Wednesday, May 17, 2006

At Home...One Year Later

This entry will be just doodles...random thoughts perhaps as I reflect on the anniversary of Michael's journey to his heavenly home.

The day prior was so busy I had to make almost a minute by minute chart for all of us. I had to connect other friends with my kids for rides to places. The women's ministry made boxes of blessings for all the people who serve in children's ministry. God was so gracious in giving us this idea. We were able to pull off the secret for most of the 281 teachers and staff. (delivered them on Sunday...the 14th)

Back to the long day....layed my head on my pillow at 11:14 and the tears began. There was a half full...or half empty glass on the dresser. Once one, now one...single. Content perhaps...but growing up I never imagined myself being single. Singles have a lot of freedom...and some powerfully overwhelming responsibilites at say "no" to all the needs they find balance in their time. I can see why there is a struggle on both sides of the fence. Blessings in the obedience...on both sides.

As I cried, I felt like a levee about to give way...but, like I told a friend, the angels must have hurried me on to sleep. I woke up very I had been crying for some time. On my drive to the church I kept hearing this phrase in my head, " the land of the living." As I pondered, I turned on the radio to the tune..."Come, Now is the Time to Worship..." To give our reach outside of share the blessing that God has given to us.

I was so blessed to see the 'receiving faces' of those to whom we gave a box. The heaviness of my heart was lifted by sweet remembrances of/by friends and a looking to hope. God has blessed me with sweet promises of hope.

I ran back to get the kids after the 1st service deliveries. I stopped for coffee on the way...just for me....just to go slow...pondering. The kids greeted me with 2 mother's day cards. One was a card Michael bought last year and he never had the kids sign it. We weren't too obsessed with giving cards when the calendar said. Nonetheless...when I found the card after Michael's journey, I gave it to the kids for safe keeping until this year. My daughter also made me a card.

During the 2nd service...I stopped for a time in the busy plaza, caught off guard by little ones newly walking...realizing they will never know Pastor Mike on this side...he would be down at their level asking them how they like exploring this big world on their new walking legs. Our 2nd crawled at 4 1/2 months....maybe to chase? get away from? big brother???? All 4, however, walked within a week of their first birthday.

The children's ministry staff served Oreos to the kids in honor of Michael. They remember. They are a gift to my life. I am grateful for them. They have borne up well with the weight of the task God layed before them. I still haven't found the "10 commandments of eating Oreos" that Michael wrote...but when I do...I will share it.

The third service was interesting to me. As we reloaded the cart with boxes, I felt some sharp pains in my the piercing of a needle right under my breastbone. It did not alarm me, just surprised me. It went away for about 30 seconds and returned....going away about 1 minute later. When I got to service I realized those pains were the same time as Michael declared "HOME." More tears. I sat with Tony and Alexia. Grateful for that...just right.

Reflections from time prior to box delivery at eve. service:

The air is so thick that it is hard to hear the birds. The busy Sunday morning action has stilled in the plaza. My mind instantly pictures one of those time-lapse photography pieces where there are people moving all over and then towards the end of the piece the action slows and stops...maybe a person crosses here or there. It was just me...but sensing God's amazing presence all around. The day was. The day was...coming to a close.

Got home to some sweet calls, but had an important date with my kids. My friend Lois reminded me that it has been my year with them. I don't like that thought, but at some point we capture reality and embrace it or surrender our joy and contentment. Pastor Jim and Linda called...and Lois. Heading to return those calls when we returned from dinner...the phone interrupted the direction. It was my friend Carol who lives in Germany...a nice way to end a DAY. It was...a day.

I was ready to hit the 4th child was up coughing, getting ready to toss his cookies...and just plain not sleeping. What do good mothers do? Make sure they have a bucket and go back to sleep....or lay awake listening...being ready... Are we ready for Home?

Year two. Does it need a designation. More things to learn...
Blessed to be learning with you and walking with year later.

in His mercy and grace,

Eve of Wedding Anniversary


Two roses out my kitchen window...just for me.
Funny title...EVE of wedding anniversary. Sometimes I get mad at Eve. She helped Adam check out of a 10 star wed...PARADISE. All over an apple. It wasn't really all over the apple, but whence came the was ALL OVER as they knew it. They knew life and all of a sudden, they knew death.

The Bible doesn't tell us much, if anything, really about HOW to grieve. We do grieve differently than those without hope...those who lack or choose to lack knowing that Jesus has made a way to a restored relationship with the Creator. The Guy...the King of Kings, the Holy One. The One who created this earth we live on.

What do you think the "night before" creation was like for God? Sometimes the days or couple of weeks prior to a 'significant day' hold more anxieties than the day itself. I was able to write a nice letter to Michael on our anniversary.

...I giggle to think of you coming on a horse behind Jesus. My prince will come...! Thank you for loving Jesus, me, our kids, our families...for your merciful heart...

road trips and history
babies and bath times
yardwork and woodwork
fireside snuggles
and camping bonfires
muddy children
and sharing childbirth
painful pasts
and new healing
ministry and school
watching plays
and critiquing movies
cooking and scavenger hunts
surprise parties and family reunions
magic shows and moonlighting with balloon-bending
stressful ministry
and amazing triumphs
blue jeans
and black tie affairs
clashing reds
and unexplained tears
Star Trek and Dr. Quinn nights
Potato bean soup and what's in YOUR fridge
Dinner dates and moonlight walks...

...On this day I remember the gift God gave me of
Healing Reign (see October 05)
...I have some more work here. Pray for my obedience to Jesus. I don't know when He will stand return.

