Sunday, August 21, 2005

"Whoa"

I'm a horse-lover. "Whoa!" is a different term for one who loves to ride than for one who is afraid. For one who loves to ride it is more for calming the horse when it is too frenetic...or if you need it to stop right away when you sense danger. It is NOT something one says when you are getting ready to barrel race. I enjoyed barrel racing...the speed, the focus, the power...and then it comes quickly to a halt. I also enjoyed racing down the beach...almost without a care in the world.

A non-horse person says "whoa" a lot when they're riding. Perhaps they feel the horse is out to get them or they feel afraid or out of control.

Maybe that's the point for me. I know God is in control. The sun comes up the same every morning. In the book of Jeremiah it says, "Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for light by day, and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The Lord of hosts is His name..." Jeremiah 31:35 The placement of the stars doesn't change and the tennis shoe in the Mt. St. Helens volcanic layers says "millions of years" didn't have to take but an eruption and a cooling. If there is a God who created all this order, then He is certainly big enough to be aware of my situation.

"Whoa" comes out in different ways for me. I think I must tell myself to slow down...it's easy to get busier and busier because the grieving goes deeper and hurts more. When I look at Michael's picture and I look in those bright blue eyes...that someone else has now...I feel like he's looking at me and we're talking, but my talking is to God and asking, "why can't he come back to me?" When you're married for a while there are times when you talk without saying anything.... When you're trying to tell one another to say something to one of the kids or "I see you across the crowded room." I know I need to start looking at photos and writing down stories. Men and women just tell stories differently. Now I've got double duty...to write down the way Michael would tell them and my way. (Even if I remembered the details "right," he always told the story better. :) )

I discovered Michael's list of stories he wanted to write. I'm disappointed by that...what a treat children will be missing...and adults as well. I don't think Michael ever really stopped being a kid at heart. I'll miss that story and many others that were in his head and heart, but today I discovered pieces of an old story he DID write...now there's more to read and discover about my husband. We used to live by the challenge to learn something new about each other every day. We didn't always complete the challenge...but we kept the intrigue. Maybe I'll share some of the stories some day....part of 'the rest of his story.'

Speaking of stories, my oldest has been seeking out Michael's friends. I was intrigued by his reasoning, but totally agreed: "For one, I can hear stories that I probably wouldn't have heard and, two, there was a reason he chose them as friends..." "Whoa" (means 'cool' this time.)

I have a young friend who is also smitten with the horse bug. Most non-horse people don't think to tell you about a horse they've seen or show much interest if you talk about a ride you've been on...not so with my friend. We have a secret delight in sharing when we've gotten to see the new foals in town...or talk about a horse lesson. (The horse farm moved out of the residential area and we are a wee bit sad...mad...NOT glad. Sorry, that's the Dr. Seuss upbringing.) Most people have an area of interest...and regarding that, one usually finds people who have the same interest...at least for part of their "circles of friends."

Grieving is like that. A friend gave me a book, Tear Soup, that kind of identifies the phases of finding-who-you-can-talk-to-now-about-your-grief. When I see one of the other recent widows I sometimes dis my friends without realizing it. I gravitate quickly to the other widow. I know people understand. Right now a lot of people want to talk....or ask questions. But, maybe they won't tomorrow. Okay, but I can't worry about tomorrow because I only have today. And what about today? It's been long. Oh, and it's not today any more. "Whoa." (Time to stop and add more later.)

Here I am at "later." I didn't publish the stuff above because I wasn't ready. I want to be real...but in doing so I realize things may be pretty raw...is that okay?

Tomorrow I am saying WHOA. I need to simply stop. Tonight I found myself alone. Every child had somewhere to be and bless the friends who shuttled them there. One studied Chinese over in Concord, another went to marching band practice after his waterpolo practice, and the younger 2 went to youth group game night...but should I even mention that one of them drank a "happy meal smoothie?" I took the opportunity to watch our wedding video. Whoa. Surreal.

In the sea of faces from 19 years ago I see many who have gone before Michael...some who I know chose to follow Jesus and others who chose to believe this is all there is. I JUST CAN'T FATHOM THAT THIS IS ALL THERE IS. I stand outside many nights...whoa...no, WHOA. The billions of stars...the Big Dipper sits over our house. If you stand in the right place, it looks like it is emptying out into my neighbor's chimney. How do we put that together? The enormity of space and the whole of the created earth...and our finite humanity that is alive and well...biking 22 miles...talking and being sweet...getting ready to fix brunch together...and gone the next minute? Somehow our finiteness fits into the love of God. He's brought an order to the earth and space, He has a plan and purpose for our lives. I cling to His words:
"For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'" Jeremiah 29:11

It's fine that He has plans, but I feel so clueless some days. While I don't feel like I have a calamity to Job's extent...my heart feels quite calamitized (can I use that in Scrabble?)....and future? The future is
a part of tomorrow. I don't have tomorrow yet...even though most of my days bleed into tomorrow. They say time heals...but I think the walk to the empty bed gets longer every night....and hope...what is the hope? I can hope in temporal things...pretty empty...been there...or eternal things. I choose something more. In the midst of the crazy days my faith makes my hope real. Smile...because it's about LOVE. "But now abide faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." I Corinthinas 13:13

Why does God keep bringing so much of my stuff back to love? If you remember, I shared at Michael's Celebration of Life service that my journey this past year has been about understanding how much God loves me....which came out of the question I had for God: What does it mean to love other people?

Today God showed His love to me....His care and tender mercies. My foot doctor appointment went very well and my friend drove almost an hour one way to go with me to the Social Security office. To top it off, the Social Security Counselor was kind and funny. (yes, there are quite a few things that we can laugh at in walking this road...laugh or cry...sometimes you just have to admit things can be so odd they are funny.) God helped me through a Costco trip (Michael and I did that together) and a sports store trip for swim suits and goggles. A lady and her girls helped us with the myriad of goggles. Would that be anti-fog or choosing a 180 degree angled vision with reflective lenses? And are these for girls or guys?? After we decided the lady commented that she new Michael...and "he was a good man. He was very kind to my girls when he spoke with them at AWANA." That was a special touch on the day. Another friend brought a ham dinner. Most of us ate together....like we used to do. After dinner the house cleared out. The phone normally rings all through the evening. Not tonight. I watched our wedding...and I wanted to share that with you...those that were there and those that weren't. You each have had a part in the tapestry of our marriage...which is part of a larger tapestry that we will turn over to the front one day and say, "WHOA."

I'm thankful for you.

2 Comments:

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Heidi said...

WHOA! I havn't asked God "why" in a long time. Why did you call Pastor Mike home. But as I read this I asked again.
But again he quickly reminded
me in between my tears that his timing is perfect not ours. Annie I appreciate you sharing what's in your head and heart with us. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the kids often.

Love and hugs,
Heidi

 
At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annie,
your thoughts leave me thoughtless.
thank you for inviting me to your sacred space. it is all consuming and I am filled with prayers as I read.
I too have a passion for horses. something that I have been connected to since a little girl.
I am glad that I still have an indirect connection to your personal life.
you are always dear to me.
in love in christ,
holly

 

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