Thoughts on Heaven and Mamas

This morning I cleaned out my “Saves” on Facebook, stuff I thought I may read later, there were over 50 various things I considered useful at the time.

Same old same, healing from trauma, posts about family, even more expert recommendations to grow my blog, have my voice heard, write the book, don’t give up…

I deleted almost all. I have to be honest, I am on writerly advice overload.

At the bottom was a note, the Facebook kind, I suppose my idea of blogging before I blogged and it was called 30 Randoms…things I’ve learned since mama died.

It is a list compiled 10 years ago come November.

Much of it is the same.

I suppose the ache began when someone said change your profile pic to your mom’s, one of those FB things that make you either go along or rebel.

I rebelled in a kind of pitiful, mulling over pondering way, my way.

I don’t have a photo I haven’t shared before and the one I have is dated and it doesn’t portray the mama I want to portray.

Grief changes its hold on you over time.

I miss my mama, see the cardinals all the time that say she is near.

I’m afraid though it’s simply not enough. Well meaning people will say oh she sees you, she’s looking down and you stand silent like a big dumb block not replying to their little kind words or something to say remedy.

I believe my mama is in heaven; but, I do not fully understand what it’s like for her there.

Possibly her spirit still lingers near me, possibly it’s my memory and longing for her involvement that manufactures this comfort and assurance for me.

Here we are over 10 years and there’s so much she should know.

Updated here are 30 randoms I’m offering up as prayers to heaven in hopes that someone else up there runs out to find you and you sit together and you laugh and cry happy heavenly tears over what is going on, how we’re doing without you and daddy down here:

1. The grandchildren are something else altogether and individually, they are just enough you to be stubborn and outspoken and often irreverently rebellious in being themselves!

2. We are all still married to the ones you saw us with before you passed away.

3. Baby Brown is due any moment of a very soon day. This will mean three great grands. Our home has a baby room.

4. Your grandsons are strong, just enough cockiness of your daddy cushioned by the gentle handsome ways of our daddy.

5. I left my job that was destroying my health. I am an artist. I get “pissy” and I’m sure have a certain look when someone says a painting is “cute”.

6. I am a writer. I will be going by “grandma” just like you and I will be helping my daughter with her baby, just like you.

7. I am less afraid but still prefer to stay hidden.

8. I left the church that made me feel I’d never be enough.

9. I sit every morning with my Bible, a pencil and a memorandum book.

10. When I’m sad or angry or anxious, I clean the whole house, rearrange stuff.

11. People call me an open book. I reply with only certain stories.

12. I reunited with Melanie and revisited the times I fell apart and she helped you and daddy hold me together.

13. I regret going home the night you passed away.

14. I understand you probably wanted it this way.

15. I love Jesus the way you lived it, love everyone the best you can, not more than you should to those who love themselves so much they don’t need yours.

16. Be kind to your husband, as he ages you become everything to him.

17. Love a dog, this love will sustain you.

18. Love food, not its control over you.

19. Delicious things are only delicious if savored not embellished or used to satiate empty bottomless places.

20. Accept God’s grace.

21. Being pitiful is not pretty or permitted.

22. Wear more red. Paint your toenails red, learn to wear a hat.

23. Don’t stress.

24. Stress will kill you. (I’ve told you before, Lisa Anne).

25. I’m going by Lisa Anne now mama, occasionally “LT”.

26. I sold three paintings last week and I gave one expensive one away.

27. One painting found a new home, it was inspired by your high school photo and I called it “Heaven Meets Earth”.

28. Today, I will believe there are better days ahead, I’ll not long as much to have you here to have your hand touch mine, to see your face when you see ours.

29. Today, I’ve decided I’ll ask again and if you’re listening, maybe you can soften the way. For Mother’s Day, I want a dog.

Yes, how fitting, how perfect, how precious it will be. A puppy or a rescue, a new home with me to represent and honor you. Yes, I’ve decided, I’ll ask again.

