Friday, December 02, 2005

Star-Crossed


The Griefshare ministry is so very helpful. If one wants an education on their own grief walk ("what does it mean to grieve?") or on grieving in order to help someone else, then this is the material with which to be familiar. I haven't been to the Griefshare class yet, but I receive a daily email devotional. Short, but profound.

I'm not really sure where I am. There is saddness I carry, but there have been some neat things in the past couple of days. Nothing like starting back to work and the first day is the first of 3 days (4 seatings) of our biggest women's event of the year. Some ladies bring family, some neighbors, and some bring people who have blessed their lives. They bring them to say thank you, to share Jesus, to give their time and share fellowship at a wonderful evening. I think the guests could easily feel like stars.

I feel so loved right now. I walked out of the building and into the chill of the clear night. It was almost like God didn't want anything in the way of Him and me. The lighted cross on the Worship center appeared almost separate from the building itself and part of the night sky. Other stars shone at different points above and beyond the cross. One sparkled with a blue that makes me feel like a kid inside, "Hey, look at THAT star!" Pause. "Why is it blue?"

Earlier in the evening I had the privilege of seeing an old friend, ladies who helped paint my house, and some young ladies attending their very first Christmas Extravaganza. I watched a group of men serve the ladies with grace and joy. I had ladies talk to me about Michael. (Hmmmm...long thoughts about him serving the ladies last year.) Sometimes people apologize about not having talked to me sooner, but the more time goes by I see that their timing is actually the right timing. If they need to learn a different way, God is big enough to show them how to be the next time. Sometimes they are dealing with their own stuff and lack the strength to say anything earlier...it's in His time. I suppose it is much like my own inability in these days, to remember other people's birthdays or remember that they have losses which envelop their hearts right now.

When I arrived home and got out of my car I looked to the sky. There were those same stars that I saw over at the church. Still there, still shining bright, no power cord...still in the same order. I can't help but see the cross intersecting those stars...bridging the gap some how. A touch of the Creator deliberately reaching out to His creation.

An intersection. Like a cross. At an intersection one must make a decision. Either go through it, whether that is straight, left, or right, or, take a detour. It reminds me of that...ick...grieving process. In any case, one has to go THROUGH the intersection. You can't really go around it. I suppose one can take a detour, but he or she would eventually have to come back to the intersection. Detours just delay the process.

If stars were a road map we'd be pretty safe with their direction because they are always the same. I said in the beginning I didn't really know where I was. The thing I am confident about is that on this vast earth, I feel connected to the God who created all this around me...the people, the heavens, the cross. Ah, what will we do with the cross? How does it fit with the God in the heavens...and then with us here on earth. Could it be love? Beyond the facades of the man-made lights, the shiny displays in stores, the lights and decorations going up on houses all around...there is a truth that one has to come back to...

An historical truth. A spiritual truth. A baby. A baby Who brought LOVE into the world. One day we will all have to come back to this intersection. If we detoured at the "intersection" at some point in our lives...we have to come back and make a choice.

I'm choosing to embrace the love. The God Who IS love. He comforts the pain. He covers a multitude of sin. He restores my perspective of life beyond this daily glaring reminder that my best friend no longer walks this earthly road with me. Michael made me feel like a star. He built bridges in our relationship when we felt we were at different places...he crossed bridges with me when we went to new places. Beyond the bridges he built in our relationship, he was a bridge-builder for others. He connected children to the Creator, to laughter, to relationship. He connected our children to unconditional love. He connected adults to the One who could help them through tough times, to the child inside them, to the One who could bring peace to their out-of-control lives. A special bridge he built was to the heart of a cancer patient when he had her shave HIS head...a connection of 'sharing the road'...sharing the journey...like with the people he 'shared the road with on bikes.' (Both in the gym and out in the country or riding for the Diabetes foundation.) For now, in this time and space, the only bridges he can actually build are with the stars...they continue to "twinkle in our world."

