Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Kind of Miracle

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." -Marcel Proust
Thank you, readers, for helping my soul to blossom.

With this message, I want to take you to one of the most peaceful places I've ever visited: the Abbey of Senanque.

This is a real, working abbey in the south of France. You may have seen photos of it before.
The monks who live there cultivate lavender. They also have a wonderful bookstore full of religious books.
Gregg and I visited there, years ago, out of season, when the lavender was not blooming. I've never forgotten it; I always wanted to return to see the lavender in full bloom. It is like being in a different world.

We went to Senanque last summer. As soon as we arrived, the excitement of returning to share it with David mingled with regret that Katie wasn't with us to experience this holy, peaceful place.

As I started to feel the sadness of missing her creeping over me, I looked to my left, and this is what I saw:

A butterfly lit upon one of the lavender bushes, as it was standing in full bloom in the evening sun. I have no question that this was God's way of allowing Katie to let me know that she was with us, in a way. Not the same as having her with us as a healthy, happy 14-year-old girl, but better than nothing.

The altar at St. Mary's Church, Antibes, France, 2009

On this Christmas Eve, as many of us are missing precious loved ones, may God again fill our hearts with an awareness of their presence and their love, somehow, in some way.
May we know that we are all living a brief part of eternity here, and that God is right now loving us, as He has showed us His love in countless ways. Christmas is one of those ways.

Detail of the altar.

God bless you, and Merry Christmas to you!


KathrynAntyr said...

What an amazing place. I'm making a note and adding it to places for me and my camera to visit. Love that Marcel Proust quote. May you surround yourself with soul gardeners.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

{soul hugs}

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that comforting prayer. My Christmas miracle was s most amazing dream I had about Joey on Sunday morning. I haven't even written about it, but am still very much basking in the sense of his presence. God brings His comfort near. May you have a blessed christmas and new year. Thanks for your kind friendship this year. It has meant so much to me.

Renee said...

I am sorry that your best girl is not with you.

I am so sorry about that, I know you already know that.

I have no doubt that she was with you and Gregg in a field of lavendar though. I don't have any doubt about that at all.

Have the best Christmas you can dear friend.

Love Renee xoxo

Anonymous said...

xoxoxoxoxox ---- lov you so much. really appreciate your frienDSHIP ANd sweet guidenCE.......KATIE MUST HAVE Been SUCH A GREAT GIRL....I WISH I HAD KNown HER. I WISH WE HAD Been FRIENds bEFORE CANCer bUT I KNow god wanTED US TO MEET THIS WAY....I'VE DECIDED TO STOP BegginG WHY ANd dealing WITH TODAY....THANK you for bEING part of myhealinG...IT HAS Been SO HARD. YOU KNow. the pain....IS SO SO REAL. But, i clinGE TO STRenGTH....THROUGH YOU....THRU OTHER'S ON this path....knOWINg onE DAY WE'LL MEET - WHAT A DAY!!!!

CAROLYN loub CAME TO OUR CHRISTMAS PARTY AND said she was meetinG YOU SOON......i was so jealous...have fun anD MERRY CHRISTMAS>>>>

mother tucker

Gannet Girl said...

Beautiful reading and photographs, Karen.

C said...

i so believe in butterflies and such appearing at just the right moment to let us know loved ones are still with us, or perhaps to let us know they are missing us at that very exact moment, too.
and to give us hope of yes, we WILL be together again.


C said...


i closed my eyes and could almost smell the lavender and peace it emits there.


Jason, as himself said...


Lakeland Jo said...

What a fabulous place- I would love to go there. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family. Hugs

Kay said...

Oh Karen... this is so lovely! The pics are beautiful...almost like you could just step right into them. Don't you want to do that sometimes?? : )

I know... this is a time of year that really highlights who is missing. Hard hard! Hugs to you, friend.