Me! (Godwin) and one of my nephews.  Christmas at home: Kincolith!

 

Greetings everyone!  This photo was taken Christmas 2008- my last Christmas at home.  For the past couple of years I had been Santa at one of my elementary schools (for the kids and staff!) so I purchased this Santa suit.  I wanted a suit that would resemble, as closely as possible, the absolutely "authentic and vibrant" Santa that you often see on the side of Coca-Cola trucks at Christmas.  I found it! 

 

It was interesting how this all came about.  I had a lady friend visiting me one afternoon at my place- as she sat on my couch and I was on my computer, she said out of the blue, "Godwin, have you ever considered being a Santa? Given your personality and people skills, I think you would make a great Santa."  I smiled and said, "Me? Santa? No, I've never considered it."  She then said, "You should."

 

The following Tuesday I was at an inner-city meeting at my home school.  The topic of the school's Christmas Pancake Breakfast came up, with the statement, "And we haven't had a Santa for the past two years either..."  Looking at me all at once, the five staff members smiled, then asked: "Godwin?"  "Aaaah, yeah?" With smiles all around the table one said, "Come on Godwin, you'd make a great Santa."  Thinking on the conversation I had just had a few days earlier with my friend, I thought, "This is NOT coincidence!"  I accepted, and a wonderful, fun-filled experience it was! Especially for the kids.

 

This particular Christmas at home, only one of my family knew I was bringing my Santa suit with me and I asked her to keep it a secret- that come Christmas day I would make my short, five home "Surprise Santa Visit" to immediate family.  Needless to say they were pleasantly and excitedly surprised as I made my way to their homes carrying my bag of gifts and shouting "Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!"  The smiles, laughter, fun, and family photos were amazing!

 

Twenty-five homes plus later...I finally finished my tour as everyone else who seen Santa walking the streets of the village, more than excitedly and happily invited me in.  It indeed was one of my best Christmases ever.

 

Here are the lyrics for a new song that I wrote about three weeks ago for a major Christmas event that I will be performing at: Enjoy!

 

The Passion of Christmas 

 

It's that time of year again

when all the voices in refrain;

sing joyously in Christmas cheer:

Christmas time is here.

 

It's more than just a Christmas tree

it's what my Lord has done for me;

He's the star shining bright in the night-

and the beauty of every Christmas light.

 

He's the gift wrapped most beautifully

the giver of life to you and to me;

how he came from heaven above

to fill us with his great love.

 

I'm so glad that you're here by my side

to share in this love too beautiful to hide;

burning brighter than the candle's flame

causing me always to whisper your name.

 

Let us cozy up next to the fire

let the passion of Christmas bring us higher;

traveling on crackling sound

the beauty of Christmas all around.

 

It's Christmas time again...

 

(C) Godwin H. Barton

 

 

The creek area at the back of my home community: Kincolith.

 

Greetings!

 

I know that I said that I'd post part two of the previous post- expounding on the life that I now live in, and feel- again, so vibrant and so alive: the greatest I've felt in the last seven years.  It really does have a lot to do with the new church I'm attending and the many new friendships I've made and again, stability in my spiritual life and connection.  This post in a way does tie into that as I'm going to reflect on an event we attended last night as a part of our church program.  The flyer read: A Timely Invitation To A...Special Movie Event: "In Time".  Yes the movie, titled, "In Time" was just that- as it depicted a futuristic society that used time as currency.  The more time you had- the longer you lived.  When your time expired, you "timed out," you died.  Given this, you can begin to imagine the many scenarios that would make such a movie very interesting and worth seeing.  In the words of the synopsis: "In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth." 

 

Echoed throughout the movie and in our discussion afterward, is the question: "How much time do we have?"  The answer: "We have a day; but you can do a lot in a day."  This really got me thinking as the two main characters always seemed to be fighting for time and literally, for their lives as their time came down to minutes and sometimes, seconds.

 

We were asked, "How would you live today- if all you had was today, the next twenty-four hours.  What determines what you would do, or how you would live?"

 

Immediately I thought about the past seven years of my life in terms of the loss, death, sorrow, grief, and pain; and how death coming so quickly has put me in full remembrance of the importance of life, and living: it is a choice.

 

I thought in terms of the accumulation of years and the attaining of wisdom through experience, that how I live my life today is in direct correlation to how I lived my life yesterday.  Those things that happened or didn't happen; those things that should have happened- but I let pass by.  Those things I wanted to do but didn't do- or to say and didn't say.  Today is another opportunity to make these things right.

