Does it matter?

I’ve written about my Dad and siblings (The Oldest Girl, A Little Boy, The Dreamer, A Tortured Soul). Sometimes creative, sometimes just letting words flow from my heart into the page. My mind is filled with questions without answer. My mind is replete with scenarios that get called up time and again.

I come from a large family. Somewhere along the way I’ve landed on my “own”. Out of all my siblings three of us remain. The connection between us, if there ever was one, is gone. One sits all alone having recently lost his wife. They never had children of their own. The other navigates the limitations of his aging body along with his ailing wife, somehow alone.

How does all this play out?

I’ve watched my Dad’s end (The Unexpected) in horror. My Mom’s strength and vitality withered away slowly. Her dignity shattered as I had to care for her in every way. Her lifeless frame shipped like cargo(The Unforgettable Crate), words said to me by the mortuary.

The marking of time. Such a strange phenomenon. Like an eternity, yet like yesterday.

I wonder, does it make a difference whether you have a lot of family or not? Does closeness remain? Are we really in this together? In the end will I be surrounded or alone?

In the end, does any of this matter?

“The challenge of death comes to us all, and no one can die for another. Everyone must fight his own battle with death by himself, alone…I will not be with you then, nor you with me”

Luther

Waiting Room

Sitting in the waiting room flooded by memories of my girl. It’s an interesting phenomena that I never know from where it’s going to come.

The thoughts of those first visits where so much unknown lingered, to those “final” visits where she could barely keep herself up. In fact, there’s the one where she was literally slouched in her wheelchair not even able to open her eyes. My goodness what a journey!

Today I sit, by myself, waiting for my body to be put through prodding and pushing. No anxiety of the outcome. No wondering what’s next. Simply sitting here flooded with the memories of my girl.

Heading into her fourth year that she went to glory, yet the images are of “today”. Vivid, gripping my heart to a degree I thought wasn’t possible – again! Sometimes I wonder if the pain of her absence will subside, then these days happen with a brazen reminder that the gap in my heart remains wide open.

And, so, the testing and the prodding left me bruised and achy. But this physical pain will subside. It’s outcome is already in the hands of the One who holds my every moment in His hands.

The waiting room will come again…I know. For now, I will rest and recover. For now, I have peace because the God of peace is with me.

The One

What if I had been born into another family?

What if my Mother was my best friend?

What if my Dad was my hero?

The perfect parents…the perfect upbringing…

BUT who, what dictates “perfection”?

What if I hadn’t been sexually abused as a child?

What if I hadn’t been beaten by my protector?

What if my parenting was flawless?

The fairy tale life…the life worth emulating…

BUT where do we find “perfection”?

Not excusing, but not demanding answers either. I’m transported to the last doctor’s appointment of my daughter’s journey. The Doctor said to me, “Why didn’t you bring her here sooner?” That sharp dagger that I had been wielding, was plunged into my soul by another. Speechless, lost in the barrage of accusations that already invaded my soul. Yes, if only…and, the what ifs…

We are a peculiar people. We swear that we will never. We demand our rights. We all want something better than Eden. There’s eternity in our hearts. There’s a sense of right and wrong. There’s a longing desire for The One who alone is perfect. Who alone loves perfectly.

“O soul are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior And life more abundant and free

Turn you eyes upon Jesus / Look full in His wonderful face / And the things of earth will grow strangely dim / In the light of His glory and grace…”

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Alan Jackson

Counterpart

The weight of darkness even amidst the light. The loud, relentless chatter amidst the silence. Sinking…sinking…sinking. How is it possible to sink without knowing it?

My unwelcome Companion has a counterpart. Not always, but at times it makes its appearance. I’m continually learning to surrender and accept The Companion, but it’s counterpart shakes me to the core.

I have not learned its tricks, yet. When I know it’s here it’s because I’m sinking in its grip. And, honestly, it lulls me to a degree that it feels soothing and inviting. Not until I’m “outside” it’s lure can I see it’s horrifying end and destruction.

As a Believer in Jesus Christ, I am fully aware that my life is not my own; that my life is a gift; that it’s beginning and end are not mine to wield. Yet, in the midst of my sinking thoughts, this Truth is not something I go to.

My sister took her own life, so you’d think remembering the heartache and devastation this left behind, that would shake me into reality.

Or…focusing on the many, many blessings around me. Or…I’m sure you can write a litany of things that SHOULD knock some sense into me. Yup, I’ve had those lists for others, and the shake of the head when they did not keep my list. Oh, may God forgive me for thinking I had all the answers. HE is the only answer and the only One who knows each person intricately and individually, including me.

And, so, I’m here, looking back at “that pit”, AGAIN. Grateful, that God in His amazing grace and mercy has plucked me out – AGAIN; that today the “sun-is-shining” and that the next step is all that is needed.

Grateful for another moment of clarity. 

Unending Grief

It comes in waves

Waves that relentlessly pound

Waves that smash you into a wall

One picture…one memory…is all it takes

The reality that a warm hug is not an option

that she’ll never walk through the door

that she’s gone – forever!

The emptiness of her absence brings

a sting that doesn’t subside

a deep ache that permeates my very soul

Say her name…please say her name

Remember her…please remember her

My beautiful girl, how I miss you…

Limited

There is an allure to the heroic. The little engine that “couldn’t” just doesn’t sound appealing. There’s a mindset of pushing ones limits; of attempting the impossible; setting the ultimate record.

Somehow the mother who “just raised” her children is not as heroic as that woman who conquered the corporate world. Funny thing is, that even when we say “this doesn’t bother us”, it may just put a bolder in our shoe that just makes for some funky walking.

