Friday, April 23, 2010

decision time

Some days I don't know if I am coming or going.

With the jumble of events that have been swirling around us these last few weeks, it's no wonder I escaped on a kayak the other afternoon. I was gone for three hours and when I pulled up to shore, I knew I had overdone it. With all the performing I have on the docket this week, I should have known better. Tendonitis is not my friend. Just sayin'.

But back to the coming or going statement.

There is much in which to revel lately.
A wonderful man of God was our house-guest for a whole week. He played my piano every morning, filling the house with his own amazing compositions. After late-night meetings, we gathered at the candle-lit harvest table for "tapas" and conversation. I'm not sure if it was the food or the lively discussions that brought #1 Son home, but he managed to be here for nights in a row & I like that.

Our church holds special meetings every spring. My faith is always so strengthened by them. This year, they were especially comforting. I am still riding the crest of edifying words that typify these meetings.

There is much in which to sorrow lately.

A wonderful woman of God from our church lies in a hospital bed, a victim of a massive stroke. She is my age. The prognosis is bleak. Despite this, her friends & family gather around her daily, praying for her, singing to God, reading the Scriptures. Believing beyond belief. Leaning on God's promises and on each other. Keeping watch for a miracle.

A young man of fourteen was taken from us almost two weeks ago. His family continues to grieve, but this week they grieve while picking up life where it left off the day he died. The jolting halt of daily life that comes with mourning is a necessary thing. We leave everything aside to mourn, to remember, to come to grips with the enormity of loss. But then the sprays of flowers are parceled out, cards come less frequently (although they continue to line the mantel and window sills), the dog needs to be walked, the bills needs to be paid, and some one stubs their toe. Somehow all these details of life were handled before, but now he is gone and how impossible it all seems.

Sometimes all one can do is to trust Him and that's no small thing. Trusting Him is a metamorphosis; it changes us.

I visited a dear friend the other day and she pouredout her sad heart to me like a bucket of sharp nails. The words were sharp and pointed; they cut her throat as they spilled out and made her eyes tear up. She was dissatisfied, frustrated, at the end of her rope, and besides all that, plain old sick & tired of her portion. We both stepped back to look at her measly portion, and I'll tell you what, it was surely something to tsk at.

Unfortunately I couldn't fix a stitch of the tangled-up embroidery she called her life. Even store-bought donuts (made fresh every morning from fresh ingredients, according to the tiny print on the side of the box which I read when I couldn't find words to say) did not staunch the riptide of why bother to try anymore.

Yesterday she found me in the crowd of "meet & greet" in church. She grabbed my arm confidentially and told me in no uncertain terms that she majorly regretted the pity-party.
"Last night," said she, "my husband, my daughter, and I got together over skype. And we prayed for a long long while together. "

She paused for dramatic effect.

"And when we were done praying, everything changed. I mean, nothing changed. But wow. We are seeing with new eyes."

No one can argue with this.

Trusting God is a force to be reckoned with. A mother who lost her first-born son almost five years ago stood before us yesterday. She stood broken, weeping, brutally honest. How brave of her to speak of him who she lost, I mused, knowing that the act of telling involves the act of remembering. And the act of remembering comes at a cost. She counted the cost in order to testify of the power of trusting Him.

No one can dare argue with this, either. As nonsensical as the whip of tragedy, so is the transformation of trusting God.

Really, the grit of life has kept me busy enough that I don't have time to figure things out. Not having chunks of reflection-time has even helped me come to terms with the heart-breaking- bring -me-to-my-knees stuff that has pervaded our lives as of late.

This is what I do: I grab the hard edge of the table or chair or steering wheel or plow ( metaphorically, of course) , grit my teeth, and decide to trust Him. No matter what.

It changes me. So whether coming or going, I am about the business of trusting. As our house-guest/pastor/prophet/composer friend serenaded us last week, "Have God. Have God" over and over and over again -and so we shall.


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