Don’t you think it’s time, Greg? Time for us to get a dog? If not now he might say soon and I’ll let it go, trust it’s just not a good time.

30. Better now, I’m better. Grief is a mystery and an unexplainable thing. Words from others who don’t truly know are better left unsaid.

There’s really no right response other than remembering.

When Mother’s Day is without a mom, a mother, an outspoken and gone too soon mama!

The greatest gift is to allow all of the remembering you can stand!

P.S. I joined the Artist Guild and there’s an exhibit tonight I don’t think I’ll be attending. One, possibly two of my pieces will be displayed. Some artists will have ribbons on their works. I’m not going because I still don’t care for spotlights or attention.

Remember the time you and daddy drove four hours because a piece I created was chosen for a blue ribbon?

I remember it well and the years that followed dulled my shine and the gift of your being there.

So, if I didn’t say so then, thank you for telling me back then that it was possible,

I could become an artist according to you!

I finally believe you.

Happy Mother’s Day. I feel you near, do not fully understand it, I do believe you have become an angel.

Lisa Anne

Grief and Grace and Beautiful Things

The Sway of Grace

There was no inspiration in the sky above me, its color was thick and like taupe mixed with gray.

The color of old water left in the kitchen sink, murky from faded suds and dirty plates.

No music seemed to suit me. The podcast I was moved to hear again had strangely gone away.

I walked on with the bounce of a trendy and sort of tired old song.

Next one and the next the same.

They were not working, the songs that usually drive me, keep me distracted from the pain of my hips, my feet.

Songs about grace and Jesus too trendy for me today, too much like radio pop.

Volume down.

Twelve or thirteen minutes I told myself, just a brief bit, you can endure it.

So, I picked up my pace and I listened to my feet hitting the ground and I know it’s not possible but I could describe the sound of my own breath coming up from my core.

And I felt it, the way my body changed as my breathing weaved up and past my ribs and into my particularly patterned exhale.

Control, keep control. Focus on the release.

I kept on and got to the place with the dangerous curve and the steep right bending hill.

The geese had congregated on the water and were conversating loudly.

I slowed and felt the wind sweep across my face making me realize the warmth I’d created on my chest, caused by my own private version of running my race.

For about a minute, maybe seconds more, there was this bliss caused by God’s grace.

In a less than spectacular sky I couldn’t find Him and so, grace found me.

Again.

And I ran up the hill, all the way this time.

Although I’d decided I might not be able, I kept running.

Last week, I sort of analyzed my life using the big chunk of moments, days and years that were either sorted and stacked as either joy or fear, as either mistake or reconciliation.

My husband and I recalled the dog adopted and where he peed, pooped, what he destroyed, and how difficult he was in the beginning.

I asked him to compare the joy of the Labrador being with us to the initial hassle and adjustment.

He agreed he was worth it.

Worth it to sit in your spot at end of the day to have a big dog plop down and prop his big face across your feet.

Worth it to be greeted at the door with his goofy eyes and happy tail.

If you look closely at your life, all the happenings that you know were true trauma, the interruptions that you remember and think that was it, that’s what totally blew my chances of being complete, you might be justified in never believing you should believe.

You might not take chances with new things.

Perhaps, the trauma that began it all has never been fully grieved, a grievous grey sky that you haven’t faced fully, haven’t accepted for what it is and so you’ve not felt it, not allowed the grace to be greater than the fear.

In college, my first year, I was raped.

I blamed myself. I hid in shame.

The big and grotesque figure of an athlete loomed behind me the next day in Chemistry lab, elevated just over my shoulder, he was enormous and so powerful in his seat.

I blamed myself because my sweater was way too tight and glaringly hot pink. I know better now; but, only recently realized this thing that made me live so very long in fear and defeat.

It was unresolved grief for the artist in me that died there that night, accepted the disbelief of me.

But, even better than the realization that this trauma was not invited by me is the realization that this incident makes up really only an hour or two of me…of my whole 58 years!

