We have all heard the saying, “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” Today, I would like to share with you, a view into my window. How many of us have a loved one in Heaven? Well, if you are like me....I have a whole TEAM in Heaven. Picture with me, Opening Day in Heaven, the start of baseball Season, “The Big Leagues.” The Angels vs. the Saints, with God of course, the Umpire.
All of Heaven is singing, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” with an endless supply of peanuts and crackerjack. Every seat in this Heavenly Park has the perfect view, with a bright orange sunset sky, as the backdrop. The seats are filled with family and friends from generations back, a legion of Angels fly freely around and they know everyone by name. The scoreboard reads, in brilliant flashing lights, “WELCOME HOME TIMOTHY, #42!” I have just described the opening scene in my children’s book, “Timothy’s Glove.” This book was born out of great love and divine inspiration. I proudly hold this book in my hands today, as an example of the POWER OF PRAYER!
Tim was a sweet, sweet boy, who had a childlike faith, instilled by his Mom, Mary, and his Dad, Larry. The entire MacLean family, is a great, BIG, faithful, Irish, Catholic Family and they have all been incredibly kind and loving to me. Tim’s twin brother Tom, the St. Regis Raiders Head Football Coach [2009 CYO CHAMPS] is quoted as saying, “Tim was not content to be a spectator in the game of life, he came to play!” Tim’s passing was sudden, and at nineteen, my life had instantly turned on a dime. I grew up overnight. The tremendous shock knocked me to my knees. My heart was shattered.
My prayer was simple, childlike, and very to the point, “Dear God, Mary, Jesus, all my Guardian Angels and Saints, “Thank you for the blessing of Tim’s love.” I knew how blessed I was to have been given this short time with him. He inspired me to be the best, which meant, NEVER giving up hope.
In life and in prayer, we need a game plan. I was a college kid with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I had a giant hole in my chest, one foot in Heaven one in Earth, but I knew deep in my heart God had a plan for me. I’m not sure what stages I came in and out of, other than my stages were missing color. As an artist I experienced colorless stages like black, darkest, darker, dark and grey. Michigan winters can be grey. How was I going to move past this dark time? Then I read a quote, by Elizabeth Kubler Ross, that eloquently painted a vision for me. She said, “People are like stained glass windows, they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed, only if there is a “LIGHT WITHIN.”
I needed to find that light within. Eventually, I realized that I needed to stay in the moment, that God was not in the past, and He was not in the future, He was WITH me NOW. I heard the voice in my heart, that said, “Follow Me.” Fast forward a few decades, I have been incredibly happy and blessed to be married for twenty-nine years to my best friend, Jack. We have three boys, Tommy 26, John 25, and Patrick 22. Seven years ago, Jack found the manuscript in the basement. This book became a family project with color theory and proper baseball swings and throws discussed at the table. As God would have it, a publisher crossed my path.
This book would not exist without my husband Jack’s love and faith in me.
This is the Saints Team in Heaven. Starting from left to right, Allie Cibulas #7, Luc Swiecicki #3, Myles Beckley #5 and Timmy Vachon#28. They have all inspired us to be better people, to be kinder and stay in the moment. PLAY ON!
I set in motion the game plan to publish “Timothy’s Glove.” Just when you think that your on task and you are following all of the rules, God, the ever-loving Umpire, makes a “CALL,” that can change the outcome of the game. An article came out in the Oakland Press about young Tim MacLean and how he had felt his namesake, Uncle Timothy MacLean’s hand on his shoulder, pushing him forward on the field. I was inspired to add the influence of a “HAND ON YOUR SHOULDER” experience, from above. So I changed the story. I also had a coming to Jesus moment with the Art work for Timothy’s Glove. The publisher hired a big time illustrator, for my book. I didn’t want my ego to hold the book back, so I went along with this decision. Part of me was concerned about reliving the memories of the past, that I had prayed so hard to come thru. All the while, my family and friends [Joslin, Lauren, Nora and Molly] couldn’t understand why I wasn’t doing the artwork. I considered myself more of a fine artist, and I was confident in that, but everyone had more faith in me, than I had in myself. The illustrator didn’t work out, which was a blessing in disguise. I hit my knees, quieted down my heart and mind, and said, “Really God, what are you doing? How could this of happened? This is for your glory.” I then experienced a “Dorothy-like Wizard of Oz moment. I had the ruby slippers, and in my heart, I had everything that I needed to do the artwork all the time!