 

If how you live today is in direct correlation to how you lived yesterday- and you are sensing a bit of a loss- did you "spend time" doing those things that you love doing the most- those things that make you the happiest.  Did you "spend time" with the ones that you love the most, the ones that are the most important to you...and many are just a phone call, an email, or a text away.  I'm recognizing in my personal journey that my today is in direct correlation to how I lived my yesterday: that how I choose to "spend my time" is a reflection and a motivation, of my loss of yesterday.  How much I value and use my time today is directly related to my experiences of love, joy, loss, and pain.  I've come to realize the obvious- to live is a choice- to be happy, is a choice.  Sometimes when I'm feeling down I'll go for a walk and buy someone a coffee or lunch, and nine times out of ten it's a street person, a vagrant.  It's just something I've always done, first, because I've had many great examples set before me of the effects of human kindness, and second, seeing the need of someone else before you is one of the greatest treasures of the human heart.  It is the unselfish heart that brings life and light to an otherwise darkened world.  It is the person that seemingly has nothing that gives the most.  To give when you are on the border of "without" is to give out of sacrifice and love- it is the essence of true giving.  My brother Fred was like this, giving even the shirt and coat off his back to people he knew that lived in the streets and slept under bridges- that searched in garbage cans for their next meal.  Once he took of his shoes and gave it to a homeless friend of his.  One of my nephews has a similar story.  When a homeless person was admiring his new "Nike Airs" and wished he had a nice pair "like that," my nephew took off the runners and handed them to him, gently, and said, "Here. You can have these."  This bears the answer to the question in great humility, in terms of "spending time": "Excuse me, do you have a minute?"

 

The essence of true giving stems from the experience of life lived.  The one who truly gives is the one who has experienced great joy, heat-ache, and felt great pain...and through it all has learned to smile again- to be happy- in spite of loss.

 

How much do you, I , value today?  When we sit back and examine our lives it should be in direct correlation to, and a step above, how we lived our yesterday.  Make every moment count.  The ability to see the beauty in everything and that everything and everyone has potential.  

 

The ability to prepare things in love, patience, and humility, is the greatest nourishment to the soul.  

 

To the ones who have helped me through what were some of the most difficult times of my life, "Thank you!" for "spending time" with me!  To all my family, friends, and to the ones who have become a large part of my life in recent months: Thank you!

 

When you "spend the time" to bake cookies filled with love- to a heart that's been beaten, battered, and bruised (and in the process made stronger!), that love is easily felt.  Sometimes you don't know how your acts of kindness are affecting the lives of others...beautifully!

 

Sincerely, Godwin. 

 

 

 

                                 Me (Godwin!) Linda, and Fred.  I was thirteen.  The day of our confirmation.

Greetings!

 

This post has turned into something I didn't imagine it would.  I could post it as one complete post but because I've been working on it now for the past seven hours or so, it's turned into quite the read.  So, I'm going to post this part as Part I, and complete the second part within the next day or so.  The part that explains why I've ended up in the place that I am, the Chinese church and why I feel so alive today. 

 

For the past day or so I've had this burning desire to write- the thing is, I have so many things running through my mind and spirit I don't really know where to begin or really what it is I'm supposed to write about.  Thoughts of my brother Fred have been echoing inside of me steadily- though he is no longer here- his impact and continuing presence in my life.  It's hard to believe it's already been over seven years since he passed; it seems like just yesterday...I miss him so much.  As I sit here it is becoming clear as to what it is I am to write; again, my brother Fred factors into this- in a very specific way.

 

I recently joined a new church and now find myself in one of the greatest communities I've ever had the privilege to be a part of.  It's a Chinese church (Evangelical Free Church) and I've joined the English speaking congregation.  The community numbers about two hundred plus and although there is a great number of younger (elementary school age) and the older (elderly), the largest age group would be the young adults: high-school, college, and university.  Within the church are a few cell groups and the church, especially on a Friday night when most of these groups meet, is hustling and bustling with activity.  I state this because it impresses me that when most youth would rather be out painting the town red on a Friday night- here are youth in great numbers, bonding together in fellowship with each other and intending to grow spiritually in Christ.  I think this is absolutely amazing!  I've been invited to be a part of two groups and since joining, not only the church but each of these cell groups, there has been great and magnificent change in my life, spiritually.  I've come back to life; I'm alive again!  Why is this so pertinent?  Let me back track...

 