I don’t minimize the damage, I’m just choosing to line it up beside the other things:

I was the middle child, shy girl who went to college on an art scholarship.

I drove myself through Atlanta all the way to the beautiful mountains of Rome.

I tried something new and I made a great friend who was beautiful and statuesque and intelligent who still remembers me.

I learned to love running there, running uphill every day.

We dined at a splendid restaurant where my friend worked on Friday nights, my choice always, Chicken cor don bleu.

I won an award for a painting and my parents came up to see my blue ribbon.

I began, just a little, to see Jesus differently and it challenged me.

I was brave there even though interrupted in this horrible way.

I was harmed in many ways by that night at a party; yet, that’s only a tiny bit of my experience, of my life.

The greater experience is that I was held even then and I am still held by the grace of my Father’s hand.

I was His child then. Didn’t believe it but that didn’t matter.

So, I choose looking back only to be certain of my worth from His perspective and of the importance in believing there is always so much better I have seen and been given, even when I line it up to the most unjustified of my griefs.

I pray if you’ve known trauma you’ll see the freedom of deciding daily that you are more at peace when your recall is one of the evidence of grace, not a harsh gauge of resentment over someone who harmed you and thus, kept you from all that might have been.

There’s truth in that sentiment. It just won’t take us anywhere, certainly no new places.

You’re so much more than the stain of your pain.

When the cool evening breeze brushed my face yesterday it was God saying to me, I saw you keep going.

I saw you turn your attention to me.

Continue and believe.

Don’t let the pain of your past cut short your beautiful race.

Luke recorded the healing of a woman bent by her pain for close to twenty years.

For me, my frame of reference for all my defeats or my failures has always been the harm done towards me by others, the hurtful choices made for me and the ones I made.

Disabled for far too long by my pain until I decided to welcome a change.

Like the woman Jesus was criticized for healing on the Sabbath, I am free.

“And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:11-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Leave grief behind, notice the unrelenting grace of your God.

This perspective of forward not former thinking is the direction God is guiding me towards memoir. If you know someone who has lived hampered by harm, share my words. I pray God increases each reader’s awareness and embrace of His grace as He is with me, moment by moment, daily.

Cake with Your Mama Day

I’d love to tell you just a little about my mama, on this day, her birthday!

And then I’d love for you to make cake a part of your day!

She passed away nine years ago.

Too soon for us all.

There were more cakes to bake, more commentary to be made on the politics of the day, more acceptance to be given over her sometimes sullen, stubborn and set ways.

More big meals together with some variety of homemade cake.

It may have been my coconut or my brother’s red velvet, maybe caramel, maybe thin layered chocolate so good the sugar melted more sugar on your tongue as you allowed it to linger.

It may have been her pound of everything pound cake or it may have been the fancy cream cheese with pecans creamy carrot.

Today, I am planning to have cake!

You should too.

I give you not permission, but a virtual nudge-like nod to say yes to love, to loosening your control!

To enjoy cake alone or with someone, somehow with your mama.

To have cake and not stress over anything at all!

Stress’ll kill you, Lisa! My Mama

Happy Birthday in heaven, Mama!

Your love has brought us to who and where we are!

I celebrate you today.

Last year, I went “junkin’” and bought this little dog that looked like “Sunny” and then my friend Dana surprised me with cake!

Little did she know she’d be starting a tradition…your birthday will be remembered from now on by enjoying some sort of outrageously delicious cake!

I am officially declaring January 30th “Cake with Your Mama Day”.

If you still have your mama, go see her or call her and catch up over cake!

If your mama is in heaven like mine, sit with someone you love and let love lead your reminiscing or just your making time to be together.

Whatever you plans today, make time for cake!

Then share the love and yumminess of your day!!!

Yay for cake!

#cakewithyourmamaday

What Can Be

Peace is possible.

I almost interjected this possibility to one and then to another.

