Grief, After a While

I’ve just given a chunk of my evening, finally settled into my spot for an hour or two, to the perusing of quotes on grief that might be descriptive of what I’ve come to know.

Nothing quite right.

I’ve decided grief moves from an acknowledgement embraced all together of tightly knit mourning mourners to an individually and uniquely personal honoring of the one missed and longed for.

After a while, the void is always present when the all together gatherers gather; but, it’s not elaborated, opened for discussion, no longer any value in discussing the sorrow over the absence.

We’re all together in our longing, have the sense and sensibility not to invite it take over our hearts, our minds.

It doesn’t serve us well. Thank the Lord we know this, we know not to open wounds healed sort of like skin pinker than the other places where the deepest cut occurred. We’re okay each of us, to care for our own wounds, comfort our own souls.

There are new ways to grieve, after a while, after all.

I didn’t know when the morning had us listening to a sweet silver haired woman peddling plants, that I’d have cause and occasion to remember.

I didn’t know when my daughter said, “Come early, we’ll go the Farmer’s Market” that this same sweet lady would correct me when I called one plant something other than what it was and that she’d remind me not to over water.

Didn’t know I’d think of you then, had no idea how I’d be so happy I’d bought the three new tiny and tender plants later.

Tonight, I spent some time taking the old dirt out and adding new and I put the tender thick leaved plants in a semicircle design and just a little water, not too much, I put it back in the place next to the book I made to remember you.

To remember, the very first year after you were gone.

Little green plants in a shallow pot with broken edges, my sort of special way, the way I make sure to honor my mama, to remember.

Grief, after a while moves from a sorrowful stance to acceptance that honors, from remembering to keeping quiet your spirit and cultivating small reminders. Me

Happy Way of Life #4

Coral colored buds on curlicue type clutching outgrowth

Fuzzy fronds dripping off branches.

Pecans trying, wanting to grow and then fall to the ground to be gathered again.

Again, after all.

I’d imagined the ease in which its branches may break with the grab of an intentional hand.

The high grass cradling so many already,

I’d imagined the sound sharp and quick as the limb was grabbed hold of and snapped to be discarded to the side.

The tree I’d begun to love

I’d decided in error might have nary a bloom seeing its final season.

We walked together, worn from physical and mental woe of a very long day.

We walked anyway as the warm whisper of the air called come, come and see

and then we paused to worship there, a quiet place loving and needing all the more quiet and deciding we should

Believe.

Believe in what might surprise us

And be.

The Stranger

On my way tonight to workout, he was walking.

On my back home, I saw him too.

90 minutes passed and the place on the side of the road, barely off the road in the high weeds, where he was again made no sense at all.

He should’ve been farther along; yet, there he was again, on my way.

I remembered, I thought if I see him again, I’ll know it’s true, true like my son suggested one day in a little boy whimsical way,

“What if he’s Jesus?” Childlike chastising my questioning comment directed towards someone standing on the edge of the exit ramp holding a cardboard sign.

Now, I’m thinking again, yeah…what if?

You should know I only tell true stories and you must know I find all sorts of stuff significant when I see it. I consider it God.

About three weeks ago, I stopped by our local printer to collect items ordered for work.

“What is he doing?” she asked, “walking up and down the sidewalk with that stick?”

I told her I’d ask him and I did, asked him if he was okay.

He needed to be pointed in the direction of the soup kitchen, so I directed him four blocks down and two over.

He smiled, said, “Do I know you?” “Did you go to high school in Hepzibah?” he asked.

“No,” I replied.

Then he told me his name, adding angel as a surname. Told me he was an angel and then said: “Jesus loves you.”

I smiled, said, “I know, you too.”

Then on a drizzly Sunday one week ago, Colt and I were out back. All my day’s plans go awry because of an emergency with an employee, I’d be going to work.

Tennis ball toss, the command given “drop” and again and again until I turn towards the back porch.

I see him, a male form bent over shoulders heavy, walking down my road, holding a big shepherd like stick.