This past summer, July 2012, was a very dark month for me.  Emotionally, it was a month of death, a month of many endings; a month of loss.  In the process of days and experience was great pain, and the realization of the culmination of seven years of tragedy, mayhem, destruction, death, and separation: beginning with my brother Fred's death on September 26, 2005.  He was my best and closest friend- I'm the youngest in the family- he was next to me in years.  We were inseparable.  I'll never forget when I got the phone call of his passing, the immediate and complete emptiness that I felt.  My heart sinking and missing the breathes necessary to keep it alive.  The feeling of being "outside of myself" looking in and saying "This can't be happening."  Of all the times to receive the call, when I was driving through one of the busiest corridors of Vancouver during rush hour and praying to God earnestly for strength just to continue the drive safely- through a body that was trembling slightly, holding tightly to the steering wheel, focusing with all my energy on the pedals, gas or brake...looking through eyes that were already filled with tears and aching.  "God, please, I've only a few more blocks to drive.  Please, have mercy on me and get me home safely."  Unlocking the apartment door and stopping on the first step to catch my breath and cry, already, too weak to take another step.  My wife appearing on the top of the stairs, asking, "What's wrong? What happened?"  Through sobs so great and words hard to come by through great pain, with a chest feeling like it was caving in, "My brother Fred.  He's dead, he died."  Instantly my wife ran to me, held me, and cried with me.  "Oh I'm so sorry.  So very sorry.  I know how much he meant to you."  On those stairs we just embraced and cried- uncontrollably.  She held me as tight as she could; for as long as she could.  My brother and best friend no longer graced the face of this earth.  He was gone.  The tragedy of such a great loss is indescribable.  He was my best friend.  As if this wasn't enough, five months later our sister Linda died.

 

She was next to Fred and I in years- she was the youngest sister.  The three of us were best friends- as Fred and I were, we were inseparable.  How was our friendship solidified?  It was tried, as if by fire, first by the death of our mother when we were very, very young.  I was six- Fred and Linda would have had to be seven and eight.  Then, the death of our father three years later.  After our mother's death as a family we were separated- some of the brothers and sisters were sent to boarding homes in Vancouver, one as far away as Edmonton.  Fred, Linda and myself were sent to the Port Alberni Indian Residential School.  A place of some of the greatest loneliness and isolation a human being can ever experience or feel.  A place of horrors.  It was here I know our friendship was truly solidified- because really, all we had was each other.  We took the risk of being with each other as much as we possibly could even though it meant we would be punished.  The strapping, scolding, and beating, though unpleasant, was worth it: we got to spend time with each other.  We entered the days of the residential school during the time of integration.  The period when Indian children were now being integrated into main stream schooling- into white society.  Schooling before this used to be done completely in the residential schools.  Fred and I went to "Wood Elementary School" and Linda went to "Calgary Elementary".  One of my fondest memories of this time was when the school day ended.  Fred and I would look at each other knowing that the bus would arrive any minute to pick us up.  He would ask, "Want to run to Calgary and see Linda?"  Without hesitation I would always say yes.  We'd run as fast as our little legs could carry us those many, many blocks.  We didn't stop.  Growing up on the reserve we learned that we could run like the wind and run forever.  We knew we had to be there in time to catch the bus as it stopped to pick up Linda.  Come to think of it, we never thought about what the bus driver thought or that he even worried about us.  His journey to Wood Elementary wasn't in vain anyway as there were other kids to be picked up there going back to the residential school.

 

We'd run and run.  Non-stop.  Talking and laughing all along the way.  Challenging one another and vying for position.  Talking about days on the reserve.  Constantly racing.  Imagining the mountains, rivers, streams, and the forests- which were our play ground.  The trees, which were our monkey bars.  Climbing just to see how high we could go before the tree top started swaying too much.  Still, no matter how much the tree swayed, we would sit, as a squirrel or an eagle perched high on a branch, looking over the village.  It was beautiful.  It was home.  We were missing it.

 

We ran faster and faster hoping that our sister would be where she would always be, waiting for us- sitting on that little cement ledge in front of Calgary Elementary School.  As we neared, there she was.  From a distance we could see her face begin to light up as she noticed us.  She'd begin to shout, "Run! Hurry! Faster! Faster!" while laughing the whole time.  She was so happy to see us.  Our sweet little sister- in all her glory- sitting on that little cement ledge: her tiny legs swinging, beating gently against the ledge as she cheered us on.  Her hands planted firmly in anticipation and expectation.  We laughed, we hugged, and we just loved on each other.  The funny thing is (well, not really funny), these times were always followed by moments of extreme silence- as if we were sensing and feeling loss, death, destruction, and defeat.  Maybe it had a lot to do with our mother's death just weeks earlier and the fact that we were taken from our family and sent hundreds (though it seemed like thousands) of miles away from home.  The kind of silent anticipation of something that was about to go terribly wrong.  The kind that no good could come from.  Which brings me back to today- at least when Fred died, I had Linda's hand to hold as we walked with the funeral procession toward the graveyard.  When Linda died, I had no hand to hold- and it was one of the loneliest, most painful walks ever- of my life.  The two best friends of mine no longer graced the earth.  They are gone, forever, from this realm.  The pain was excruciating- the tears, seemingly unending, would eventually run dry; seven years later:  not because there were no more tears to cry, but because of the ability to let go, the ability to heal.  To recognize this is sometimes the progression of life and life, no matter what, goes on.  Fred and Linda would want me to be happy. To pack up and move on- to continue running, to continue racing.  To continue climbing trees.  I miss them so much. 

