Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Loss and Awakening to Joy

Luke and I lost a dear friend and mentor to death this past week.
An older gentleman whose precious wife had died just a few short years back and he has followed her Home.
He has been battling cancer for some time and his battle is finally over.
A huge hole is left in many people's lives included mine.
I lived with them during a May term while I was in college. A whole 5 sweet quiet weeks to get to observe and learn from two precious people. June taught me how to make sweet breads using whole wheat flours and grated carrots and chopped apples. Nathan taught me to appreciate gardening and showed me his gardening and horticulture books. He was a Master.
It was at their house that I prepared for my wedding. The last night I slept as a single was in their white guest bedroom with the antique furniture and little night shade beside the bed.
It was in their hall bathroom that I attempted to curl my fine straight hair before putting on the little tiara and pulling down the thin white veil.
They had hung up the art work I had given them on the living room wall all matted and framed and pretty. Nathan gave it back to me when June died. He told me that he wanted to be sure I got it instead of someone else when he passed away.
That seemed so far away, but it was just a week ago.
When I was hugely pregnant with Nater Mater he drove over to our little house with a trunk load of spirea transplants. It was enough to plant along our entire fence line and still give some to a friend.
A year ago he gave me a 5 gallon bucket of daffodils and tiger Lilly bulbs he was thinning out. The kids and I dug random holes all along the tree line, placed them in and covered them up. They bloomed for the first time this past spring.
Every week he asked after my family who has been spread all over the world. They were a couple who cared, loved and gave freely and deeply.
I am still wading through the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
I say wading because it's a book I want to digest while reading and some pages take several readings for me to digest it.
Life Giving Words need to be chewed carefully and thoughtfully and some days I have to come back to it several times for that to happen.
The same happens when I read Scripture. I can't just speed read through it and "get it." I need time and quiet and space. Time I don't get much of in this season of my life.
I read this the week Nathan died. I cried. Hot tears running down my cheeks blurring my vision. Her words are in purple
Daily discipline is the door to full freedom."
Joy is always worth the wait and fully living worth the believing.
But awakening to joy awakens to pain.
Joy and pain, they are but 2 arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don't numb themselves to really living (or run away from it).
What will I lose?
Eventually I am guaranteed to lose EVERY earthly thing I have ever possessed.
WHEN will I lose it?
In a few weeks?
How much TIME have I got before the next loss?
WHO will I lose?
And that is the definite: I will lose EVERY single person I have ever loved. Either abruptly or eventually. All human relationships end in loss....
What in the world, in a world of certain loss, is GRACE?"
I then stopped and wrote more Thankfulness for my day.
1. Dimples in grinning faces
2. rosebud lips dripping with a sweet Popsicle
3. Little boys pretending to be kittens
4. warm eggs in a next
5. treasure hunt for eggs
6. eyelashes on sleeping cheeks
7. gossamer spider webs outside my kitchen window
8. Dew drops on the web
We give thanks for a reason. For us. For His glory.
All new life comes out of dark places and hasn't it always been so? Out of darkness God spoke forth the teeming life...
Out of the darkness of the cross, the world transfigures into new life.
Loss is suffering.
And there is no other way... It is the suffering that has the realest possibility to bear down and deliver grace. And grace (that only God can provide) that chooses to bear the cross of suffering OVERCOMES that suffering.
This is how we LIVE in life THROUGH PAIN.
Eph. 1:11-- He makes all things work out according to His plan."
Is this how I learn to let go of things I know I should? Is this how I move on? Is this how one moves forward after the loss of a child or the struggle of infertility or both? Is this how one allows ones self to open their hearts to love and loss instead of holding it closed and tight? Is this how one can forgive after being rejected or slandered?
It sounds simple, but it's not.
It's excruciatingly hard.
I want to ask, 'Lord WHY?"
How Long?
He says eat of my Daily Bread and be filled.
I know in the end. The Final End. His Return that all will be set right and there won't be any pain or suffering or loss.
In the meantime, I live Daily IN HIM drinking in His Word to heal an overwhelmed and weary heart and I can live in Joy. I can look out my front window every spring and see the daffodiles and Tiger lilies bloom and remember dear friends.
I can give Thanks and see the Joy in the little details of life.
True Contentment and JOY.

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