Monday, April 18, 2011

Grace has a Face

I have a story on my mind. something that a recent aquaintance shared just the other day.
I cannot stop thinking about it...or him.

He is a kindly gentleman. not someone that I've known very long
But he is becoming a friend of our family
and I'm sure that we'll be spending more time with him again soon in the future.

He's mid-sixtys but not fragile.
Tall, well over 6 feet. His hair is completely white and rather wispy on top.
Sometimes kinda Albert Einstein-like, depending on whether or not his day included a hat.
He's usually wearing a sport coat and is seldom without converse all-stars on his feet.
A quirky combination that I find appealing. and it fits him.
He likes to talk and does.
About pretty much everything.
He enjoys story telling and creating opportunities to laugh. even at himself.
His background of growing up in Atlantic City with his movie theater running family and working on the boardwalk
aren't anything that my rural mennonite roots can relate to. but how fascinating.

Anyway. When we crossed paths last week,
he started telling me about when he was young, or young-er. ;) in his early twenties and dating a girl.
The Girl. the one who was love at first sight, he said.
He was so smitten that as he sat in the college math classes that he enjoyed,
{yeah. math is his thing. i cannot relate to that either.}he couldn't think at all. except about her.

He told me that she ended up getting pregnant.
Not a good thing for him. not with his plans. his ideas. his goals and all that was going on.
Not a good thing for her either. no matter how much she wanted a baby someday,
it wasn't then. 
Not so soon.
And not unmarried.

Now, I really do enjoy learning about the childhood and younger years of others.
Like a clock spring being wound, so to speak. what has influenced and is a part of who they are, or aren't, today.
what makes 'em tick. or tick tock. or what has contributed to some of us popping out with an occassional cuckoo! cuckoo! on the hour. ;)

But honestly? I was starting to feel uncomfortable. unsettled.
Like an invited passerby to someone else's emotional past that rippled to affect the present.

I noticed contradictions. I tried not to. really I did.
I wondered if he could hear them.
and then realized that I probably don't with my own...either.
But, ahem.cough.sputter.
 I would have really good reasons for mine, right? 

I heard him try to convince himself.
that his baby was the most wanted ever on the planet.
But. abortion had definitely been considered an option. something suggested by his girlfriend he said. to which he agreed. then no. disagreed. only later retracting all those words and claiming that actually he was the one who first verbalized abortion as the way out.

So I felt confused. I heard him coping with his emotions that included saying what he wanted to hear, how he wanted it be. which left me wondering at times how it really was. or wasn't.

I heard him talk about the open honest relationships that he values in his life...
and yet insist on noble sounding reasons for keeping his child a secret for as long as he could from most of those closest to him.

I heard him emphatically confess his own immaturity and selfishness. his lack of understanding of how traumatized his girlfriend was. I heard embarrassment and shame over what he communicated as failures. how terribly they fought. how they argued. how they were going to get married. then not. then they were again. and then how it finally came to her saying let's not see each other at all anymore.

I heard how it was decided by the middle trimester that their baby would be put up for adoption.
And I wondered...what that baby sensed...
like the millions and millions of others
that grow under a lonely mother's broken heart.

a person and place that only The Great I Am can hold, comfort and love on.

and i thought about that for a long time.

I felt his eyes pleading for me not to judge. two desperate people feeling cornered and uncared for. I heard pain when he said that he saw his child only one time at twelve days old. I sensed his unspoken apologies. Later that baby, at about four weeks of age, was placed with an adoption agency.

And then he stopped reminiscing. he really didn't venture beyond that.
Except to emphasize how loved that child always was and will be.

Like I said, I can't stop thinking about this story.
How Grace has a's a divine gift
that sometimes can only be recognized through the lens of the present
as you look in the rearview mirror
and see Him...

It was deeply touching. truly.
And stories that include people I've met can be especially near and dear.

I feel today, as I remember what was shared,
verses well up in my heart
for all of the people in the story.

"The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace."
Numbers 6:24-26

Grace has a Face...and it's His.

The baby in the story is all grown up now.
And I happen to know her quite well.


actually, you might too.

at least

you know her here...

as Cindy at down_onthefarm.


Grace has a Face...and it's His.

shining. gracious. peaceful.

and I've experienced it from the very beginning.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Unthinkable grief ~ Indescribable God

unthinkable grief ~ indescribable God

Indescribable. look at that word. check it out. it doesn't even appear to be spelled right...does it?
something about the "bable" part looks so wrong. but then, maybe not.
i would only be "bable"-ing if i were to attempt to explain the Indescribable.

it is experienced with your soul,
felt with your spirit,
and expressed with your physical being...
but not always and never completely with words.

He's been bringing that word to my attention in various ways throughout the last number of weeks and I've wondered what all He's up to with it.

For some reason, my light bulb moments usually work like one of those 3-way kind of bulbs.
Meaning, it takes more than a couple of repetitive clicks for me to catch on and really get it.
what He is saying, revealing, doing.So it's in a dim 50 watt or less-ish way...first. with a little head jerk. that I might recognize significance.
And over and over I have experienced Him lovingly repeating Himself opening the eyes of my heart
patiently illuminating and underlining His fingerprints in my life.