Staring at a fresh, blank canvas, is sometimes overwhelming, but I prayed to God to direct each brushstroke, and I called on my starting lineup in Heaven, for inspiration. Virginia Beckley is a dear friend of mine, who lost her son, Myles, #5, in a tragic accident, ten years ago. She knew that I needed inspiration, so she stopped by our home, to drop off a pair of Myles’s furry bear slippers, and a big purple Barney dinosaur train, that he treasured. I placed the items on the shelf in my art studio, to spark my own creative spirit. When I was almost done with the opening spread, where Timothy shows up in Heaven, I could feel a hand on my shoulder, helping with the few remaining brushstrokes. I had an internal dialogue of, “I think I’m done, but not yet.” Suddenly, the Barney train lit up, lights flashed, whistles blew, and Barney yelled, “ALL ABOARD!” I was startled, but I picked my brush up, and I knew that Myles thought that I was done too.
Brushstroke by brushstroke, each bright colored paint, I called on the Holy Spirit to guide me. Inspired by the love of my starting lineup, Timmy Vachon #28, Catcher, good looking, blond hair, [a never give up] red rubber bracelet and orange crocks. Myles Beckley #5, with a heart MYLES blue rubber bracelet, great bouncy, wild hair, wearing a number 5 silver necklace, proudly holding the Gold Glove above his head, Allie Cibulas, #7 blowing a bubble gum pink bubble, braids and pink “A” on her uniform, is my girl power in the book! Her mom Sandy is another close friend. When I first met her to do a painting of Allie, she told me she went to U of M and didn’t know me but knew of the accident. She said she had always prayed for me in college. Now it was my turn to pray for her. There is Luke Swiecicki #3, high energy, all boy! blonde with big brown eyes along with a legion of other players, coaches, cheerleaders, sports editor, and my DAD, who joined our Heavenly game, on May 3, 2011, the general manager, the GREAT, Thomas W. Chisholm, Sr., but in his free time he is PLAYING GOLF in Augusta or St. Andrews and putting whip cream on every thing and anything he can in Heaven. To me, they were ALL SAINTS, that walked this earth. As they celebrate their victory in Heaven, I pray that my art honors each family.
There were two very special and powerful endorsements for me, written by twins who had lost their brothers. One was written by Tom MacLean, Tim’s twin, who expressed “the sheer joy of playing sports with friends that you love and cherish, and the captured memories of the simple yet all-important competition that never seem to fade, are so fresh, so vivid and so real”. Anne Girardot Vachon’s daughter, Mary Claire, age 11, who lost her twin brother, also named Timmy, is quoted as saying, “My brother has been playing baseball in heaven for four years, and he is always there for me, inspiring me to do my best, in everything I do.” Anne has much to be proud of, in her grieving, she has radiated light and love. She is that rare stained glass that shines like a spotlight on us all, especially when she talks about her Timmy!
Thirty six years ago, a mission was set in my heart. In God’s divine timing, and my openness to his will, I hope “Timothy’s Glove,” will heal, comfort and bring peace to those who have loved and lost. I pray that my book will be a NEW WINDOW INTO HEAVEN, with a view of all of our loved one’s in the ARMS OF GOD. I know that we are NEVER, EVER truly apart from our loved ones in Heaven-we STAY connected in our minds and in our hearts. I know their HAND is lovingly on our shoulder, inspiring, guiding, and sometimes pushing us to grow. Love is eternal, and someday we will all be together again, in the BIG LEAGUES IN THE SKY, IN HEAVEN, WHERE THE GAME NEVER ENDS!!!