 

My marriage like any other marriage had its turbulent times.  There were may ups and there were many downs.  There were many contributing factors as to the demise of our marriage- I often blame it on that water bed.  The one that my now ex-wife bought off of Craigslist and failed to tell me about.  The one, which upon its second night in our home, marked the beginning of my sleeping on a small foam mattress on the floor at the foot of my wife's King size water bed.  The one that contributed hugely to the already ailing "moments of intimacy" in our relationship.  The water bed that my wife failed to tell me about, or if she did, would have went something like this:  "It's a really nice bed.  It's King size, more than big enough for the both of us.  It has an oak head board and oak frame.  The guy selling it says it's really nice and is willing to deliver it for an extra twenty-bucks."  Me?  "Uuuummm...okay.  If you want it that badly, go ahead.  Buy it."  She failed however to mention the water part, although she says she did.  If God wanted me to sleep on the water, he would have made me a fish. I could not sleep on that bed for the life of me...too soft and too much movement- and water sounds!  "Swoosh this and swoosh that!"  All night long! Waking up every minute wondering if I'm ever going to get any rest!  I'm an Indian! I above all else love the sounds of nature, rivers, and streams! But not when it's being held captive and fighting to get free!

 

I do have one amazing memory of that waterbed.  The mornings that I used to bring my wife her coffee.  I'd always awake before her and getting up from my spot, I'd stand and look at her for a few moments before walking quietly out of the room.  That bed was so huge and she was so tiny.  It was the most precious sight, watching her sleep peaceably in absolute comfort on the bed she wanted so much- totally bundled up in her huge, down-filled comforter with her few pillows.  Moments like this moved me most beautifully and she never knew this, but I'd always whisper before leaving the room: "I love you Little Flower," a name I gave to her because of her fragility and absolute beauty.  I'd quietly close the bedroom door behind me and go to the kitchen and grind her free trade, espresso strength, coffee beans.  I'd always grind enough for four scoops because she loved her coffee strong.  I'd add just the one small cup of water ( she had her own special cup), and sit back enjoying the scent of that magnificent, freshly ground, brewing coffee.  Many times it brought a smile to my face and happiness to my heart, because I knew it would make her happy.  With coffee in hand I'd quietly make my way back into the bedroom, and standing beside the bed, begin to whisper, "Little Flower.  Oh Little Flower..."  After a few "Little Flowers" in almost a singing tone, she'd awake- rubbing her eyes lightly and most times smiling so sweetly, saying, "Coffee! Good morning baby...coffee!"  "Yes Little Flower, coffee.  Just the way you like it.  Freshly brewed and strong."  In her angelic morning voice she'd always say, "Thank you so much..."  The waterbed was not entirely to blame.  Really, it made me happy that she could sleep in such comfort and helped me to realize the sacrifices that we must sometimes make, in love.

 

We were living like room mates the last two years of our marriage. We were like two ships passing in the night (I know! A phrase too commonly used but fits here perfectly!).  We even tried marriage counseling for a few months- I quit going because I was always the bad guy and I hardly left a session feeling any happier than when I went in.  My wife continued with the counseling but I guess "marriage counseling" doesn't work with just one person present- she eventually quit going too.  One night we sat down at dinner.  Looking at her I asked, "Do you really want to live like this for the rest of your life?" She's like, "Like what?"  I said, "We come and we go.  We don't talk much any more.  There's no intimacy between us- when was the last time we made love or slept together?"  I continued, "You're up all night doing your thing and I get up and go to work everyday and do my thing.  I come home, everything's the same: day in and day out.  There's really no life.  There's no change."  The look on her face told me she knew exactly what I was talking about. She asked, "What do you suggest we do about it?"  Knowing what was the obvious answer to breathe life back into our gills, I suggested, "Let's separate."  She just sat there and stared at me. "Separate?"  "Yes.  Separate."  There was a moment of silence (not the kind done in recognition or honor of)- but that which implies uncertainty, an impeding death, heaviness, or destruction.  Knowing that for now there was really no other way, she agreed.

 