“Oh…it’s him.” The Labrador sees and hurries up to the fence, makes a squeaky sound, not at all resembling bark or growl.

He never barked, sort of sighed, pulled the sound of dog startle back in as if he knew him, knew there was no need for noise.

There was no call to fear threatening.

Then he watches body next to my hip and his nose on the cold link of fence. I watch, feet tiptoed and neck craning as the man who says he’s an angel crosses in front of my house and on down the road.

I know right away, I’ll turn that way instead of my normal when I go. I’ll leave for work and I’ll hope on my way he’s there.

Cheese crackers, granola and a Cliff bar in my lap, I drive down the hill and turn the curve and he’s there.

He’s making his way up the hill. No one around on Sunday morning church time, I slow my car, window eases down and I say,

“Good morning.” My hand through the window meets his and he’s surprised by my giving, he thanks me for the food and then stores it in deep pockets of a jacket dragging down by so much wear.

“Jesus loves you.” He says and then adds,

“I love your hair.” I smile knowing no way he could know the gray I’d just felt depressed over, the flatness of strands due to age and the daily angst over cut or grow out.

I drove on remembering the time before when he said he was an angel.

Tonight, I saw him the third time I told myself would “seal the deal” if it happened, make me sure of providence and certain of angels.

I wondered why he’d only walked a block or so in the 90 minutes between seeing him and seeing him again.

I considered why he’d kept appearing on my way and then I pondered all who might avoid him and worse yet might not see him in the very close to dark dangerous road.

I hoped he’d be okay. I hoped he has headed someplace safe.

Then I realized he’d be one Jesus would pause to notice. He, one of the least of these, a wandering soul and lost mentally maybe.

But who am I to say He’s not already done so; this man walking tall with a stick the height of his shoulders and telling me, others, whoever that he’s “Angel John” and that Jesus loves us.

Who’s to say who’s angelic or not or why I might see him and believe more wistfully, more surely and more unexpectedly that there are angels among us and that those angels know Jesus?

Who’s to say who knows?

Yesterday, I gathered up my angel figurines. I’d been noticing all the clutter collected and decided they no longer belonged on the desk. My eye drawn to them seems it has begun to feel their placement was all wrong.

I moved them to my bedroom, tucked them together collectively on the shelf just above my pillow.

I’m believing more than before and unafraid to say so, believing because of who and what and where I’ve seen God and probability of angels, love, and grace among us.

And strangers with contagious smiles despite missing teeth who make confident proclamations of Jesus and love and not at all coincidentally cross my path.

Some would say homeless or crazy or not worth much at all…

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

But, who are we to say

or he, a stranger?

 

I’ve just read a post from Jennifer Dukes Lee about helping another along the way. Who’s to say when we might need help up or when we get to reach down.

Vist here: http://jenniferdukeslee.com/learned-movie-can-imagine/

image

 

Happy Way of Life #3

Layered the paint, took some away, made thick the thin places and more translucent the words, the music.

Window open to storm’s melodious wind crisp, cooler and clear.

Rain falling in steady sheets, harmonious.

One hour soon I’d spent three, creative.

Now the brushes are soaking in suds, wait for my picking back up to follow again.

Maybe Something Other

I’m beginning to consider other than what I’ve decided always.

Starting to let go my old responses to come what may, my old way.

Who does that? Brings a dandelion inside and places it next to the delicate dogwood bloom, adds it to the water in the little bulbous jelly jar?

I’ve never seen such a pretty arrangement. The contrast of the sticklike stem beside the velvet leaf of other.

The grass had been freshly mown and my day, not long into. The Lab and I returning inside and I paused to see the sun through the pines land on the solitary weed.

I picked it and blew towards the sky, the stem strong in my grasp; but, the feathery frond like fluff would not let go, held tight to the middle.

So, I’ve decided now, in my morning spot, that it was meant for other. It wasn’t meant to be blown away by my forceful breath and it dodged the destruction of the sharp blade of mower.