One distraught and rightly so, I listened and became exhausted over my lack of anything I may be able to do.

I sat and simply took it all in.

Her dismayed lack of peace.

Another so burdened by wrongs and unable to live without fear, so protective and unbelievably afraid yet so very ready for something to change.

Both unable to know what might change their directions, what might help them understand the unfairness of their fate.

I have no real answers other than the three words seemingly from nowhere that are clinging to me and I, clinging to them.

Continue and believe.

I’m prone to storing up my interactions, sort of disengaging emotionally as I am present in my professional role and yet, the stories linger and they don’t stay buried for long.

I believe that is God’s way, to not waste any exchange meant for me to grow, to continue on and give words to feeling, maybe help another to grow.

I wanted to tell the mother grieving and in dismay that I still believed God is faithful and that I believed she could have some peace. But, I didn’t. It wasn’t the right time or the place.

I wanted to tell the one homeless with her daughter, terrified of everything, that life can be simple, dependable, peaceful I believe.

But, I didn’t. It wasn’t yet time, it seemed best to wait until she begins on her own to see.

See, peace comes to us in different ways, in our own separate time and place.

Jesus was the object of speculation and of disbelief and disenchantment, much the same way was John the Baptist.

The disciples were learning as they followed while the onlookers and the intellects were set on deliberations of who they thought the Son of God should be. I guess much of who Jesus appeared to be was not their idea of a “prince” or one able to bring about peace.

Jesus essentially said and continues to say, just walk with me.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.

Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I imagine me alongside Jesus. We are going forward, we are making clear the path through muck and mud and I am smiling as I am looking straight.

I am content in the steadiness of Jesus’ steps.

So, I walk with Him.

He is doing the bulk of the work of getting us through the rough places, keeping me out of the ditches, breaking up the ground for the goodness and growth that will rise up behind us.

Jesus and I together, we are breaking new ground.

Not settling where I am. He says come with me.

Peace is possible. Continue and believe.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

The Time of Becoming

Advent: arrival, appearance, emergence or occurrence, the arrival of a notable person or thing.

What are you waiting for, still?

What is the light at the end of the way that you keep pursuing, going towards?

Like the shepherds followed a star, is there a possibility you hope to see still?

My word for 2018 has been “still”. In the beginning, it represented a courageous decision to pursue a certain writing goal.

That I could still, it wasn’t too late.

I’m still writing; but, changes came my way and my book idea will never be the same.

I’m in the phase of stillness, resting and listening to know, which way God, do you want me to go?”

Tell me what to say, Lord.

Continuing in the Book of Luke today, another chapter full of guidance and illustration, historical retelling of what Jesus did before he died.

My spirit has been a little weary, thoughts around trauma trying to take over. I’m recalling today that this is the year I, with the help of some strong therapy, decided I could live healed, that I could let go and be healed.

The year it became my choice to forgive.

My friend said yesterday, that evil still comes back to try to play.

I think she’s quite right, it’s Advent, the season of light and peace, it’s only natural evil creeps in, shows up even louder, harder, mean and determined.

Has to, it is harder now than before to take my peace away. I’m no longer disabled.

“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Able to seek light and freedom, to not revisit the darkness.

To God be the glory for my emergence year, still.

Becoming me.

I’m linking up with others here at Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word, “Still”.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/12/13/fmf-link-up-still/

Level Places of One

Few chances come anymore to feel as if others are one.

Last week we had to bring in more chairs. People I had not seen in a good while and some who I had spoken to by phone but never met all arrived around the same time.

One person I had never encountered walked in bravely.

Alone, she entered a room full of strangers and found a seat cornered between two others at the corner of the table.

One other arrived a little late and I was happy he made it, told one of the regulars he’ll most likely “saunter” in.

This one elderly man, a father grieving his daughter, seated close to me smiled as if he and I shared an inside joke and whispered that was a good description of him.

I consider us friends.

The sauntering and kind gentleman called later to comment on the meeting, concerned over some of the new people, wondering if he can be available to them.