I hit a wall…again. It surprised me, yet it didn’t. It discouraged me, yet it didn’t. Such mixture of emotions. Such a sense of failure. Such a reminder of being a limited being.

Ever since I can remember I’ve had to have “my own back”. Watching out for myself, and, kinda-sorta being there for everyone in need. After my daughter passed away I literally fell apart. My therapist reminded me that the passing of my daughter was NOT what undid me. I almost fired her for the umpteenth time. How dare she say that! But in the depth of my being I wondered…

She went on to say that I had kept “myself” together with all sorts of things. My daughter’s passing was simply the event that unraveled, even the duct tape.

Ah the reality of being a limited human being. Not something we like to admit. Just recently I heard a podcast that spoke about a “God-complex” wanting to be everyones savior, including me. They mentioned that it takes humility to accept that we need food, sleep, rest, etc. in order to keep functioning. That in our pride we don’t trust God to handle ‘fill in the blank’. Ouch!

Ya think I would have this lesson down packed, right? NOT!!! We are forgetful people that need to be reminded, time and again.

Watching my daughter ebb away with absolutely nothing I could do to stop this, I thought, I had grasped my limited abilities. But, no, I still need to be reminded.

I’ve been meditating on the following:

Job 38:1-7, Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:  “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.  “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.  Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?  On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

I am limited! God is not!

Ephesians 3:14-19, For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Companion

“I thought you had left me for good”, was my thought. “But, oh, how I sense your tenacity”, the surrendered sigh echoed.

The companion I did not choose. The companion I did not invite, yet here you are as present as ever. Somehow, I don’t fear you anymore. Somehow, I “almost” see you coming, grab my hibernation attire and sink back for it’s duration. How long will you stay, is as unknown as the heaviness of your hand. That is still an area that frustrates this control freak.

How I wish I could control your arrival. Heck, you may never be welcomed, if I had my say. But, no, you are there just lurking around the corner, waiting to make your appearance known.

Your familiar presence can still rattle my routine.

Depression with all it’s intricate angles…

Depression is the name of my companion…

…a companion I never chose.

If you love me…

“If you loved me then ________.”

Depending on the source of that output this could be an extremely packed statement. It can also carry all kinds of implications and connotations. It’s an exhaustive list, for sure, one which I would do a disservice to attempt to look at every angle. I’ll simply explore a few of my own personal instances.

The time I said to my husband, “If you loved me you would buy me a diamond ring.” We were broker than broke. It was an absurd request (my thinking “now”, not back then).

Times I was asked to give up of my physical self in order to prove my love for the person.

Times as I parent I questioned my love for my children.

In our  lives trajectory we bring this same mentality to our relationship with a Holy God. We echo, “If God loved me then this _______, wouldn’t happen or would happen or wouldn’t be this way, etc.” We can take it as far as saying, “I can’t love a God that would allow _______.” And so it goes…

Our mind and thinking are skewed by life and its complications and limitations.

In the mystery of life, God in His mercy and grace, continues to transform my mind by His Living Word. There are a gazillion voices that bombard my mind. I need something that is “unchanging, and true”.

God tells me that He loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. This truth settles me and assures me.

Does the love of God place me in a protective cocoon where nothing ugly and bad will touch me? No! However, it gives me hope beyond the here and now. It settles my tortured soul. It brings me to a place of rest despite the turmoil. AND, one day, when I am but a shell in the dirt, my spirit will soar like the eagles and I will be with the One that loved me with an everlasting love.

That, my friends, is pure unadulterated LOVE ❤

In Process

“We are all in the process of dying.” The words came through the connection and settled into my soul. Turning them over and over. Unsettling the innermost part of my being. Dissecting each angle, as if to attempt to break the code.

Life and Deatha mystery beyond our reach

A short life snatched. A long life lived. Not enough time…BUT is there ever a “right time”? Yet, a question resounds, “Do I live as if I was in the process of dying?” And, many more follow:

  • What would I want my last words to be?
  • How would I want to be remembered?
  • How will I be remembered?
  • What will be said of me?

Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Another April

Another April℘

I sit here, a few days short before another birth-day. LORD willing, fifty-four is in the horizon. Pondering that (age) for a moment…if I lived as long as my mother, then I have twenty-four more years to go. TWENTY-FOUR! Yup, that would mean I have less life to live than I’ve lived thus far. And, I have lived beyond my sister’s forty-one short years. And, way beyond my daughter’s thirty years. Now, I have a granddaughter, who I hope to enjoy for many many years.

Legacy. Women who share the same bloodline.

What lives on? What stays behind? What do we impart that creates ripples of joy and a sense of pride? What do we impart that brings guilt, shame…heartache and pain?

The intricacy of life is puzzling…mysterious. What I had said, “I’d never do”, that I have done. What I had said, “I’d never say”, I have said. How easy it is for me to look back an relentlessly dissect my mother’s mothering. Oh, how easy it is to cast a judgmental light upon all her “mistakes”, while I cry out for mercy and forgiveness for the insurmountable mistakes I have made and continue to make.

What is it about life that lessons are best learned while we are navigating it, rather than learning from others mistakes? Do we dare say, “we have arrived”, while not realizing that the next lesson is right around the corner?

I am the older woman. I am the gray haired shadow of that once cocky being. I am the one that feels that NOT being here – anymore – would alleviate all the sorrow and pain. I am, by God’s amazing grace, still here able to see a new life come into this world. My breath is a gift. How long? Only God knows, and He is worthy of all my trust.

Yup, another birthday is on the horizon. It will come and go. Life will continue. But may I never forget that I have been given much, much to be grateful for♥†