Thursday, February 17, 2011

Scattered Joy

A deafening silence blankets our house this morning. 
Giggles & high-pitched happiness have escaped for a moment.
Off with friends.  They wander different halls.  Sing songs with sweet voices.
Learn new shapes & animal sounds.  Important things.  How to mix yellow & red to make orange.  That zebras have stripes & cheetahs, spots. 

Even in the temporary stillness, I still have scattered joy.  Remnants of lives very present.  Books that we will read for the 100th time before they drift off to dream tonight. 

In the mundane chore of laundry, joy still evident.  Toys that welcome me as I pull the wet clothes from the washer.  Tucked in pockets with little hands.  Dinosaurs & Potato Head feet.   Buzz Light Year patiently waiting to be reunited with the little boy that delights in him every minute. 

Untucked beds.  Sheets that need washed.  Bears that have been hugged so much that their fur is beginning to thin.  They lie scattered on the floor.  Tucked in secret hideaways.

To my organized eyes, I see a mess.  Clutter that needs to find a specific place.  To my mommy heart, I feel joy.  Even in the silence.  In the moments that I can’t just reach out & feel arms wrapped around my neck as I get the biggest hug ever.  I feel love.  And I feel LOVED!  
In every room.  Every nook of a room.  There is a reminder.  Of a life that is lived in abundance.  And I am thankful.  For my scattered life.  And for the joy that fills these walls.  Even on the days when it really is hard to find…..I am still reminded.  Sometimes I have to make myself remember.  In those harder moments.  That joy does reside here.  But I am ALWAYS thankful!!  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

He Never Turns Away

As a friend’s mom lies in a hospital bed, only alive at this point because a machine is keeping her that way, I wonder what to say to her. 

My young friend.   Who has seen more in her own life already than most. 
My young friend who relies on her own strength. 
Who can’t see Light right now because she hasn’t ever experienced It for herself.

Me, never really at a loss for words, not ashamed of my faith one bit, is finding it hard to come up with anything.  Anything that will make a difference to her heart. 

The mom, her mom, never really was a mom to her at allRather more of a lesson in self-preservation.  Having to live hard life way to early.  Growing up in a home that wasn’t normal.  Filled with drug addiction & heartache.  With words that cut through a soul & abuse that is much easier suppressed in a place deep in the chasm of that self preservation.

How do I tell her in her questioning….that He never looks away.  Not EVER! 
He has always loved her mom.  He has felt her heartbreak.  He is watched with His own sadness, as choices have placed her in circumstances He never would have wished for this sweet daughter of His
He has waited for her. 
Called for her. 
Protected her. 
Loved her. 

Even as the machines breathe for her.  Even as brain function slows.  Even in the final moments until family makes the decision to let her go, He is there

I can’t answer so many questions she may have.  And she may not want me to.  We stand on different sides of the fence when it comes to Love.  With Soul-Matters.

The only thing I do know is that He never looks away.  He sees the drug addict searching for anything but Him to ease their pain.  He hears the prisoner crying out to Him, repenting of decisions, poor judgment, misuse of the life they were given.  Wanting so badly to change their fate.  He hears the call of the hungry & the oppressed.  He sees the children that are malnourished.  He watches as the child trafficking becomes a cultural epidemic in some parts of our world. 

We can look away.
 We can turn our eyes from the prostitute on the corner.  We can shield our eyes from the suffering.  We can walk away from life that doesn’t line up with our neatly wrapped package of suburban living. 
He doesn’t.  He sees.  He hears.  His eyes do not move away from anyone or anything.  From any circumstance.  His eyes are on the slums & the saintly.  He never leaves us. 

She struggles to find peace.  I struggle to find words.  I know my God!  The One that loves me.  The One that loves her.  The One that loves her mom.  He loves us in our sin.  And He loves us through it.  He loves us in spite of it.  Because He….Is….LOVE!  And ‘love never fails’!!  That’s His promise.  If He is Love & ‘love never fails’ then He can’t fail us!   He finds us where we are.  In our own failing. 

I don’t know how to make her see.  I want for her to feel peace & forgiveness.  For someone that prides herself on words, I’m sure not finding any that will provide for her right now.  None that would make sense to her anyway. 

I will pray.  Maybe those are really the only words I need to utter at this point. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

We Don't Get To Choose

I didn’t get to choose which parent I would live with when my parents divorced when I was still a toddler.  Although, had I been given that choice, it would have been a no-brainer.  I would have picked the one that adored me.  The one that would have laid down their life for me.  The only one that would be there for me no matter what…unconditionally…no matter how bratty I was or un-lovable I made myself at times.

I didn’t get to choose when it came to giving my dog away when I was 6.  I was just told that he wouldn’t be there anymore when we got to my dad’s house. 
I cried hot tears. 
Not wanting him to see them, I looked out the window of our light blue Toyota Corolla. 

If I really understood what it was like to hate someone at that young age, that would have been the day. 

How is it possible to be within reach of someone but so incredibly far apart?  To be a world away although close enough to smell his cologne?

I didn’t get to choose the now ten-year-old fate when I became a widow.  That heart-crushing, gut-wrenching decision was planned long before I even took my first breath. 
I definitely chose the husband & I made that choice well.  But the days that I spent with him on this earth were much shorter than I would have liked.  The time spent in & out of hospitals.  Tending to him following chemotherapy & radiation.  Watching him lose his hair & his physical strength but never his dignity or faith.  Circumstances beyond our control couldn’t be changed. 

Life is full of choices not made by us. 
Some of us are born into circumstances.  Not allowing us to live within the boundaries of our full potential.  Some are crippled with illness & pain.  By depression & addiction.  A phone call that brings us to our knees telling us that someone we love, dearly, will not be coming home tonight.  We are told that our position is no longer needed or being outsourced.  Doctors tell us there isn’t anything more they can do. 

Choices are made for us.

We will drive to the polls & check the box beside the name of the candidate we like. 
We look at a long menu of choices.  Deciding whether to eat light & order a salad or give in and just order that juicy cheeseburger that is calling our name. 
We choose the neighborhood we live in. 
The college we go to.
The car we drive. 
The schools our children will attend. 
We choose our friends. 
We live in a world of choices.

We make more choices at Starbucks on our way to work than some will make all day.
Give.  Take.
Mayo or mustard
Straight or curly
Whole Wheat or White
Fast lane or scenic route

We choose.

We give up & blame others.
Or, seek grace & thank God.
We live out loud or die within ourselves.
We become a product of redemption or of self-pity.

We choose.
I choose.

Some choices may be made for us.  We choose how to handle them.  Will you become a better person because of them?  Will you learn through your experiences?  Are you seeking grace even when you’re finding it hard to find solid ground to stand on? 

Instead of wallowing in oppression, choose hallowing in gratefulness.  Express gratitude for the things in life that are allowing your heart to move, to change, to resurrect itself.

I could have made my experiences different.  Maybe not the 6-year-old me.  But the 40-year-old me can.  The here-and-now me that looks back & speaks of them can make them what I want.  I could choose to hate the dad.  To curse the cancer.  To hold my fists tight, shaking them in anger at God who holds every tear.

But I THANK!  
I may not understand.
I may question.
But I am still thankful.
Thankful because my choice, my decision, is to not let my past pain be my definitive future.
Blessed to have had that portion of the story but to not allow it to be the only.
Thousands are not loved by parents.  Widowed too young.  Laid off in a tough economy.  Born into an abusive environment.  And…..we…..choose.

We choose how to live outside of the boundaries of our labels.  To not let them define who we are.  How we are.  Why we are. 

Choose Wisely!