It's late...I guess my thoughts have crossed into the "infinity and beyond zone" and some of you may be wanting to call the funny farm. I'm sure there is plenty of grammar I could fix but I'm getting a little cross-eyed. Smile. I appreciate you so much. I don't know who all of you are, but I know you're out there...you share with me along the way...STARS in my life...sharing some direction and sparkle when the days are dark.

Annie
p.s. just remembering my brother...it's been 18 years to the day when he took his journey...

6 Comments:

At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annie,

Actually, I was just thinking about how great your grammar was!

You ARE a star, and I love you!

Terri

 
At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annie,

Interesting that you mentioned your brother. By far my most memorable moment about Michael was when we was preaching at CEBC. It was an evening service in what I knew as the singles room. I think it was 1A. The room at the highest level. It was the time year where the sun was setting over Mission Bay during the time Michael was preaching. I was sitting in the very back. As Michael started his sermon, his introduction concerned your brother, specifically his death. As Michael preached about your brother, a golden glow surrounded his head. At first I thought there was a problem with my eyes. I closed them. I rubbed them. I tried everything, but the golden glow would not go away. I thought it might be a reflection from the setting sun. It wasn't. It was absolutely the strangest thing I had ever seen. I have never seen anything like it before or since. I remember the story about your brother was quite moving. Then Michael stopped and went on to the rest of his sermon. And the glow disappeared. I have thought of it often through the years. I have no explanation on any level. But something must have been going on in the spirital realm as Michael honored your brother. And now you are honoring him.

God's blessings,
Glenn

 
At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annie,

I have been thinking about you and praying for you alot over this last week. Coming home from church this week my kids were talking about going to heaven, most likely something started in Sunday School. My son, Jonathan, wanted to know if he died and went to Heaven if family he knew would meet him in Heaven. I said yes. He said our cat Marble would be there too. I smiled at him in the rear view mirror. Just then my daughter, Erin, brightened up and said, Pastor Mike would meet us there wouldn't he Mommy? I answered Of course, he would and he would be very excited to see you. Jonthan was very pleased to know that the magic quarter man would be there in Heaven to greet him. Mike has blessed us all in so many ways. Jonathan is in the Joyful Learners class and Mike always made it a point to stop in the hallway and say hi to him and to check in on Jonathan if we had to go to a different service than the 11:30am. You know, Annie, I wanted to drop in and bless you with some words of encouragment and after reading your entry you have blessed me. Remember there is always someone praying!

MarySue

 
At 6:49 AM, Blogger Dan and Pat said...

Annie,

Your posts challenge me in so many ways - to go deeper in my walk with God, bypassing the easy formulas; to make the kind of impact on my world that Mike did (and still does); and of course to continue praying for you and others I know who are grieving.

Thank you for taking the time to share with all of us. You are definitely making an impact!

You are loved and cared for from out here in Orlando.

Dan and Pat

 
At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Mary Beth Stowe said...

Annie, that was a TERRIFIC heart-felt piece! That is a special gift to be able to translate the special "word pictures" God gives us (like the "intersection" illustration)so that it touches others as well! Thanks for letting me share a little of what you're going through. It brought back fond memories of Mike giving me a "job" to do when I was in the midst of my own emotional upheavals!

Take care, and God bless!

Love, MB

 
At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Annie, Thank you for introducing me to your blog site. I"m always inspired when I see you doing all you do and radiating God's love in the midst of deling with your grief. Memories are so precious and a way of keeping our loved ones alive in our hearts. I know you have many memories of Michael. I remember one special nite when we had a disability meeting. He told the story of how Jesus healed the crippled man who was let down through the roof by his friends. I get a little weary, working in the Precious Gems Class and Mike reminded me of how special our kids are to Jesus and that renewed my spirit. He was always popping in to say hello and see if everything was allright. What a faithful servant he was! Reta

 

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