Friday, March 17, 2006

Window Rain

We don’t know whose life we will touch, or, who will touch ours. God does. Michael touched a lot of lives. I meet new people weekly. For me those new introductions fill in parts of the rest of Michael’s story. It is all part of the weaving in God’s delicate and intricate plan. A plan of Amazing Love…Amazing Grace.

I picture myself sitting on my front lawn, leaning back on my arms, drinking in the sunshine, and watching the birds at play in the air. Serenity.

Reality. It’s been a rainy winter. My lawn has various-sized holes all around it due to an eager middle-schooler trying to dig up weeds and please his mom. “Please get the root out. And, you may use a shovel if you need to.” I suppose shovel was the word he heard. The holes have top soil in them now and maybe I’ll find time to go get grass seed.

As I try to comprehend how I have gotten to this 10 month mark without my best friend, I shake my head and realize it is 4 months after the 6 month mark and, well, here I am. My journey in the last couple of weeks has taken me from running away to realizing the passion that God has in pursuing me. The juxtaposition of knowing my children will never understand my pain to the realization that God understands my pain acutely.

A few days ago I was sitting in my car at a stoplight crying. It had been raining and there were remnants of rain on the window glass. It mostly blows off as I drive or darts quickly across the window and then… I stop again. Why would it be raining when it’s sunny and bright right here where I am? A drop of rain decides to gently drift down the side window. It is not readily seen at the side, but very real, very present. It bumps into other drops along the way which slightly alters its course, but alters it nonetheless.

I suppose we can predict the drop of rain will keep moving down the window, but one cannot really track where it will go. It hits the other droplets and is diverted. When I drive on the wind will hit it with a lot of force and then where will it travel? A friend joined me in this reflection and offered that it was kind of like returning home from college on breaks. A lot of things look the same—there is some predictability. But, in reality, few things will ever really be the same. Friends are engaged in new pursuits, others are attending college far away; even the family dynamics are shifted. Predictability. It can be nice.

Could we say God is predictable? I don’t have a complete answer for that one yet, or maybe I don’t want to. I can say things I know for sure. God has been faithful…every minute…every day…every week…yes, and every month. His love has been overwhelming to me…meeting me at the deepest places, connecting me with other people in timely scenarios. He is merciful. When I am at the end of “my” rope, He is the Rock I can stand on…immoveable, unshakeable.

Window rain…the picture of my continued grief co-existing with the reality of my stepping into new territory…new events…new family memories. The reality that the pain will not be predictable, but the Pursuer will be. God chases me with His love every day. He desires for me to know Him better. And His love? David tells us in the Psalms, over and over again, “it endures FOREVER.” Somehow I can see through the glass. I have a peace with where He has me…today.

Forever His,
Annie B.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


I have a temper. God has tempered it over the years. I ran away Thursday night. Am I proud of that? Was it really that bad? Temper goes two ways:

To temper…calm something that could get out of control
The temper…explosion of feeling

I slammed the front door and screamed. Maybe it was more of a thudded yell or a full-of-confusion sigh. I started running. So what if I only made it a block and a half. It is hard to run and sob at the same time. I hate that in the burst of a feeling I can’t explain the depth of my hurt to my children. They will never fully understand. (in a whisper I hear myself saying,...”but there is One who does…there IS One who does…”) I hear it, but the emotions of the moment keep me from embracing it. I kept walking fast and running in short bursts. I ended up at a dear friend’s house. She didn’t feel well, but she was so present for me.

Thursday and Friday were 2 of my hardest days. I sobbed most of both days.

I could paint a lovely picture of the birds singing outside and the sun warming up the first year blossoms on my potato bush. (It’s a cultivar from my original bush and it never flowered last year.) I could tell you about the flowering mulberries and my pink margarite daisy bush that is stupendous. Even my bromelliad has an amazing flower peeking out of the tube. (Creative, Intelligent God?!)

I could tell you, but I won’t. I love the spring. I was angry. “I don’t want to see the newness. I WANT MY OLD LIFE BACK.” In my mind I went looking for Michael. I could not find him. Along the route to work, any of 6 different ways, the roads are lined with budding trees. At the office I crumbled on the floor. Reflecting back, I somehow muddled through the days…also learning some tough ministry news…but God can work out those situations. I would not want them to feel guilty about their decisions just because I was having a hard day. It's His ministry and He'll do it His way.

This morning I was studying the mountain near us. It gives such fun pictures….Sometimes the top is covered; sometimes the bottom is covered….like problems that you know are deeper than what you see.

Speaking of mountains, I think of volcanoes. My 11 year old says that Yosemite has the potential to send up a geyser that could cover the U.S. because of the pyroclastic flow which is pushed across most of the Continental U.S. by the westerlies. (And how old is he?) Now that you are knee deep in contemplating THAT picture, I’ll attempt to move on.

I don’t advocate blowing up...but at times, especially in grief, we need to express the strong emotions. Even though I know it is normal, I was struck with how my grief was at a different place than my children’s. In trying to be 'less analytical' about my grief I all of a sudden didn't know what it was. My grief was this muddled up burst of emotion... mountain-sized. (Would you like to super-size that? No, it's big enough!)

As I moved through another day and a Women's Ministry workshop, God made His presence so real and profound in my life. The workshop helped many ladies see how God can speak to them in/through His Word. Somehow He brought me from a very deep place to stable ground. I continued to learn through the next couple of days...somehow trying to grasp how to continue through the pain of my loss while embracing the life I have yet to live. Yes, the idea of a long life will always be tempered by the knowledge of a life well-lived that ended, to us, too soon.

Brent Curtis and John Eldredge say in The Sacred Romance, "Denying the tragedy of life requires such effort that it tears the soul apart. Believing that in the end there is only tragedy kills the most tender, "alive" parts of us." I am alive. I have an amazing Saviour that watches over me...even surprises me at times.

I have some more grieving to do, but over time it will be tempered by "...the God of all comfort Who, comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3b-4 I don't want to let my "tragedy" keep me from seeing how big God is and how much He wants people to know Him. Don't get me wrong, the human pain is molten lava at times. It's not easy, but I can say Michael is in a better place. Am I better for it? Perhaps. Have I grown spiritually? Perhaps. I do know for certain that I want to keep learning and listening and watching the work of God.

I time and the Truth of God's Word. Thank you for being the comfort of Jesus in my life.

Annie B.