I told him I appreciate the way he helps guide the discussion and the way he’s both truthful even if hard to hear, his words as well as compassion and concern.

He thanked me.

I told him that the diversity in the stories that night, the circumstances that led to suicides and the contributing factors as well as starkly contrasting personal struggles and family make ups were evident.

But, not evidenced in any of the faces of the listeners, the words offered in comfort, comparison or even explanations possible.

It’s level ground, it’s like a mercy table, one meeting I am a part of that sees past differences and looks at the one thing.

The one thing of suicide.

One of many things I do not fully understand.

One thing I do not know.

And so I’m one with them only in my presence, one only because I am there and I’m one because neither do I understand.

I’m one with this group I lead, this group of solemn yet, steady and supportive encouragers.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The man who sauntered in closed in prayer after asking permission.

In the pause of his, I presume thinking, two ladies added their supplication. I considered being the third and all my heart could come up with was “Thank you, God for bringing these people to my life.”

I knew God would understand what I meant. I was afraid they would not.

I sat silent and I listened as the gentle man closed out his prayer for the others around the table.

Bringing the support group for those bereaved by suicide, “a club no one wants to be a member of” to a close.

Today, I’m linking up with others here, prompted by the word “One”.

One

If you or someone you know has experienced suicide loss, our group meets monthly. You can find other groups in your area by searching afsp.org.

Tomorrow is International Survivors Day. Across the country people will gather to talk, listen, be one with one another.

Info on this can be found here:

International Survivor Day

I am thankful God brought these people to me. They’ve grown me, taught me that silence is good, that I don’t always have to give my insight and that we are all one in God’s eyes, all of us humans down here.

Walks Across the Country

Yesterday, I met two vivacious young women. They were dressed in athletic type shorts revealing tan lines and their T-shirts boasted of their initiative. Its front had a logo of a bicycle and the words “wheels for mental wellness”.

Tomorrow night I’ll host a gathering, a platform for them to share their why.

I’ve heard there’s a reason, it’s because of someone in their family.

Yesterday, I walked with the largest group ever as I participated in our community’s AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk. Some of them I know, they call me Miss Lisa and friend.

I thought of them last night, hoping so badly that the day had not been too draining, that they’d know they’d done their best, always.

The woman in the red shirt’s name is Rose. I’d never have known her if she hadn’t decided to come with another mama to my office, both of them military moms, both of them mothers of sons who died by suicide.

Both of them, there today, walking proudly and purposefully. Mamas who most likely moved heaven and earth for their sons when they were little boys to grown-up men…and still, they are, they’re not letting up, walking, taking up for their boys, moving heaven and earth for them in the only way they can, still. I’m fortunate to know them, moved in lots of ways I can’t describe, my being close, not really knowing; but, close to their grief.

I hope they sleep soundly tonight knowing they gave it all they had today for their boys!

Walks are happening across the country right now if you get a chance you should join in, walk alongside another.

I’m told and I know that being there is not ever enough or maybe close to anything at all. But, it is important; important for others to simply, be there, there with them.

November Like Grace

Yesterday, the tiniest of yellow leaves were dancing down around my friend and I. We were happy to be likeminded over loving the frenzied leaves falling down, likeminded in our acceptance of our imperfections and our wonderings. We didn’t say so, but now

I think we both were thinking likely, of grace.

November, I welcomed you! Hard to say clearly why. Surely it’s not the hustle and bustle of holiday coming that makes holiday so unholy, so hurried and so “un” divine.

October felt so lengthy, intense, its work , its worries and its waiting.

November, for some reason felt like corner turning, drawing nearer to the fruition of a more solid settling.

And then yesterday and later, I heard of death by suicide and I read a sister’s story of her brother’s too soon death due to addiction.

I couldn’t, can’t stop thinking of how haphazard life can be, how some of us get tripped up and fall and get back up and safely carry on.

Sadly, not all.

