile yellow leaves are sowing hope in our hearts.

Hope. I always want to feel it.

I want to laugh and dance in the sunshine and revel in the joyful knowing, seeing and believing that everything will be all right and that there is a burning, shining light at the end of the road.

That the road is not […]