Turning a scared and stubborn little knobby thingy in my brain. click to 100 watts. and then again. click to 150. or click. perhaps something with stadium-bright-intensity.

And then...even when I can't  usually don't  see the whole stage...
I get something, a little bit more,
maybe simply getting that I don't get it...
and there He is. Him and His spotlights, right with me and my little lightbulb moments.
instant whoa brilliant illumination kind of lightbulb moments? not me. not usually. not yet.Indescribable. A 3-way bulb in my head. And it's been in the spotlight.IMG_7232

Not that long ago, my sidekick and I traveled to the airport to pick up Audrey. jacob {he melts my heart} turned heads with his large cowboy hat and black rubber boots.I was beyond excited!  And our visit together,  Audrey and Cindy as well as other mutual friends;  Gloria,  Thelma,  Rachel  and  MJ  was in many, many ways even more than I had anticipated it being. You know how it is, when you connect with really.special.friends? There's just something... Indescribable. You know that HE is involved. Audrey and I even talked about that word and how we perceive it to be one of His trademark signatures. You can read more about the "pickin up" part here, Audrey's PA adventure here, and Thelma has a great post too, right here.

My heart was so full. My head was spinning. Both were happy. And I wanted to share.~thelma's pictures
194872_1897372042186_1478175072_2212214_1841922_o 192379_1897366282042_1478175072_2212188_756728_o

But then came...Terrible news.
The pleasedearGodnonono kind with Unthinkable Grief.

The kind that forever divides time on this planet into a Before and an After.

Our dear friends 9 year old son died.Unthinkable Grief...and yet I know. I cannot.even.imagine theirs.

i cannot imagine.It's the kind that squeezes hard in places that you didn't know you had places.
It leaves you unable to breathe...with groanings that are loudly quiet. and quietly loud.

Unthinkable Grief...and yet I know. I cannot.even.imagine theirs. 
It collided with the ordinary everyday shmeveryday.
It packed a suitcase and put me on an airplane that crossed the country.

There's a shift *jolt* in perspective.
a hypersensitivity to both the trivial and the important.
a deep heart felt awareness as life continues its demands,
same-ness that is not the same at all,
that time is shorter, ticking louder and faster.
yet is being watched strangely slow-mo and as if narrated in the third person.

there's still dinner to make and a "sorry i'm late."

there's still bickering and bedtimes that nobody likes but me.

there are still teenagers who put their clean laundry on the floor,
and dirty *uh ahem* garments where i want to set my coffee mug.

there's homework to quickly finish and heartwork that's only started.

there are still relationships that need rescued.

there's still a purple teddy bear at our house,
trying to lead a stuffed curious george to the Lord, according to sarah.

there are still two year old tantrums at the age of five. {and forty-one.}

there's still embarrassment when finding i had spent a 4 hour layover
walking around with my zipper down. just so not cool.
Unthinkable Grief...and yet I know. I cannot.even.imagine theirs.and i found...
there is still.
and always will be.
An Indescribable God.

for the ordinary everyday shmeveryday.
for the unthinkable.

like He promised.

He is...experienced with your soul,
felt with your spirit,
and expressed with your physical being...
but not always and never completely with words.
I saw my friends with unthinkable grief
embraced with peace
sustained with grace
held up with love
experiencing a secret place in His presence...that's our Indescribable God.  

I sat in a service that celebrated the life of a little boy
raw with honest emotions,
yet hopeful,
glorifying our Father of all Comfort.
not something that human beings put together by themselves. ever.
that's our Indescribable God.

I saw the hands and feet of Jesus in a community that came together
and honored HIM as they grieved.
that's our Indescribable God.

And {click} He's in the spotlight. Indescribable.

I don't know much about heaven, but I'm thinking that heavy choir robes, hovering halos and incessant harp playing would have me yawning and sneaking a peek at my watch.

But I do know...
there's a little boy there
with stick-up hair,
a wide mischievious grin,
and bare piggy toes.

The same boy who had dressed up like his own dad when his AWANA club held a Favorite Hero theme night.
I do know {as revealed by The Comforter to my friend}
that Jesus raised His nail scarred hand and high-fived
His warm welcome to the new kid.
that's our Jesus. sweet Jesus.And...I know that the basketball team is cheering their new point man.
I'm thinking too that there's Lego projects in heaven, Rubberband Launchers and wrestling matches on trampolines. There's you name it, all the sports equipment he's ever fanatically dreamed of. There's climbing under the bleachers and ankle grabbing. While he's not hanging up laundry, he probably is sitting on top of the washline post. If they have those there. And he's probably finding the coolest rocks to chuck into the Jordan River, making the biggest splashes ever.

As others shared, this little boy lived life as if it was short.
He was
all in.He was always running out on ahead...running out on ahead...running out on ahead...And he did. just that. straight into the arms of Jesus.


My heart aches for my friends and the normal...that is not.
please...join me.
in breathing prayers and carrying my friends,
this dear family,
to Him.
taking their unthinkable journey of grief to
The Great I Am
our Indescribable God.

thank you.
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord,
more than watchmen wait for the morning...

Put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption."                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Psalm 130:5-7

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
He drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me...the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
He rescued me because He delighted in me."
Psalms 18:16-19