Monday, November 24, 2014

I will act ...


Remember, LuLu, my pink bike? About three years ago my husband gave her to me for my sixtieth birthday. He wanted to get me an iPad. I asked for a bike instead. Since Gary’s death I haven’t had the heart to ride her much. This summer was a hard one. I barely rode LuLu. I didn’t water my flowerbeds not even once (thank goodness we had a lot of rain). My potting shed became a catch-all of random tools and extension cords and what-not. Sadly I didn’t plant one new flower. These were things I loved to do. Mourning takes so much energy and causes a thousand little deaths.
But, here’s the deal: This morning I decided I’m going to act myself into a better way of feeling. Gary and I subscribed to that philosophy throughout our life together. Just because you don’t feel like doing something, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Okay, I’m sad. I may be sad forever. But I’ve decided it’s time not to act sad. If I act like I’m not sad, by playing with my grandchildren, taking my pup, Atticus, for a walk, or riding my pink bike, then one day, just maybe, possibly, I’ll wake one morning and actually not be sad. See, act yourself into a bettering way of feeling.
 My Bible reading this morning was Psalms 3:3 I should quit being surprised when I randomly turn to a passage and it seems like it was written that morning just for me.
“But You, O, Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and He answered me from His Holy Place. I laid down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid...”
Mourning has a component of fear to it. When you lose someone you love, you fear you will never feel normal again. You fear you will never smile again. You fear that you will become invisible and eventually become just a smudge on a window. You fear you’ll forget what joy feels like. Yes, there is so much to fear about being left alone without a hand to hold. But you know what? Every night for the last year I’ve gone to sleep and every morning I have awakened unharmed. Mourning has not killed me. It has not run off my children and grandchildren. My friends still surround me. My mom still loves me. A sunrise still takes my breath away.
Oh, God, You are my shield! You have held me up!
Okay, it snowed four inches last night, so I guess LuLu will have to snuggle up in the garage for a little while yet. And, I don’t feel like turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie, or remembering what all I should be thankful for. But, I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to bake a  pie, smash some potatoes, make cranberry sauce and as we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, I am going to teach my granddaughters how to make napkin rings for our Thanksgiving table. And one day, hopefully, sooner than later, I’ll enjoy those things again.
“I cried aloud... and He answered me... He sustained me. I will not be afraid...”
I will act grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear ones.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I want to be there...


What to write about? Are you bored with me yet? Sometimes, I am. I can’t seem to burst through this clouded bubble I find myself in. I’m tired of including myself in my own prayers. I’m tired of making a decision one day and doubting it the next. I’m tired of the lack of clarity. I’m tired of God.
I didn’t mean to write that last sentence. I had no intention of writing that sentence. I haven’t even thought that sentence until right this minute. But, if I am to be honest I guess it’s true. I am tired of God. I’m tired of Him making me guess. I’m tired of this code language He seems to speak. I’m tired of weeping and begging for clarity and not receiving it.
I think I finally get the rebellious attitudes of the Israelites of long, long ago. You know, the whiny ones? God led them and fed them with such awesome flair, yet they still whined. I mean God placed this huge bonfire in the sky every night to remind them that He was standing by. During the day this incredible cloud probably the size and bulk of the Grand Canyon led them through the hot desert. Can you imagine the shade that thing offered? And, to top it off, He made their supper every night. If I were a woman back in the day who herded the goats, took care of the fourteen sons every man seemed required to sire, and was expected to make all of their clothes right down to their sandals, I don’t think you would have heard one ungrateful chirp from me when supper came floating down from the sky. Even with all the hands-on guidance and nurturing, God still made them wander in circles in the desert for 40 years! Forty years! Manna or not, they had to be tired, right? No wonder they built that silly cow idol thingy. That stupid hunk of gold made about as much sense as God did to them. “Feed us.  Give us a road map.  Then lead us around in circles until most of us die off. What’s the point?” Yep, they were tired.
Don’t get me wrong. God has taken care of me.  Since the day Gary died, He has crowded the room with His Presence. Yet ... I’m still tired that every step has been so ... so ... so like a guessing game.
Yep, I’m tired. I’m saying stupid things. Things that don’t make sense. Things I don’t even believe. Things I don’t mean. I’m not tired of God, not really. But, I do wish He’d fire up that pillar just for one night. Write something on a wall. Give me a dream or a vision.
I’m tired. I want ... to be there already. This one step in front of the other; This breathe in and breathe out; This one day at a time business is breaking me down.
I’m so very tired.
“Father, forgive me.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New. Different. Change.

My footprints. My new direction.


Once again I have been remiss in my blogging duties. At this stage of my life, things keep getting away from me, little things like hours, days and even months. Is it just me or does time speed up as we age? Like before age 50 you’re struggling to climb up a mountain, after 50 you loose your footing and start sliding quickly down the other side over boulders and thorns and all things sharp.
My mourning journey is now one year and one month down the road. I can already tell the second year is going to be just as hard, but in a different way. The first year was all about survival. Breathe in and out. One foot in front of the other. Change out of your PJs. Life was accomplished in very small chunks. Year two, it seems is about decisions, questions that will not relent until they are answered.
What now? These words follow me around like a shadow. They are prickly, haunting at times and seem about twelve feet tall. Gary and I lived our lives on the move. We were doers. We were out there amongst the masses, hopefully making a difference, hopefully pleasing God. These days I find myself longing for the sidelines and being at ‘one’ with the wallpaper. Quiet rooms are havens. My world is full with just the dog, and me and sometimes the dog isn’t all that welcomed. I want to shake this cocooning phase, but I find myself just wanting to burrow myself in deeper. Surely this will pass, won’t it?
In the last few days I have been able to make some big decisions. I am selling my house and now I know that I am moving to another city to be close to one set of grandbabies. Their parents either feel like they’ve won the lottery or gotten the short end of the straw. Only time will tell. But thankfully, I was welcomed by all sons and their families ( right, Nathan?) and had a hard decision to make. I have chosen and the thought of receiving daily hugs from a grandchild or two (or four) is more longed for than air or water. I am at peace with this decision.
A new house, a new town, a new church, and some new friends. However, dear old friends, please don’t erase me from your address book. I still need you. I will always need you. We raised our children together and built a church together. We are bonded at the heart and nothing will ever change that.
New. Different. Change. Those words have elected presidents. Yeah, I know, it’s not always worked out. But, I guess it’s up to me to see that it does in my life, my new life. Keep praying for me, please. My legs are shaky and the yearning to sit crossed-leg in the back of a dark closet is strong. Your help will always be welcomed.
“Beloved Father, hold me close and don’t let go. Strengthen my grip so I won’t either. Heal our broken hearts. Make us stronger, kinder, more loving, more vulnerable, humble and resolved. Teach us how to do all of the above without too much sorrow. We thank You for Your faithfulness. We thank You for new beginnings. We thank You for the thumps we receive from the Spirit. Without them we would be completely clueless. We love You. We love Your Son.”