Some make it, find the resolve to continue, and the continuation of that resolve, in increments assures no more falls.

It’s a precarious world we’re slap dab in the middle of. My friend and I talked, yesterday because we’re aware, we’re not able to avoid or willing to turn blind eyes.

We’ve had people in our midst, their struggles are more than just speculation or someone else’s issue. We are with others and we have seen evidence.

Evidence of hopelessness. Evidence of fear. Evidence of doubt and evidence of destruction slowly through either addictive indulgence or addictive control or addictive forlorn failing feelings.

Either way, it seems hope is in high demand, kindness, persistence, refusal to avoid and if you can, when you can just demonstrate deliberately that you care.

Sometimes, though it’s not that simple. Your kindness is less than a drop in a deep ancient well.

You do what you can, keep dropping your love there.

I’m still happy it’s November despite learning of new deaths.

I’m still happy for November and Saturday and the way the cold caused my toes to curl when I let the dog out.

Happy that I spent time reading my Bible, not scanning, delving deeply in to what Paul told Timothy and what God told him to tell me.

And you.

Today.

We still have this hope. That Christ died for us so that we could live, not so that we could be perfect or withstand all our falls from grace and flat on our faces falls; but, so that we would see His face when we pick ourselves up to rise.

That we’d continue to do our best.

That we come closer to an understanding of our lives here, our lives are meant to be His, to be lived out based on our rescued from the fall, faith.

Maybe through us, others will see grace.

Maybe through others we see it too.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There’s an old hymn we used to sing called “People Need the Lord”. When I was a member of the choir, I’d suggest we sing it more. There didn’t seem to be a Sunday someone might need to know and believe that in these days, we need the Lord.

We’re not able on our own.

We live in a world of simply not knowing what may come, whether someone we love might fall.

Remembering now the sister’s heartbreak over her brother and another’s trauma that has her trapped in a deadly self harm cycle, I wonder if my words are unwelcome, if my hope will be a hindrance, hokey.

I understand. Grief is not a quick thing, hope is not on grief’s horizon. If it’s anywhere it’s around the bend of some crazy and unthinkable scary roads.

Hope is rarely on the mind of grief. I imagine hope as a sweet child with little words, only telling grief, I’ll come out Sir or Ma’am, when it’s my turn to join the grown up table.

And then it sits down together with grief and it sweetly adds its beauty and peace to those dining habitually over their mundane plates, changing slowly the place, the setting.

Like a hopeful child it may not be my place to add comment or conclusion at times.

Last week, I realized clearly that my insights, my intelligence and my speaking incessantly about how much I care about heartbreak and tragedy are insignificant to the person in their grief, their trauma, their fear.

I sat with the truth of that for a long time. Depleted from the knowledge of nothing I can do and the acceptance of it, I courted thoughts of giving up, of being a more silent spokesperson, of staying in the background, kind of keeping to myself what help I may know.

There’s value in that, giving what you can when you run across a need, otherwise just waiting and knowing people know you’re there.

November, it’s only day 3 and you’re really schooling me!

You’re refining my understanding of brokenness and you’ve got a steady eye on the fire that’s creating me as valuable, a vessel for pouring out my knowledge my and hope.

You through me.

Made to know you, to worship you.

To reveal my hope.

Hope that is needed.

Hope incomprehensible, hope that others need.

Farther along, we’ll understand vividly, so clearly, the why of everything.

I love so very much, this folksy rendition, this truth and song.

Farther Along

November, I see your reason, my naming you my turning of season.

Grace, November, you are feeling like grace. I’m grateful you found me again

For catching my almost fall back in to what looks like sadness that is actually fear.

Too Wonderful to Know

I wish I knew the source of his sorrow.

Three of us there, I think of the differences now.

Me, an executive type pretend director wishing to stay home and paint, an interesting stranger and a preacher who is for real, he emanates peace, attentive love.

It began with two, myself and the young pastor.

I call and called him friend.