I'll never forget the day that I moved out.  We set the date for May 1st., 2008.  A few weeks, months away so that it would give us a bit of preparation time and we could adjust to the idea of separation.  We didn't have umpteen amounts of money in the bank but I just wanted to make sure that financially she would be okay and I gave her the re-assurance that I would do my best to continue to support her financially.  May came and I had already had anything that I was taking, packed.  This consisted of my clothing, exercise equipment, and lap top.  Everything else I left with her.  She helped me to look for a home and when we found one, she also helped me to furnish it.  We agreed we'd do everything amicably- that we'd stay friends:  no fighting, no matter what.  It wasn't easy in the beginning, we fought like cats and dogs (I know! Another expression too commonly used but fits perfectly here!).  We couldn't take how we were hurting each other so we agreed to stay away from each other until we felt it was safe to get back together...as friends.  Three months passed and I missed her so much.  All I could think about was that final night of my move when we were so tired and so hungry.  On our final trip that day, we stopped off to pick up a pizza from our favorite pizza place, we stopped too, to pick up a nice bottle of Hungarian wine for her.  We got to my new place and placing a sheet in the middle of my empty living room floor, we had our little picnic.  There were two plates, two glasses (a very nice wine glass for her), and some napkins.  I poured her a glass of wine and I drank my diet pop.  The pizza was hot and it was delicious.  We talked.  We talked about our future and where we hoped to be in a few years.  We talked about many of our great and fun times and of our many trips to Europe.  We talked too about our precious "Baby Gepi," our cat.  How he was really going to miss me and when I missed him too much, I could come and visit him.  We had no children.  Gepi was truly our baby.   

 

Time moved on and I couldn't take it any more.  The pain of missing her was too great. I picked up my phone and called my wife.  Finally, three months later.  Fighting back my tears and trying not to feel the huge, painful lump in my throat, I said, "Hi. How are you?"  She was gardening, it was a mid summer day.  She weakly replied, "I'm doing okay, I guess.  How are you?"  Immediately I began to cry- "Not too good.  I miss you so much."  She began to cry too saying how much she missed me.  The three months apart taught us an invaluable lesson- though we were never going to be together again, we needed each other- as friends.  Then, we REALLY agreed to keep things amicable and even going through the divorce legally, have managed to stay friends, beautifully.

 

A colleague cautioned me when she knew I was working toward my final divorce, saying, "You know, be careful, as your divorce becomes final it's going to take on an incredibly new turn, maybe even more painful."  She was right.  Though we did things amicably going through the divorce brought up an entire flood of memories and a lot of them were very, very painful. My heart was fraught with remorse, sorrow, grief, guilt, and regret.  This word "PAIN" again comes to mind: strenuous, blood-curdling, mind-binding pain!  That's what this whole post seems to be about: PAIN!

 

Yes, the past seven years have been destructive and annihilating.  There were also three other deaths in our family.  Two of them an older sister in law and an older brother in law.  The two were integral to our family and huge pillars of love and support.  Their deaths were a huge loss.  The third death was that of one of our nephews.  Death is no fun.

 

There were other things happening too, that made the past seven years tragically despondent: beginning with my brother's death and culminating in the finalizing of my divorce on August 18th., 2012.  There were huge life changing, life affecting decisions that I had to make personally- to ease the stress of my life and to try to make any type of a come back among the living.  Two major decisions which are likened unto standing on the edge of an abyss, looking into the complete darkness, taking a giant leap of faith and saying, "Okay Father, I'm going to do it.  I'm going to trust you.  I'm going to leap and I'm going to learn to fly."  Death, separation, divorce; isolation, pain, and loneliness:  the letting go of everything familiar- everything secure. Letting go of the past to embrace a brand new future: starting all over again.  The pain of these events was so great, that one night at the dinner table, my sister, brother, and nephew sat in complete helplessness- as they sat and listened to my woes, my heart-aches, brokenness, and pain.  They talked with me; they cried with me: they encouraged me.

 

There is a light that began to shine amidst the darkness: the recording of my music professionally- the release of my EP "Your Presence," and the launching of my website. 

 

Yes July was a month of many endings; but as God would have it: a month of new beginnings.  This is when God threw me a life line- and gave me the courage to finally enter the Chinese Evangelical Free Church.  It all gets better from here.  I'll tell the story in the next post: It all has to do with trees, and two dreams.  It's quite miraculous...really.

 

Post Script:  When I write, I write from the deepest places of my heart; of my soul.  I attended a major literary seminar three years ago in Vilnius, Lithuania.  Our instructors came from all over the world and the participants too, from the United States, Canada, Africa, Europe, and many other places.  The instructors were world renown, fully established and accredited authors.  They gave us great guidance, and along with the participants, they critiqued much of our work.  To sit and have your work critiqued by a fully accredited writer and about twenty other people is quite the experience to go through.  It can be very, very challenging but in the end will only make you a better writer.  After critiquing the first few chapters of the novel I've been working on the instructor looked at me and said, "Godwin, you're well on your way.  I admire the courage and boldness that you exemplify in writing the things which you have written.  Again, you're well on your way...all you have to do now is finish."  I took great delight in his critique and summarizing statement.  At the end of the two week session he said to us all in his concluding statement, "If there is one piece of advice that I can give you that is the greatest trait a writer can have- it is honesty.  Honesty will make you a great writer."  I have never forgotten his words and although I have always believed this, adhere now more than ever to this truth when I write.  This is what causes you to feel...this is why I write.

 

Sincerely, Godwin.

