Saturday, July 30, 2011

Soothing Swinging and Seasons of Life

     I went out to my backyard tonight to swing. Yes, you read that right - swing. In my childhood years my mom had a hammock swing hooked up in our family room. She would swing me so many times one way, and so many times another way. It was "vestibular therapy" to straighten out the crossed wires in my brain, or something like that. I don't know how much benefit was gained, but it was fun! Throughout my childhood, I loved to swing on swings. In my adolescence I would swing on the swings at the little neighborhood park down the street from my house. One particularly sad Christmas night stands out now as I'm reflecting back. I was lonely on Christmas night, so I walked down the street in the dark and swang for about an hour or two. Quite a sad sight....but the swinging was therapeutic - once again. Somehow, strangely, I didn't feel so lonely anymore...
    A tense, painful conversation tonight-
    Embarrassing, yet tempting, glances I noticed earlier today (for crying out loud! What's wrong with you?! I'm an old lady with 6 kids! Please do NOT look at me like that young, handsome boy-man!)-
     And the loneliness - still there....different expectations, different situations, different people....same feeling
     And so, off to the swings I went to cry and pray and talk to my Friend. As I swung higher and higher and relished the dark night sky and bright, white stars, my soul was stirred and drawn to Jesus, my BFF - truly and amazingly. I discussed with him various things, I cried, I felt my tears drip down my face and wondered what my makeup looked like now....The swinging was so soothing to my jerked up, raw emotions.
     It seems to me that swinging can be quite helpful to many people. I think it might hearken back to the moving, rocking and calming sensations a baby experiences in its mother's womb. At night, as I would lay down for the evening, my babies -all of them -would become wakeful and start moving all around. The lulling movement of the day had ceased for a considerable period and they were now awake! Yee ha! And I was trying to settle down for the night. Preparation for that newborn period I'm sure.
     Maybe, just maybe, the loneliness and struggles I face at times are the stilling period of the night during various seasons of my life. Perhaps God is calling me to "stir" during those periods toward Him, toward his word, his promises, his truth. A birth is impending, perhaps into a new season, perhaps into a new life that he is preparing me for. Babies need healthy muscle tone and all that activity in the womb prepares them for health and vitality after their birth. Perhaps my night swinging and praying, crying, "having it out" with God is preparing me for this next season. who knows? I seem to liken so much to pregnancy, childbirth and mamas and babies that perhaps I'm taking the analogy too far. But I can't help but wonder if those pictures and correlations are how God speaks to he knows the language I understand....

Friday, July 22, 2011

With Sympathy....

     So, there I was. I knew I couldn't put it off any longer. My stepbrother, oh so tragically young (not even 50) passed away this week. Tim and some of our girls were heading out later that night for the long drive to where the funeral would be taking place. I needed to purchase a card to express our condolences. My plan was to send it in several weeks when perhaps the initial flood of cards, flowers, meals, and calls had lessened. I wanted my card to be one more reminder that there are relatives who cared and were sorry for their beloved's loss.
     In the greeting card section at Target, I warily started looking through the cards. Sending wishes your way that you find comfort in knowing how they are in a better place now.... or So sorry for your loss, words can't express how much he meant to us... and I'll never forget his smile, his will live on in our memories... There were cards that were religious, like With sympathy...praying that you feel God's comfort in this time of loss. I definitely wanted a card that included that I was praying, not just wishing, that they would find God's comfort, not just "comfort." How do you adequately express how sad you are and how much you want to bring them some measure of comfort, even with a silly card?
     As I browsed through card after card, finding one or two I liked, tears bubbled up and trickled down my cheeks. I was so relieved that I was alone in the aisle. I couldn't help but feel the stinging sadness, yanking at my heart, of losing my stepbrother. I imagined the effort it took for  his wife and kids to sort of momentarily put their grief, shock, and pain off  in a corner in a massive box labeled with a jagged and precise pen that said: GRIEF-OPEN LATER AND WRESTLE WITH AND PROCESS FOR YEARS AND YEARS ON END. In my troubled spirit I couldn't push away an irreverent desire to find a bold, brutally honest card that read something like this:
With Sympathy...

Death sucks!
I hate it!
All that is wrong with the world has to do with death!
I'm so mad that you lost this man you so loved, A man that had one of the kindest hearts ever!

And when you feel angry, too, or just want to cry - I'll be here for you
     Something to that effect. However,  Leanne showed up after several minutes of my card-perusing and popped a card into my hand. "I like this one," she declared. That Leanne of mine has such a perceptive, discerning mind that as I looked at the card, I noticed it was one of my top choices. I immediately placed it into the cart and off we were. "Mom," Leanne inquired, "why were you crying?"
     "Oh," I muttered, "just because." I really need to get better at explaining things.