Wednesday, March 9, 2011

beyond painful memory

I feel a bubbling up of something in my heart, but can't quite check it's pulse. I'm yearning for more in life... can feel it reaching out with fury and wonder. Maybe these times of yearning are a response to whispers from heaven, messages to our very soul urging us to dig deeper and find a more fulfilling existence. To catch hold of God's purpose for each of our lives... that purpose which will leave a lasting impression on the world we will someday leave behind.

I want to create, to dance, to paint, to run, to hold, and to write...

The whispers have been speaking to me of seeking out God's beauty and his love in the world around me. To living each moment to it's fullest potential. To find joy in the everyday experiences we've been given. A friend who read my last blog entry (beyond busy), gave me a book called "one thousand gifts", in which the author describes her journey in learning a similar life lesson. I have a lot of the book left to go, but it is speaking to my heart and I feel God has brought me on the same road of discovery.

It's been 3 months since Grace died. Three months since I laid beside her in bed, cradling her head and kissing her cheek. Three months since I startled awake in her room. Knowing before I put my ear to her chest that she was gone even though she was still pink and warm. Three months of seeing her too still body lying on the bed, life and pink and warmth draining away beneath my hands. Each memory of it bringing an ache I cannot describe or even fully comprehend. Joe struggles with the memories of the final weeks of her life. Reliving the horror of watching her struggle to find breath, to suppress the torrential coughing. I remember, but for some reason don't live there. Instead, I am plagued by her final moment, although peaceful... the realization that she was lost to us. That our arms will be empty of her until we see each other again on the other side. That last day I was relieved that her struggle was over, but I can't get the picture of her on that bed... so still... so silent... out of my head.

The whispers of heaven to my soul... the yearnings of my heart for purpose... the seeking out of joy in each moment, so intermixed with grief and pain. I realize that when I think of death now, my first thought is of seeing Grace and having her introduce me to Jesus in the flesh. Fully alive, dancing and loud. The amazement of that moment gets me though any fear of one day dying. In the meantime, this earth journey continues as I look into the baby blues of Mae and Joy. The security found in Joe's arms. The peace I find in the art of a woman called Joy hanging on my living room wall. The beauty in the uniqueness of each snowflake creation falling outside the window today. The soul stirrings to look intentionally for the good and pure around me. So much to learn... but I am seeking and finding God's gifts of beauty beyond the pain on this journey.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Beyond busy

I didn't realize how much of life I have always taken for granted. People say things like stop and smell the roses... but come on. Who has that kind of time, energy or focus? Grace's life has been teaching me that each day on this earth is a gift given by God Almighty to be completely savored. We miss out on so much as we run through life, passing it all by.

I get inpatient with my kids. I have places to go... things to do! I tell them to get in the car and they wander past the door and gleefully jump in the snow, look at a rock stuck in the ice, or scrape picture patterns into the windows made by crystals. It makes me crazy (and late) but I am starting to realize they may be onto something...

I drove to Red Wing, MN to meet up with two of my closest friends from high school a few days ago. It was snowing (again), and at first I was annoyed and even a little worried. The roads were slippery and I was following map quest (not always a pleasant experience). I had the radio playing and about 45 minutes into the drive my soul started to settle into worship. It was then that I realized the snow falling around me was beautiful as the sun would peak out from time to time literally making the air and rolling hills around me glitter and dance with brilliant white sparkles. There were trees far off on the horizon separating earth and sky which otherwise would have appeared one in the same. The road would ebb and weave and because of the weather I rarely saw another car... I had the world to myself, the only one enjoying the show. I drove under a series of large oak trees leaning over the road. Each one a stark contrast to the brilliant white all around. Each branch an intricate design of lines and interwoven patterns. The trees seemed to be reaching out over the road instead of growing upward, as if they were trying to provide protection for those beneath. I hardly realized I was slowing down or looking up, and was surprised when my hand hit the ceiling of the car. I was so intrigued I had forgotten I was driving and actually expected to touch the branches far above me. The shock of the abrupt stop brought me back to reality and away from the trees and the tear that had formed in my eye. I laughed at myself but in the same moment thanked God for the reminder that each breath in this world He created can hold beauty if we chose to really see it.

Romans 1:19-20a "For since the beginning of the world, Gods invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made..." When is the last time you stopped to really smell a rose, see the reaching arms of a strong oak on a winter day, feel the warm sweetness of your child's kiss on your cheek, taste the tingling of a fresh strawberry on your tongue, or to hear an unseen bird sing you a song? There are fingerprints of God's love for us everywhere. Life means more when I realize I can chose to truly live fully in each moment. Join me in exploring the world with new eyes today.