 

Greetings everyone! I hope you are all well this fine, fine day! Me? I'm doing amazingly well and just about to go for my nice long multi-mile run.  Doing my best to stay fit and active is a huge part of my (self-made) wellness program.  I find if I take care of the physical- taking care of the rest- the mental, emotional, and spiritual kind of just falls naturally into place.  It all comes with feeling great.

 

I want to personally thank you all for visiting my website.  I have a tracking mechanism attached to the site and can see the visits in explicit detail.  My visits, hits, are increasing at a rate of a thousand a month: I just really, really "personally want to thank you all!" for taking time out of your day to drop by.  It's all so extremely encouraging, inspiring, and motivating.  You're all so wonderful!

 

The responses to my music continue to be off the wall.  What ignites me tremendously is, when someone has heard my music for the first time and gets  back to me in person or via the web, how, they're lit up and many times can speak no words further than "I love it! I absolutely love it!"  Honestly, figuratively speaking, their smiles span the earth with eyes that sparkle lighting up the sky as diamonds.  This is all so incredibly motivating and inspiring! Again, thank you very, very much!

 

This brings me to the main purpose of this post:  if you've heard my stories, visited my site, heard my poems, or have purchased/listened to my music- and it has affected you in some way, shape, or form- positively- moved you, encouraged you, motivated you, inspired you- please...visit my new facebook page and click "like".  Thanking you all in advance and from the deepest places of my heart.

 

http://facebook.com/Godwinhbarton

 

Sincerely,

 

Godwin H. Barton

 

My brother, Frederick Edward Barton (August 25, 1961 - September 26, 2005) was in a plane crash in early December, 1993.  There were five people on board this huge, old, Gruman Goose along with a lot of freight.  The plane was 55 years old and had not been properly maintained as it should have been.  In terms of the investigation into the crash, there were many faults discovered- in the end, two people were dead, they were "crushed" instantly in the wreckage and three survived, very miraculously.  My brother Fred, by the "Great Grace of God" was one of the survivors.  God gave him back to us for another eleven and a half years before his peaceful passing in September, 2005.  This, I call one of my life's greatest gifts: to have my brother and best friend for another eleven and a half years.  Though his passing was as a thousand swords to my heart and soul- I am extremely grateful for the extra time we had together- considering the tremendous damage and extreme brokenness of his body coming out of the crash.  He was truly a miracle.

 

I had given up my life and career for him temporarily, here in the city.  Once released from the trauma unit at Vancouver General Hospital weeks later, and it was sure that he was going to be okay, he was sent back to Prince Rupert Regional Hospital.  Some time later he was discharged from the hospital and placed in a hotel in Rupert so that he could keep up with his physiotherapy and doctor appointments.  He needed someone to be with him to assist him with his continued doctor and hospital visits.  He was my best friend, at the time I was the only one in the family not married and with no children- it was obvious what I had to do.  I gave up my career in education, gave up my apartment and moved to Prince Rupert.

 

I stayed with him in the hotel for a few weeks until I could find myself an apartment.  Nine months into my stay with him, on the morning of one of his physiotherapy sessions, we awoke very early.  I loved and do love my brother very much but small town living is not for me: I have city in my blood.  This is something I've known since I was six years old- the very first time we rode through Vancouver on a bus on route to the residential school.  I looked at Fred, lying on his bed, waiting for the medi-van to pick him up.  As he hobbled toward the door using very painfully, and slowly, his walker...in my mind's eye I seen him take his first steps.  He walked out the door and as I watched him I smiled ear to ear.  I knew when he came home at the end of the day he would have great news.  The day ended, he came to the door, smiling...almost in tears.  He said, "Guess what brother, I took my first steps today without my walker."  I looked at him, too, almost in tears and said, "I know brother, I know. Congratulations."

 

I knew now for sure my brother was going to be okay.  Now began the great internal debate: should I stay or should I go- as there wasn't a day that I woke up there, that I didn't have Vancouver on my mind.

 

Which Way Should I Go

 

I've sat in my room many nights in a row

as I've sat I've asked continuously: "Which way should I go?"

My mind often wonders to a city beyond

yet not in heaven but on earth, does this city abound.

 

It's of many bright lights much excitement and with much to do

wondrous attractions, opportunities, so beautiful too!

Yet in the excitement of my mind's eye

loneliness floods my heart at the thought of good-bye.

 

Though this town seems small with not much to do

I've made friendships, renewed relationships, I've felt joy too.

In these I'd learned again to trust, to laugh and again to play

a freedom in my heart I hoped forever it would stay.

 

As of late in uncertainty and with much gone awry

I've difficultly getting back on track, I feel I must say: Good-bye.

In my leaving am I running giving into my fear

so in that city so full of excitement- I could be near.

 

Am I hoping that the noise, the people, and the stores

would be enough to drown life's sorrows- shutting out life's sores.

