Thursday, October 18, 2007

Seen and Not Heard

Do you remember generations back saying children were better "seen and not heard?" Most younger generations think this was deplorable, although I'm sure there are parts of society that may very well still live with this notion. My point...grief is again a paradox.

Not seen and HEARD. Our loved one is not seen any more, but what we HEAR is the loss...we feel it and know it 24/7. We HEAR that you don't mention him/her. Culture eventually says, "get over it." Yes, eventualy we find our "new normal" but it is a different timing for each person and each situation. There are aspects that force the new normal quicker for some...but there is still the process of embracing the reality. There are parts of that reality that we can't experience until certain situations actually arrive. (i.e. a parent not being there for a significant ceremony...a ceremony which may be years away.)

I don't usually fault people for not mentioning a departed person...unless it is glaringly obvious. Sometimes jokes are made about "heart attacks" or some type of dying...we just have to get used to this. We probably even used phrases like these before our loved one died in (that) fashion. I still respond inside when people say things like "it almost shocked me to death." It'll be 20 years this December since my brother died from electrical current.

My oldest turns 20 this he went to the ER with rapid heart beat. How easy is it for his mom...and siblings to think one thing...from 300+ miles away...he's okay. "DOESN'T do a body good." [I know technically that is not a totally true statement, but you understand my meaning here...] I can't see my son, but I was sure glad to hear him and discern in his voice if he was really doing okay.

Have met some neat people this week...heard cool life stories, watched my daughter win her doubles tennis match (Grammy's genes), drove over to Stockton for my son's choir concert...(Michael's genes), continued the disguise of my "head of wisdom" (read: grey), worked at the office, paid bills, ate a pear, had a friend pray with me...oh...that was all today...or yesterday if you consider the time. And why, pray tell, am I up at this hour?

No one can see me and no one can hear me...except my Creator. He is good...all the time. And, even though you can't 'see' me on this blog...I hope that you can 'hear' that I appreciate you so much...and as I learn about your losses, know that I pray for you.

Appreciating you,

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Birth days again

Birth Days. Days carved in stone. Unchangeable.

I went to the Cemetary this past September 15th. This is what I journaled.

Today is a different day being here that the last. A friend came and cleaned the headstone. Smile. It weathers. The ants are crawling on it. Was someone eating Oreos over here? One ant is carrying a friend. Pastor, the new Reverend, gave me one of the extra lunches (just before I came over here) after a conference. "It's ham and cheese...on RYE," I noticed. I don't even like rye, but I'll eat rye bread on a sandwich. It was Michael's favorite...fancy that.

The sprinklers are on down the way. I'm a little nervous they'll come here next.

I'm not so good at remembering birthdays. So, Happy Birthday my friends. I am glad you are in my life.


A Wrinkle in Time

"There is a time for everything..." a passage often quoted in Christian and non-Christian circles across the globe. "A time to be born, a time to die, a time to laugh, a time to cry...a time to keep and a time to throw away" (my paraphrase of Ecclesiastes 3:2-6)

I yelled for my kids this morning. "Quick, hurry, come look, hurry." We barreled out the front door to see the second of 2 flocks of geese flying south. I could hear them coming. When I finally caught the 1st formation they were dis-jointed--2 sides of the V flying separate. The calling was loud--almost directive let's say. The second V sounded less anxious--maybe in order. It is their time; time to fly pass through another season.

At some point we begin moving on--new times in our live, new pieces that are disjointed from the past...ones that will never form with the past.

Time continues consistent and sure. God alone can change the day or the rising of the sun tomorrow. We don't have to like the timing of a loved one passing; whether it's a long tiring, loyal journey with its own frustrations or a sudden flip-upside down-"Who's in control"-time warp-event. At some point, however, we must embrace the time schedule that happened.

My son is learning the consequences of NOT paying attention to time/day. Tough lesson. I got very frustrated at first--feeling like I didn't train him to be responsible. Then I pondered this morning ...if our lives always went smoothly we would coast. It is in the hills and bumps and curves that we learn. I read somewhere this week an article that called these variations "interruptions."

We've got to hold the wheel at the curve (to the curve?) and trust--we don't know what's around the corner. The uphill climbs take a little extra effort, but so worth the view--a perspective of the God Who Cares, the God who allows one to look behind and realize, "I made another climb. I certainly know I didn't make it up that hill alone--too many majestic Fingerprints along the way. Besides, my bootstraps broke."

I was at a memorial of my friend's father-in-law recently. An older gentleman sat in front of me--very cute--dashing even in his older age. The wrinkles were not lifted or hidden...there they were; wrinkles of time-worn skin; folds of memories made with friends and family...a face feeling the wind on the water and expressing all the vestiges of experiences of life. Seasons multiplied in layers. He was visibly moved by his friend's passing. He was present to celebrate a life.

It takes time to remember--time to reorder a day to be at a bedside or a memorial. It's time that matters. Time going through pictures and cards--remembering...and eventually not forgetting, but placing the sorrows aside and meeting up with the rest of the flock--flying south. We'll come back to remember--each time the RIGHT time.

My odd pondering questions: What are friendships made of when there is little time? If we are friends with God, then what is the Sabbath: a day, an hour, a set amount of time? An attitude? Yes, I have some thoughts...but I'll leave the questions to you for now.

Please pray for widows and widowers in your area...and especially their children. There are many that are hurting. Please pray with me as the church seeks to understand how to help...

YOU are a gift to me.