Friday, April 30, 2010

The Comfort of a Lap

This is my space to write what needs to come out of my head - a place to put things for safekeeping. Sometimes when I see something on paper it helps me to look at it more objectively. I realize that everything I type is being filtered through my lens. It is not a totally accurate picture. Last night as I tossed and turned, trying to make sense of something that makes no sense to me, I pulled my blankets over my head and cried. I asked God, "Why?" "What have I done?" "Why are you so slow to answer?"

How can a heart be so blinded to the truth? How can a wise person pursue danger? How is it possible to ask and not hear? I was trying to pray but I couldn't focus. I couldn't convince myself that God was listening to me. I remembered the story about the man who was dying. He asked for a chair to be placed by his bed. When questioned about it by a visitor, he said that he pictured Jesus sitting there and they had many good conversations. This inspired me to get out of bed (at 2:00 a.m.) and pull a chair up to the bedside. I crawled back under the covers and tried talking to the Lord again. It was a little better.

I told my Father about my feelings. I told Him I wanted Him to take them because feelings are unreliable. I told Him about my concerns. I cried. I shouted (in my head - didn't want to wake the children!), I told Him no one understood. I had no one to talk to. I asked Him why He seemed to be stripping me of all who mattered. I asked what I was supposed to do. I told Him He wasn't close enough in that chair. I want to write what I felt because it was comforting - even if it sounds melodramatic to other people. As I laid there, totally exhausted, my nose stuffed from crying, my eyes puffy, my lips dry -- I felt as though the pillow where my head rested became Christ's lap. "Is this close enough?"

I understand you, daughter. The feelings you describe...helplessness, discouragement, anger, bewilderment, disappointment, sadness...I feel those things too. Maybe not in the same way but how do you think I feel when I watch you pursue danger? How do you think I feel when you harden your heart to My words? How do you think I feel when you ask me for help or wisdom or clarity and leave before I can answer? How do you think I feel when you reject Me? Do you think it is easy to watch you? Do you think it is easy to see you take the free will I've given you and make foolish choices? It breaks my heart. You are my cherished daughter. I love you. I understand. Do you understand?

I fell asleep with my head in my Abba's lap. I was not alone. I was understood. I was loved even if I was not perfect. What am I going to do with this? I don't know yet. I have to think about it. I do know I feel rested as I start this day. I'm ready to see what's ahead of me. I feel secure and confident. I'm my Daddy's girl.

Change my heart Oh God
Make it ever true
Change my heart Oh God
May I be like You.

You are the potter
I am the clay
Mold me and make me
This is what I pray.
~Eddie Espinosa

©Mercy/Vineyard Publishing

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Day After The First Day

Well, I didn't make it to the gym today to workout. As I said yesterday, even my fingers were sore. I know, I'm going to have to buck up if I want to see results. I am trying to find the balance between "much pain/no gain" and "no pain/no gain." To make up for leaving my brother to exercise alone, I went down to the marina for a walk along the Sound and some picture-taking. The sun was just beginning to set. The air was warm with a slight breeze. It was so much nicer than running in place on the treadmill. I love being outdoors. There is something in my soul that craves nature. I grew up on a lake and when nothing else seems to soothe me, finding a body of water always does the trick. I love to watch the wind ripple across the surface, see the sun glinting off the waves, hear the sound as it laps against the shore or crashes against the rocks. I like to watch people...little kids chasing waves, older kids throwing rocks, couples walking hand-in-hand, a solitary figure combing the beach. I think about the creativity and power and majesty of my God. Why did He bother with such detail? The colors, the sounds, the smells...nothing escaped His notice when He spoke the world into existence. And I am reminded that I don't escape His notice either. As He watches over the tides, guards the creatures beneath the sea, guides the water cycle...He is also watching and guarding and guiding me. Whether I sit on the bench or walk along the shore or lean against the pier railing...His eyes are on me. His thoughts are toward me. He knew I was skipping out on the gym but I think, today, He didn't mind.