Could it be that I've been battered, bruised, and hurt so bad

that I think that I'm not worthy- a healing to be had.

 

Have I done so many wrongs and wronged so many in my heart

that I continue to deny myself opportunity- a brand new start.

Lord in this world that I've so obviously built

help me build cities called Love, Joy and Peace, Removal of Guilt.

 

May these cities in their beauty out-weigh all done before

with keys accessible to all who want entrance to the door.

In these cities may there be hugs with many a bright smile

to encourage that one on to go yet another mile.

 

For the one who is weak, weary and broken hearted

may there be strength, courage and joy, to get them again started.

For the one who feels he's come to the end of his rope

may there be plenty of honesty, wisdom, and beautiful rainbows of hope.

 

You see here in the cities that abide here in this world

though beautiful and exciting much darkness is hurled.

Let me not be fooled by the city's bright lights

let me see it in its entirety, including the lonely dark nights.

 

When darkness will roam and sorrow increase

how then will the city be a sweet release.

Lord hear my heart my anguishing cry

I'm tired of trying to build cities that reach to the sky.

 

When all it takes is time out on my knees

a plea to the master builder: Can you build this city- Please!

Teach me to reach now for what exists beyond

the realms of the spiritual surely much help to be found.

 

Let me see you in your beauty, your strength and your grace

your ability to build, rebuild, and embrace.

An embracement of love, of loyalty, of trust

to have you in my life Master-builder, is a must.

 

I'll no longer in this world seek cities that deceive

that lie, that cheat, that destroy and bereave.

I'll set my sights onto heaven as I've heard that it's real

this city of gold, true happiness, no sorrow to feel.

 

No more darkness, no pain, no parting or grief

to meet at last the one, the foundation of my belief.

His name is Jesus, my Savior, my Lord and my King

the one who is my all, who is my everything.

 

As I stand once more getting up off my knees

I'll live by faith trusting you Lord, will part my seas.

That neither depth, nor height, nor distance or size

may prevent me from reaching that ultimate prize.

 

This city that you've built with its streets made of gold

another chance with many loved ones, forever to hold.

Let my heart be no more weary in this place that I am

God's spirit will lead me to where no other can.

 

Having discovered the answer to "Which way should I go..."

in a still, small voice he speaks:

"Be still. Follow me. For the path I know."

 

(C) Godwin H. Barton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She once held the sun in the palm of her hand; and the image of me burned brightly in her heart.  Now, she's a shadow cast and as the sun fades so too will the memory of her: yet, she will always be my best friend.

 

Thank you for all the love, life, memories, and for literally...giving me the world. 

 

Godwin.

 

Two Butterflies

 

Today I saw two butterflies,

flying through the air;

floating in such freedom,

without a single care.

 

I imagine in their language,

if they indeed do talk;

one would say to the other:

"Tired of flying- want to walk?"

 

The other he would say:

"Are you out of your mind my friend!

Surely we might get stepped on-

and that'll be the end!"

 

The other he'd think "you're right...

and besides our tiny feet-

would take four hundred years,

just to get across the street!"

 

Together they continued,

thinking happily as butterflies do:

"I'd rather be flying freely...

than be a smudge on someone's shoe!"

 

(c) Godwin H. Barton

 

 


 

Greetings!  These past few months have given me some excellent opportunities.  On July 18th., unexpectedly, I was called to share a story (testimony) and song at a gathering at the University of British Columbia.  The event was an annual dinner hosted by the Vancouver School of Theology to commemorate and further enhance the reconciliation process between the First Nations People and the church for the wrongs that had been committed towards our people during the residential school era.  In spite of the tremendous, positive strides made toward healing and forgiveness- this still remains an area of extreme sensitivity.  One of my older brothers who was a participant in this two week, VST training program was called on to speak- to sing and share.  He got to the front and said, "I'm very glad to have this opportunity to be before you and I thank you for it...however, I think I'll give up this time and call my youngest brother, Godwin, to come and share a bit of his story and a song."  My brother continued in a way that only a big brother can who was so proud of his youngest brother; he so exemplified his happiness and support toward me.  He was obviously very, very proud.  This was very important to me.  As he spoke his words caused me to well with emotion and even though the request came as a surprise and made me slightly nervous- it made me want to perform my best.  My brother continued, "Godwin recently released his first CD and it's really awesome.  The songs are pretty amazing.  And as my brother, our youngest brother, we do a lot of sharing, a lot of talking.  He has so many great stories; so many great things to share"  He stood and looked toward me, motioning, "Come on up brother."  I went to the front...first to the mike, and then the guitar.

