Sunday, August 7, 2011

beyond the missing puzzle piece

I have a lot of unanswered questions running around in my head, my heart, and my spirit. They are fleeting though. I don't have the guts to fully form them. They leave me frightened and angry and bewildered. There is only one place to get the answers I need, but if I'm fully honest I've been hiding from the only One who holds them. Today the message at church was one of seeking to focus on the things that God invests in. There are only 2 things that go with us from this life into the next. Only 2 things that really matter in the end. The Word of God and the people he so desperately loves.

Confession time. I haven't read my bible in a long time. I haven't spent time seeking Him there. Not since she died. Not since I was forced into a goodbye we fought so hard against and prayed so fervently to avoid. Not for 8 months to this day. It's not that I've turned away from God. I love Him in the deepest parts of me. I still worship him, I still find joy in seeing Him in the beauty he created around me. I still pray. But whenever I think of reading His words in the bible I want to run. I won't pretend to understand why exactly, but today in church I could feel the spirit prompting me back.

When I picked it up this afternoon I was about to start in Job. Misery loves company right? Instead I felt drawn to the Psalms. I have always loved David's raw honesty with God. He wasn't one to shy away from strong emotion, and today I feel full of those. What better place to start in the book but at the beginning. What I read may seem ironic to some, coincidental to others, but simply providential to me. Psalm 1: 1-3 says, "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit in it's season and who's leaf does not whither. Whatever he does prospers." The spirit prompted me to pick up His love letter, then immediately led me to a reassurance that He wants to give me deep roots through the living waters of his word to help me continue to grow even despite my pain. Only God.

It's been an emotional week. We took Grace's camper out on it's maiden voyage to one of her favorite places- Jellystone Park. The girls played joyfully in the water park for 4 days straight- with a little mini golf, arcade games, and time with Yogi bear thrown in. After Joy's second time down a water slide she got off the slide with her little 3 year old arms pumping into the air stating loudly and excitedly "This is the BEST- DAY- EVER!!!" It was a wonderful time overall. Perfect weather, lots of ice cream and not even one stolen picnic basket! But everywhere we went memories of Grace flooded my heart. Here's one of those many memories. The last time we were there with her she was about 5. She loved hanging out with older kids and whenever we were at the pool she would wander into a group of teens happily introducing herself and hanging around uninvited. They would be sweet at first, then look annoyed at this little kid who kept interjecting her opinions into their conversations. I would try to help them out by occupying her and encouraging her to let them be, but as soon as I would stop giving her 100% of my attention, she would rush back over again. The funny thing is that she would always win them over. Eventually they would invite her in and would play with her- actually having fun playing with the overzealous 5 year old! It happened over and over with several separate groups of Teens. Grace had such self confidence. It never occurred to her that someone wouldn't want to hang out with her. She was non-discriminatory about her friends. If you were human, animal, or pokemon- you were in. And she could find a friend and fun anywhere she was.

We got back from camping and went to Mae's soccer game as a family. She is so cute out there... still figuring out how the game works but trying as hard as she could to do her very best. She's so fast, and so proud of her efforts. Oh~ how I love that kiddo. But again, there was memories of Grace out on that field just last summer. Running despite the pain of her feeding tube and exhaustion from the harsh chemo treatments. She was a team player and was determined to play with her team mates unless she was actually confined to the hospital.

The next day on my way home from work I saw signs for our town's Relay For Life. We had planned on participating, but never got organized enough to find out when it was. So we quickly pulled things together and went to the event as a family, meeting up with my sister and her kiddo. Seeing so many people there and all the luminaries representing so many who have had to fight with cancer... it was overwhelming! We walked the track, lit luminary's we made in memory of Grace, and played some games with the girls. As we walked I thought back to the year before. We had been at a friends house on the day of the relay and drove by it on the way home. I wanted to stop with Grace and the girls, but my heart was broken thinking ahead to this year and wondering if we would be walking the track without her... praying for a miracle.

Yesterday the tears kept falling and I finally gave into hiding under my covers trying to escape the deep searing ache. I stayed there longer than I've allowed myself to ever do. I fantasized about never coming out. I did though... and went to see some wonderful friends who did my heart a lot of good.

Today's been 8 months. We spent time in Grace's garden, and Joe's been writing some beautiful poetry. I included one at the end of this blog. We got out of bed, let some tears fall and kept putting one foot in front of the other. Breathing in and out. Hugging Joy and Mae close and tight. We watched Star Wars- one of Grace's favorite movies. Tomorrow is another day that we will try to dance in the rain like Grace always did. We are not always as successful as she was, but she's a really good example to try to follow. Thanks for continuing to pray us through... and also for others who are living with a piece of the puzzle of their heart missing.

Don’t Fade

It isn’t fair that memories fade

I still hold you close in this heart that God made

A warm gentle kiss and a huge gleaming smile

If mischief could run it’d go on for miles

I loved when you came in for some snuggles

In the social department you never did struggle

Everyone was your friend and your heart you did share

They’d call out your name cause they knew that you cared

What a teammate you made, Even sick you played soccer

Wouldn’t let down your team, Each game you would conquer

Your laughter is missed and so are the sillies

Wish I could tease to hear “Oh Dad Really”

But each day that goes by memories just slip away

Please know that I love you right now here today

I have to keep writing so that you Don’t Fade

To just hold you close in this heart that God made