It isn’t that I am not going to write this year. I have had things on my mind, places to go, laundry to do, all jumbled and busy. Then, as so often happens, something came up that put the important things in life into sharp perspective. One of those people who is always there, who is always dependable, who is unfailingly kind and wise, stepped into heaven while he was sleeping.
The Summy family moved to this area the same summer we did, 29 years ago. Their children were close to my age and we went to school together. Now they are walking through the painfully dark valley of the shadow of losing a husband/father/grandfather. I have always believed that the verse in Psalm 23 is especially for those who go on living. I pray, “Hold them, Jesus. Be with them.” It comforts me to know that in our human failing to be able to make things better, He is there for them.
We have talked a lot about sadness with the children. About death and new bodies and eternal life. Olivia, who is very tenderhearted, said that she kept thinking maybe just any time there will be a miracle and Freddy and Alannah’s grandpa would come alive again. The little girls declared that Leroy did not die. They saw him sleeping. I was reminded of Jesus’ compassionate words to Jairus when his little daughter had died, “Don’t cry. She is sleeping.” He said the same about Lazarus, his friend who was ill and died before he got to his house, “Our friend has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” Even though Jesus knew Lazarus would rise from the dead, he wept for the grief of the family, and this is His heart of tenderness to those who are bowed with sorrow.
I keep thinking about the Things That Matter. Why do we forget so quickly? This moment of spilled grape juice does not matter. What matters is the little face crumpled in remorse. It was just an accident and we will wipe it up.
The rip in the coat from sliding down the hill on the ice has no eternal significance, but the child who was wearing it does. I apologize for a scolding that forgot about the heart, and now we will try to mend it.
My limping washer with its fits and starts is of small consequence, but my husband’s weary efforts to understand the repair manual and outsmart it do matter. He deserves the specially blended cup of coffee and the happy wife serving it.
I ask again, why do I forget so easily and become wrinkled in my spirit when it is just cares of this life anyway? When my spirit returns to the One who made it, I want to have lived for eternal values.
I bought myself this little goodie with some Christmas money. It’s a tiny journal with wise quotes at the top of every page and space for 5 years. It is fun discipline to condense a day into just a few lines.
When the boys were little, Gabe would laugh at my stories at the end of the day and say, “You lead a charmed life.” At the time I didn’t really think that was the right adjective, but now I do. Recently I went back through my Facebook statuses and wrote down all the funny moments that I posted about the children. When the boys read them, they said, “No way! I never asked to google ‘How can I be six again’.” They laugh at the Gregisms: “I bet George Washington was named after Curious George.” They love it, going all the way back to when they were little boys, just a few blinks ago.
(I would not remember any of this stuff if I didn’t write it down. You won’t either. Even if you don’t like to write, just go to Amazon and spend 10 dollars for a pretty little diary and make yourself write a sentence every day.)
Last week Rita took upon herself the job of shining the glass door where the puppy paws to get inside. She did a great job, but only a few hours later I noticed muddy prints again. I was working, distracted, when I heard her gasp dramatically, “Ohhh! Look at the window!”
I commiserated without looking up, “I know. It’s all dirty again.”
“No! It’s snowing!!!” she corrected me. I looked out, and sure enough, it was snowing. God had granted her longings for snow. The mud on the glass couldn’t diminish that joy.
Life. How I live it really matters. Let’s cheer the space we share with others. Today.