 

It was an amazing time of sharing as I shared my story of the beginnings of my journey to wellness.  The brokenness, the heart-ache, and the pain.  The intricate plan of God and the fanciness of His handiwork in putting every piece of the puzzle together that would lead to my eventual recovery.  Strength and hope found through death, defeat, and weakness.  More than a light at the end of the tunnel dragging the weights of the world behind me.  I have this gift to speak that people do truly hear; do truly listen.  I have this gift to speak that my words sink deeply into your spirit and into your soul- I have this gift to speak...that when I cry- you cry with me; when I laugh- you laugh with me.  In the end you are left inspired, moved, and motivated.  You are impacted, encouraged, and you are changed: You will see the world differently.  At this time, as we moved from tragedy to triumph, I could not count the number of eyes filled with tears but could only see the cloths and napkins that wiped these eyes.  To punctuate the victory and accentuate the grace, I picked up the guitar and sang "Your Presence".  It was a beautiful, full-filling time.  A time of absolute  prosperity.

 

On July 3rd.  I was a guest on "World Poetry Cafe" on Co-op Radio.  A one hour program- sharing my music, stories, and poetry.  This too was an amazing experience.  I've been a returning guest on this show, but this time, returning with my first professionally recorded CD.  The show, as reported back to me by the main host, was an absolute success as many people contacted her and continued to contact her days and weeks later talking about my poetry and music.  I am so grateful.  When I left the radio station, I felt too, it was by far the best show I'd ever done...and it was so much fun! Yes, amidst the poetry and song, we laughed, teased, and joked. It was amazing!

 

Today, I had the opportunity to share again at a "World Poetry" event at a Vancouver Public Library, Renfrew Branch.  I'm in transition in life right now...letting go the security of the past and stepping boldly into my creative, artistic future.  This became the focus of my sharing and the inspiration behind the two new poems that I've just written: they're powerful, and beautiful- and they have "music" written all over them.  They were well received and described as "amazing and inspirational".  Singing along with my CD, I sang "Your Presence".  As I sang a lady in the audience began to quietly weep, tears flowing down her face.  When I finished she looked at me and smiled, saying, "That's so beautiful.  That's such a beautiful song."  I smiled back and said, "Thank you!" I thanked her for her true expression of gratitude and gave her a copy of my CD.  She was deeply moved...and expressed, very honored.  I am so grateful for my life; all of the hardship, terror, torture and pain: it was worth it all.

 

Take care! We will meet again...Godwin.

Photo taken on the beach of my reserve: Kincolith, BC.

 

Hello! On Wednesday I was awake very early; thinking on what the coming year will hold for me: leaving work and transitioning into my new life.  As one of my dear friends said, "Wow Godwin! This is it!  The chance you're taking to leap into your greater future!  The courage to release the security of the past and fully explore and embrace your artistic future...as a writer and a singer! Go for it!"  I feel this deeply in my soul.  As I lay and thought on her words, I reached for my daily devotional to see what God had to say to me.  The devotional was titled: "As It Happened," and it spoke of the life of Ruth.  The reading began:  "Boaz was a man of noble character: prominent, wealthy in money and property, a man of strength and integrity.  And it just so "happened" that the field in which Ruth gleaned belonged to Boaz.  It wasn't chance that caused Ruth to choose Boaz's field.  It was a divine act."  Further on it reads:  "Ruth, having left behind the security of her old life, was being offered a new life and future..."  It concludes:  "Have you ever wondered about the phrase, "It just so happened"?  You might have called it coincidence, or providence, or serendipity.  Yet when you took a second look, YOU SAW THAT THE PIECES CAME TOGETHER IN SUCH AN INTRICATE WAY THAT YOU KNEW IT HAD TO BE THE DIVINE HAND OF GOD."  "It just so happened" may be the turning point in your life.  

 

This is really how I feel as I envision my future as a writer, poet, singer, song-writer, storyteller...the excitement that stirs within me as I stand facing, running to, and embracing- my future.  As I reflect on my CD and how it all came to be, the exact prayer that morning that I prayed, "God, please guide my footsteps today and cause me to meet that exact person that I need to meet; and further Lord, ordain every word of conversation that I am to have with this individual."  It had always been a huge desire of my heart to get into a recording studio and record professionally.  It "JUST SO HAPPENED" as our conversation went from the professional to the personal...within five months of this prayer being answered that exact same day- I had my first, professional, CD release.

 

Like Ruth, now, I've released the security of the past and I'm being "offered a new life and a new future," and it has "God written all over it!"  I love Him so much...

 

Credit: Devotional reference: Peggy Byland. Words of Hope. 

 

 

 

 

My mother: Myra E. Barton.  My father: Cecil J. Barton

 

Thank you so much for bringing me up in the way that I should go; for as I am older, and you are no longer here- I have not been able to depart from it.  All of your wonderful teachings; all of your love: I love and miss you both so very, very much.  Soon and very soon, we shall be together again.

 

Loving you always with an ever lasting love...

 

Your son, Godwin.

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