...hug all the babies there...and little ones. Do you realize that in the few funerals you did--two of them were for Jesses. A brand new born Jesse and a 7 year old. Hmmmm....tender mercies.
My ring joins yours as we will be together again one day--with a different, purer love--and celebrating all the memories God made for us here. Soon it will be a year that I have made memories without you. God has used you to shape my life in profound ways. I will forever be grateful.

I go off now to W's baseball game--watching the sunset.

The sun will rise again on a new day--and YOU are with the Son.
I love you.
Thank you for loving me.
Ever yours,
(his name for me...)

2 roses
2 rings
many thorns
and for Jesus...a crown of them
"the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glories we will one day receive." Romans 8:18

All...because of spite of Eve

Thank you for aching and remembering with me as we observe these anniversaries. Thank you for thinking forward for me...for blessing me with God's hand for my future. He is and will be ever faithful.

I love you my family,

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Chasing Sundown

“How long does practice go?”
“Yesterday they ended when the sun went down.”
“So, when should I get there?”
“I’m sure they’ll play again until sundown, so…get there before the sun goes down.”

AND WHAT TIME, PRAY TELL ME, IS THAT? The other day my counselor used the phrase, “We are creatures of time and seasons.” I sort of knew what time sundown was, but there was one problem. That time could be earlier or later depending on the cloud cover. Not only that, I had to drop off one son for a study session on one end of town and the other at church for youth group. The road (I would normally take) to the next town gets backed up sometimes due to a nifty 4 way stop in a burgeoning housing area. Fortunately? This time it was easy to get through it.

The sun was very clearly descending. I have always struggled with running late. I remember in college writing a poem about not being late for the rapture. Because I was not just picking up my own son, I was under extra pressure. The coaches are so faithful to the kids. I didn’t want to disrespect their time by being late. God was faithful. The last of the kids had just been picked up. I thanked the coach and headed away from the sunset which was completing it’s descent…getting ready to cast its ‘green line’ on the horizon out there along the coastal horizon.

On the ride home I found myself to be in a melancholy mood…listening to music and just letting the boys chat with one another. At home I fixed my son a bean and egg burrito (he helped). I did the dishes, folded laundry, and put stuff away. There are so many piles.

Finally I found myself able to rest. I was reading in Isaiah…chapter 44 into 45. And who says God doesn’t know just where we will be reading …?

“I am the Lord and there is no other. Apart from Me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45: 5,6

Okay, so does that encapsulate the day?! …Apart from Me…
Certainly a nice reminder of Who created everything—Who wraps up the day.

Here are some random reflections. Ugg…no pun intended…on sunrise/sundown from my journal.

Sunset. Do we LOOK for it every day?
The (bike) riders set out early in the morning
Delighted to start the day with the Creator
Some things we can be sure of in life:
Sunrises and sunsets don’t all call our name, but there are days we take notice and marvel at the sight.
A reminder routinely of: new life and the resurrection….and God’s constancy and faithfulness.
Lighting a new day, delivering hope
Sunset brings a time to rest …to restore our hearts…standing tall…
Walking in His character
Knowing the ride takes us up hills and down into valleys—
Imagining heaven, not knowing that journey was moments away
Yet from our birth we are chasing the sundown….
The reality of the end of our life (here)…
Choosing to leave a legacy or the pride of an inheritance.

Pedal one more turn or coast in a restful mode…strategizing…planning

Whether we like it or not, we approach that day. Our time here is but a small piece of the length of eternity. We strive to get one more thing done, reach one more goal, make one more dollar. What brings us a feeling of success?

Are we running from sundown? Are we afraid of the end? Feeling like this life is the all?

You are my Hallelujah
my Reason
my Joy
You are…the place of my hiding.

Imagine driving down a tree-lined street…the sun casting theatrical shadows and sparkles on the faces of those with whom you are riding. I can just imagine this street going off into the sunset. Idealistic…nostalgic; call it what you may. To drive off, ride off—would that it would be that easy for us left behind. The comments, “They are in a better place…” I suppose there is a time we get to where we acknowledge that truth if they knew Jesus. I can only suppose grief is so much more heart-wrenching when one isn’t sure of the faith of one recently gone.

Similarly, we each have pictures of a path—a walk, a beach, a ____________. This path moves us in time—toward the end of another day—sunset; sundown. The gentleness of the end of a day.

I haven’t written in a while. Life has been a little, no, a lot, hectic. Very American really…baseball and apple pie. Actually, spring plays (summer plays—we somehow skipped spring here and went straight to hot summer), junior proms, senior balls and graduation. And when was I supposed to order announcements? December? And it is May? Hmmm….guess I am chasing sundown on that one. The blessing is that my first graduate was able to put a Bible verse in his announcement. I am sooooo proud of him. (What do single parents do when they want to brag on their kids? I read a book when the kids were little called The Hurried Child. We didn’t push our kids or make flash cards…we just asked them to do their best. My oldest has earned the role of Co-salutatorian! Please forgive my bragging. I’m sure Michael is so proud of him…and we would have talked about it with each other.)

I won't wrap this entry up into a tidy package...I'll leave it "unfinished" for so much of my paperwork. A friend reminds me I can only do what I can do...and, come sundown, I need to put it on dresser...where I can pick it up again in the morning. Some things we need to leave at Jesus' feet...other things are realities of human life...

My anniversary was bittersweet, but God was gracious. We shared our anniversary date with our "adopted Grandparents" here. They were married 64 years this year... sweet Rosalie went to be with Jesus 4 days later. Pray for her Duane. Just imagine her sunrise!

I am indescribeably grateful for you,
Annie B