My husband says that the past two years since Leah took ill and died, have been like a haze, a daze and a maze.
This weekend we’re having a family break, along with other bereaved families, at Daisy Lodge in Newcastle, Co. Down. I write here about our first visit to Daisy Lodge, last year.
What is the purpose of a therapeutic short break at Daisy Lodge?
According to the N.I. Cancer Fund for Children website:
“At Daisy Lodge we aim to restore a family life that’s been uprooted by cancer. Short breaks provide exhausted families with the chance to spend quality time together after many months spent in isolation or on the hospital ward. They will be able to recharge their batteries, increase their sense of well-being and gain support from the charity’s Therapeutic Specialist. They will also get the chance to meet and gain support from other families in a similar situation.”
After lunch today Horace suggested that we went to Castlewellan Forest Park to check out their Maze.
It sounded like a fun idea ………. until we became hopelessly lost and it suddenly started raining very heavily.
We found that we were going around in circles and facing a lot of dead ends.
Life’s like that sometimes – lots of going around in circles with lots of dead ends and the downpours just keep on coming.
At one stage, we thought we’d found an exit, but it wasn’t the right one, it was locked, there was no escape – from the maze or the rain (or the camera)!
When Leah was diagnosed, she said that we “had to see the bigger picture” but sometimes it’s very hard to see the bigger picture. Depending on what difficulties we are going through, all we see is sadness, frustration and no hope.
It can be so incredibly difficult at times to remember about that bigger picture.
In my Bible reading this morning I was struck by this verse in Romans 14:13
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Sometimes in this world there is very little hope and joy.
I thought about that this week too as I stood sobbing at Leah’s grave, two nights in a row, gazing at one of her favourite Bible verses on the kneeling plate there:
I try so very hard to cling to hope, joy and peace, but sometimes I feel utterly defeated by life’s circumstances.
Eventually today, we got out of the maze, the rain stopped and the sun shone.
We climbed up to the viewing bridge and how different everything looked.
It occurred to me that maybe that’s what God sees when he looks at our lives – not just a bunch of crazy, random “happenings“, but a “bigger picture” that He is working together in us for a greater purpose. (Romans 8:28)
A bigger picture that will one day all make sense, probably not in this life, but when we meet Him face to face.
Then, before the rain made it’s inevitable reappearance, we explored a little bit more of this magnificent estate.
I loved the children’s adventure playground, with it’s natural colours, carved animals and a refreshing deficit of brightly coloured plastic.
After this we headed to the lake. The walk right round it is just over two miles, but by now the sky behind us was getting dark again and we had only just dried off so we didn’t fancy another soaking.
On our way back to our car, we noticed a quaint looking café and the prices seemed reasonable, but we are so well fed at Daisy Lodge that stopping, even for a snack, was out of the question!
We are blessed to have this time out together as a family, kindly provided for us by the N.I. Cancer Fund for Children and the many people who fundraise for them.