You are awesome in this place, Mighty God.
You are awesome in this place Abba Father.
You are worthy of my praise,
To you my hands I raise.
You are awesome in this place Mighty God.
Integrity Music

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I woke up this morning thinking about my grandma. Saturday my family will be attending her graveside service. I won't be there. This has left me with mixed emotions. The very largest part of me is relieved that I don't have to witness her body being lowered into the ground, won't have to turn and walk away, won't have to feel like I'm leaving her alone. There is, however, a small part of me that wishes I could be present to honor her stand guard as the final good-bye is said.

I made it home to see her before she died. She acted as though she had been waiting for me. She opened her eyes, held out her arms, covered my cheek with kisses and told me she loved me. I slept with her that night and the two nights that followed before I had to return to the Northwest. I heard one more "I love you" from her and listened to her answer "yes" when asked if she was glad I was there. Others in the family were a little envious of the response I received. Everyone I've talked to has said how pleased I must be that I was able to have that time with her before she slipped away. I don't really know if I am. It was hard. I have images in my mind that can't be erased. One that keeps haunting me happened the morning she slipped into an unresponsive state. Her eyes were open and had found me. She followed me as I walked around her bed and when I stood over her, her eyes drank me in. She couldn't talk at this point but it was like she was memorizing me...telling herself to remember every part of my face. There was a softness about her, a gentle smile, a peace. And then she closed her eyes. This should be a gift I cherish but every time I think about it, I want to cry. My heart hurts. I ache for what I'm missing.

My grandma has been a constant in my life. She was there to greet me as a newborn, attended all of my choir and band concerts, cheered for me at all my sporting events, baked all my birthday cakes, hosted my parties at her home, listened to me complain about my parents, surprised me with I-love-you-gifts at unexpected times, loaned me money when I moved away, called just to hear my voice and always acted like I was the most special, extraordinary grandchild she had. There were 10 of us, not counting the greats and great-greats. She made us all feel that way. She was my fiercest protector and biggest cheerleader. In my grandma's eyes, I was just about perfect.

I am at a loss now. Who do I call in the middle of the day when I need to hear a familiar voice? Who is interested in hearing mundane details of my life? Who sits by the phone waiting for me? I don't know how many times I've dialed her number in the past month only to realize she wouldn't be answering. Life is about many things. It is complex. There is so much to love about it. There is so much to learn. I am learning now how to let go. How to be thankful for what I had, how to cherish it, but how to release it so I can move forward. It is not easy. I am not ready to completely open my hands and surrender. I need to keep a little bit. The time will come -- it's just not here yet. And that's okay.

So, this morning, as I think about life and loss and missing, I am reminded of what a gift my grandma was to me. I am her granddaughter. I carry her with me. May my life honor her always.

I love you Gram.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Day Before The First Day

I think all kinds of things. Sometimes my head hurts with all the thinking. I often wish I had the ability, like Professor Dumbledore (from Harry Potter), to place a wand to my head and pull out the thoughts. I could store them in a bottle for future viewing but in the meantime their absence would relieve my mind of too many jumbled, clanging ideas. This post is not about my thoughts, however. Rather, it is to prepare myself for tomorrow, which is...THE FIRST DAY...of my workout schedule.

My brother recently moved to the West Coast and is living with me. I used to be very active, very athletic, very fit. An autoimmune disease left me with damaged joints, increased weight and the inability to participate in all the activities I once enjoyed. I have struggled with the "new me." I don't like her very much. I don't like how she looks. I have tried working out in the past, but always, my body gives up on me. I, however, do not give up and so...I will try again. My brother created a schedule and taped it to my bathroom mirror. He is going to be my workout buddy. Maybe this time I will have better luck. I am going to chronicle my journey on this blog - mostly as a motivator to myself. Pictures will be posted (with my head cut off, of course) so as I look back I can see how far I've come.

And so...tonight I will enjoy a Mountain Dew. I will eat popcorn with butter. Tomorrow I will begin THE FIRST DAY. I will still enjoy a Mountain Dew but maybe I'll eat the popcorn without butter. We'll see. Baby steps.

My words of encouragement:
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” ~Anatole France

Claiming grace and hope for the journey.