Breakfast outside that began with open discussion of things I’m struggling with and most of them made worse by the deeply buried truths hammered in angrily to the soul of a little girl who’d follow any command just for the chance to be loved, to be beloved.

We were in agreement. Oh, the peace of that, to be in agreement with a man of God, a preacher.

To be validated in your understanding of God, to be assured, yes, this is the God you are seeing, this is the Jesus you know.

“’Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭42:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We must’ve been a half hour in. The sun on my back no longer pleasant and I am hot.

Miserable, faking being okay.

For a minute I try to pretend, try to stay composed in my wrought iron seat on the sidewalk sauna.

I shift my chair to the shade and cover my omelette and my grits with a napkin to keep my eyes from darting with the flight of one annoying fly.

He continues with his toast, unconcerned over the fly and simply smiled as I shifted in my seat.

“Is my forehead glistening?”, I wonder. He doesn’t seem hot at all. How is he so chill?

I promise I sensed God’s spirit in his voice, most of all in his listening.

My friend and I continued. I told him I’d just finished the Book of Job and that I was moved in different ways than before.

The words barely uttered and a man hurried past us then turned to ask,

“Did I hear you say Job?”

We welcomed him in.

It was a God thing for sure. My pastor friend listened as I confirmed we were discussing Job.

The tall man who must’ve just left the bank because of the three different wallets he held tight, clutched in his palm.

He hesitated walked away and then returned, his body bounced and then settled and then shifted weight one side to the other.

Job confounded Him, it was clear.

What God allowed to happen to Job bothered him significantly, the fact that God took Job’s children and that God allowed it, actually handed them along with Job over to Satan.

It was clear this troubled this man, standing before us on a small town sidewalk, his face scruffy with stubble and his muscle tank on backwards, his shorts, a faded blue tropical pattern, old sandals and he was bothered by the weather as was I.

Which was good, it wasn’t just me.

He began to sweat as he spoke, elaborating further and my friend kept his cool, listening even when I added in too much information as I often do.

Telling them both I love the last chapter because Job forgives his friends, shows the ones who turned against him mercy and then God gifts Job with more years better than the ones before.

Two things for me there. It is right to let the ones who left you hanging off the hook.

It is thrilling to know your now and your future can be phenomenally better than your before.

Both men smiled and the tall man shuffled his feet telling us he’s sure Job’s in heaven with his family and friends.

He believes Job, his friends and his family were “grandfathered in”.

He’s still not sure why God had to let it happen this way.

We agree. We aren’t either.

And my pastor friend essentially said we don’t know and that maybe we forget how small our time is here in comparison to heaven.

And if we remembered heaven, well, we might not so angrily and aggressively need to understand now.

That we might finally know what Job meant when he realized there are things too wonderful to know.

Last night, I reread the last chapter and I paused at one place, the place that tells me my bad days are over, my better has only begun.

I began to cry.

“And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭42:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

For now it is so very wonderful to know my past does not define my future and wonderful to know that God is in agreement with my forgiveness of those I felt should have done more. My prayer, to forgive them.

“…and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭42:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Wonderful to know the little that I know.

I thought today how I wish I knew more of his story, the stranger and his sorrow causing his questioning of God in relation to Job.

So many things, my pastor friend, the tall guy and I, God has much yet to be shown us, so many things we do not know.

Tonight, the sky said hello gradually with the popping out of bright stars.

The dark clouds buffeted the horizon and the space up above was clear.

I snapped a shot driving home, so blurry, because of my dirty windshield.

Then I thought of heaven vs. earth.

We’re a mess down here below, it’s impossible to capture heaven on the other side of the sky.

It’s just way too wonderful to see, too wonderful to know.

And too significantly difficult to comprehend.

A family has lost a son tonight, a grief incomprehensible.

Many are the sorrows we may know or not know.

I wonder why Job called them “wonderful” and realize it is not for me to know.

Too Wonderful for any of us to know.