It was meant for more.

It was meant for other.

I have a task today and another tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s, I’ve asked God to help me reconsider what I’ve decided it’s purpose will be.

To cause me to let go my preconception and to be open to other.

To be accepting of what I will see, hear, feel, knowing I’m made by God, His plans for me planted and not fully seen.

I cover my eyes and my heart with other often, handicapping the growth, deciding my part.

“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

His desire is that I not be blown away.

To carry what comes my way in a different way, to do maybe something other than before. To not fade away nor be destroyed.

This morning I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word and thoughts of “other” .

My Happy Way of Life #2

The Labrador laid across my lap and

waited until I filled the bowl with

more popcorn for tossin’.

Broke my own rule because

it was comfort I needed last

night after sitting in

the seat of the one who supports

never ever feeling adequate

in my sighs over their sorrowful day.

Listening leaves me longing only

to undo what was done and

certain my sadness is minuscule,

only minutiae.

Trees and Me

I’ve a friend who invites conversation by asking, “Where did you see God today?”

And I’ve loved it so, the thought of it.

But, even more, my own thoughts and ponder,

“And what did He say?”

I find God in places happened upon, causing my pause.

A puff of moss amongst high weeds, a purple flower on a single stem, I consider it there for me, burst forth, break through it seems to say.

Morning was a compilation today of happenstance and truth.

The sameness of my journal, the place where thoughts land and the habitual sometimes same old requests I pencil in carefully, thoughtfully certain.

This one’s a slate grey blue and has a delicate copper colored lettering “notes” in its center.

I’ve many journals, pages full, I bet you can only imagine.

This morning I read via Anita Ojeda that journaling is medicine. It wasn’t news to me, still, I felt it new.

This one, “I know this much is true” kinda truth came a little more alive today and so it’s included in my journal.

Memoir means you intentionally write about your past events in order to understand them better. In the process, you’ll find healing. Anita Ojeda

It occurred to me this is the reason I’m only able to write a paragraph here and there when it comes to memoir.

Other places and subjects, even here I can let flow a thousand words or more.

With memoir, I’m tentative.

Maybe it’s because the content is so precious, so precariously cusp teetering like as far my healing, that its power must be approached gingerly, intentionally and not at all hurriedly.

And sometimes I think time might be running out and my season might be winter forever, that my story might never burst forth.

Others, I think I’m just lazy.

This morning, I prayed a prayer for me. The words were not typical, the request new and softer, different.

The place where I’d been asking for strength or courage or forgiveness, clarity or ability to obey,

I asked for love. Love, instead.

Lord, order my day I pray and help me to do the right things in light of your love for me.

Amen

I especially love this one old tree. When we walk, I can’t turn my eyes from its frame. We turn back and I pause every time because I find its twisted trunk and aging limbs so sublime.

I don’t think it has another season, yet I see small buds on leafless limbs. I’m waiting to see, is it just not time?

Will the fruit of pecans cover the ground come August?

Will its branches continue to reach towards the sky regardless?

The tree, this beautiful old tree it tells me there is time and purpose and plenty of it still.

I almost skipped my Bible this morning, knowing I must get my butt in gear. My passage for April 10, Psalm 92, “How Great are Your Works” it begins.

And I am amazed again at the never accidental nature of my God.

“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭92:12-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And mostly that there’s always time to grow, to bear the fruit of hope, so that others may hope as well.

And that perhaps, some things held onto for very, very long must die before new will fully live.

Like being okay with not finding four leaf clovers in a cluster of clover.

Drawn in by the vibrance, caught off guard by the possibility, stymied by the enormous beauty, I look but am satisfied despite finding the one “lucky one”.

I’m seeing God everywhere and I’m noticing, noting clearly and contentedly my need to continue on.

Who’s to say how we grow, when we’ll burst forth unforced.

When the bud might open or the branches stay barren

Only God can make trees. Only God can make me.