Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gratitude in the Midst of the Storm

It is so nice to be back in the blogosphere after a short hiatus (which sounds much better than after a vacation and two weeks of cyber-silence due to malfunctioning computers, don't you agree?)  So much has happened, in the physical, emotional and spiritual realms of my life, and to be honest, it's all sort of swirling around in my head like socks in a spin cycle.  Which usually means that if I try to tell what is going on inside of me, it will all make perfect sense to me and sound like utter gibberish to everyone else. Rather than trying to share the last few weeks worth of thoughts and experiences here, now, I think I'll just write about them gradually, as bits and pieces come flying out of the spin cycle onto the page.  Messy, yes.  But what is life without a bit of messiness?

One word that keeps arising from the whirlwind is "gratitude".  I am especially grateful for the people that God has placed in my life. For my family, and especially for my beautiful daughter, Grace, who turned 18 last week.  For my friends, who "get" me. And who love me anyway.  Some rough things are going on in my life, and I have been a bit worried about who I could trust with my story, my feelings, my heart.  Then came the glorious revelation that I am surrounded by people who are loving and trustworthy, people who want the best for Grace and I, who are supportive and encouraging.  It has not always been this way, but there is a purpose to everything, even if it is to expose darkness and to foster wisdom. 

I am grateful for my life, for the hope that my future holds, for people who remind me that God has a plan for my life, and that there is wonder, joy and peace in that plan.  I am also grateful for those who have taught me that wonder, joy and peace are available to me now, because they are part of the amazing Spirit of Jesus, and Jesus is mine, now.  Jesus is my joy. Jesus is my peace.  Jesus is my laughter, my stability, my hope, my life.

Life is so interesting, is it not?

Peace out.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Still letting go....

I guess the letting go stuff doesn't stop, huh? 

How to let go of someone, when their body still lives, their voice still rings in the air, their heart still beats?

How to let go of someone when you can see them, but they don't exist anymore?  When his eyes have become hard, his voice cold, and his gentleness, his love, his hope and joy and laughter and sweetness that I fell in love with are no more?

When unforgiveness reigns.  I know when it started. A community, a family that should have rejoiced in his good fortune, in his love, instead turned on him and used him as a means to an end. An ugly end.  It's not about you, they said.  But it was.  And he couldn't...didn't forgive.

Did they not suffer his loneliness with him?  Did they not pray with him, for a wife, for a family?  Yet, when God provided, they frowned and muttered and glared and rejected and he began his new life with the seeds of unforgiveness and bitterness in his heart.

And they grew. 

And he disappeared.

And still, I love.

I have lost more than a husband. I have lost a friend, a brother in the Lord, someone who loved our town and who shared his love with me, and who longed to make a difference here.

I don't know where he is anymore.  But this one thing I know.  Once in my heart, no one truly leaves. I choose to love, and to love always.  I choose forgiveness. I choose love.

The time is coming when I will no longer be his wife.  But I will always be his friend.  I promised. 

Someone asked me once, before we were married, how can you be sure?  I told him, I have made the choice.  I am sure of my choice.  I choose to love this man, no matter what.  That is mine to control.  And I keep to that choice.  I can be sure of nothing, but God's love for me, my love for God, and my choice to love another.  That is all I needed then. That is all I need now.

That love is what will keep me whole now. 

"Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me; " Psalm 23:4

Monday, July 2, 2012

Memory & Mourning

Lately I have been finding myself often in a place of memory and mourning.  I have been in mourning for my mother for eight months, but as my heart is adjusting to the reality of her death, my mind is wandering towards other losses, ones that I am beginning to think were never properly mourned.  I have always understood and paid attention to the big losses, like death or the loss of my marriage.  I knew that these things needed to be mourned.  I have spent much of my adult life working through childhood experiences and have mourned losses that lived there as well.

These losses seem smaller, less life changing.  And yet, when I think of them, I find myself weeping.

A promise, made when I was 19, to a dear old man, that I was never able to keep.

A sudden realization, a sharp recognition of a "could-have-been" that left me doubled over in pain and regret.  I generally try to ignore "could-have-beens", but this one held a loss so great, it insisted on being mourned.

The soft look of love, lost, not because of death of the person, but because of death of love within the person. 

Beside these losses, the loss of my mother feels so...clean.  So normal.  I look at her picture and know that I will never, on this earth, see her face or hear her voice again. She was here and now she's not and the entire loss is wrapped in love and affection and holding her hand and telling her that it was okay to want to let go and her asking me, repeatedly, if I needed money, if I was okay, if I had what I needed. 

These other losses leave me stunned.  Broken. And then, I am left with a choice.  I can choose to see them, address them, mourn them, and let them go.  Or I can push them back into whatever heart-crevice they were hiding in and ignore them. Again.

So, I choose to mourn them.  It helps that I am kind of in mourning mode, anyway. Why stop now?  Who knows what God has planned for the space in my life that these things have occupied? 

One thing I am grateful for.  I am so glad that God has been teaching me about letting go.   It feels good to release these things into His hands.  I cannot change the past.  I cannot recoup my losses or make it all better. 

There is an awesome passage in the book of Joel - Joel 2:24 - 26

 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten —
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed. "

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten...I love that. 

Peace out.
My Zimbio