Tuesday, August 14, 2012

of breezes and sunlight

It came as a surprise as I sat in church that Sunday morning. Something was different. Very different. What had happened? What was this strange thing that was happening to me?

Upon reflection, I realized that the darkness had lifted and its place came sunlight, streaming through the open window. More than just sunlight, a gentle breeze wafted through the open panes. I had never experienced something like this before. I had never experienced God like this before.

Someone suggested that perhaps it was an answer to prayer. An answer to the despairing cry of my heart. I asked, "How long would it last? How long before all would go dark again?"

I understand that we do not live on the mountaintops; that most of life is lived in the valley. But this. This wasn't the euphoria of the mountaintop experience. Or was it?

I basked in the warmth and embraced the gentle breeze. The accompanying joy ran deep. Like a well. Deep. Refreshing. Cooling. Embracing.

And then I felt the other too. It too ran deep. Deeper than ever before. It didn't overwhelm; it didn't threaten to loom large. It was just there. Deep. Raw. I wept. Grief doesn't go away even when the sun warms and the breeze refreshes. In fact, maybe because of the two vast extremes that I was experiencing, the intensity of each was accentuated. Joy. Grief. Maybe because I had recognized and was drawing from the deep wellspring of joy that I was able to face the unplumbed depths of my grief. I no longer worried about when or how long. I wanted to embrace the moment.

The days turned into weeks. Two weeks of sunshine. Two weeks of feeling that gentle breeze.

And then. Morning dawned. It didn't take long for me to notice the difference. It was so obvious. It was, once again, dark. Not a heavy darkness, for while the window was still open, there were no more rays of sunlight. The air was still. How long will it be like this? I don't know.

I am thankful for having had a reprieve from this present darkness. I am grateful for having experienced the refreshing breeze. And now... I guess I will once again wait in the silence. In the stillness. Maybe one day the light will again shine through, dispelling the darkness. Maybe one day I will again feel God's gentle breath blowing through the windows of my soul. Only time will tell.

and my prayer? that until that day, I will remain faithful.

Monday, June 25, 2012

pondering thankfulness and acceptance

I read a couple of statements on Facebook recently:

The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live...

Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives...

I guess I'm just not there yet... 

and truth be told, I don't know if I can get there from here.  At least not any time soon.  My heart is feeling pretty ransacked and broken and acceptance of what is or has been given seems an impossible aim since the God who was always the 'fixer' became a 'wrecker' and I don't quite know how to reconcile the two?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

one more step

towards closure...  It's not all over yet; I have a few more steps to take.

This past leg of the journey has been an endeavor to find a way to turn the functional into a something of beauty.  This was my aim this  past week.  I have been trying to put together the final pieces and stumbled upon something that caused me great anguish and grief. I have been feeling significantly chastised for not caring enough to spend more money. But, I don't think it would have been what he wanted. Thus, my endeavor to make something quite beautiful out of a very functional piece.

I have poured hours into trying to find a solution. My initial thoughts were to use my Cricut, creating a design that incorporated a Celtic cross with the wings of an eagle. But then I got stuck. What then? What would look best in transferring the design? a reverse image leaving the cross/eagle black and the rest of the container in color?  if so, what colour? Or would it look better to paint the image and leave the container black?

Not knowing how to proceed, I continued my search for the 'perfect solution'. I recalled some ideas from Pinterest, spray painting soap containers. I gave it a try. I took an old soap container and played with an idea. I liked the outcome - a rather marble-ish look.

I took a deep breath. It was time to take my idea and see what I could do. I had only one chance. I prayed that I wouldn't botch it. The result?  It is mostly pleasing and I have something that I mostly like, but above all, I think he would have been pleased with the result. So it is with deep gratitude and a special thank you to my daughter for her artistic finishing touch that I will take this urn to its final resting place later this summer.

I'm not sure when that will take place. I have begun the process for designing the memorial plaque. It will most likely be towards the end of summer before all these final bits are in place and then ...  I will take one more step.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Trusting the dark

The Dark. It has been a dark season - a dark season of the soul that St John of the Cross has called "the dark night of the soul". It's Cold. It's Very Cold. It's Silent. It's Very Silent. And it's Dark. Oh, so Very Dark. I am alone in the darkness. While my head may say that God is present, there is no evidence of that presence. His apparent absence makes the darkness seem even darker. The cold seems even colder. And it is disturbingly silent.

This photo doesn't really do justice to the dark - because in it you still get a glimpse of light. There is none of that in this season that I am in. Oh, occasionally I will experience a little glimmer - for a very very brief moment. A shaft of light penetrates the darkness, but it's gone in a flash. For the very briefest of moments it's there, but then just as quickly it's gone again. The darkness returns and I am enveloped once again in the dark - the cold - the silence - the absence of Presence.

Some have told me, "If it's dark and you feel God isn't present, then you have been the one to walk away from God. He is still where He always was." Reminds me a little of Job and his friends.

I read something a while back, and while I can't remember exactly where or what I read, essentially it said that it is precisely because presence was once experienced that absence is felt so deeply.

Trust. Running in parallel mode, there continues to be this idea of trusting God.  How can God, who has always been the 'fixer', and now has become also the 'wrecker', be trusted? While I am learning that there is much much more to this God than 'fixer' or 'wrecker' it's a long process of reconciling it all. I have come to understand, however, that more than taking steps to trust God, it's maybe enough to stop actively 'not trusting' Him. That seems to be a good place to start.

This matter of trust will not ensure that the darkness lifts; it's just a next step of my journey. God does give. God does take away. Job was able to say, "blessed be the name of the Lord" in spite of prosperity or great loss (Job 1:21). Should the darkness lift, may God be praised. Should the darkness continue, may I also find it within me to praise God.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Way . . .

is made by taking one step at a time. I went to see "The Way" last night. It's not a great movie in terms of plot or anything like that but I enjoyed it. I realized today as I was reflecting back on the evening that perhaps the reason I enjoyed it so much was that I imagined what it might be like to walk The Way... the Camino de Santiago... the Way of St. James...

700 kilometers of walking.... 30 days (more or less... most likely more)... average age of the pilgrim who makes the journey is a 51 yr old woman (or so I read somewhere on the internet today)...

Then I got thinking. I'm on a journey. I don't necessarily need to head over to France/Spain to walk the way. I'm on a journey right here and right now. Only difference at this moment is when walking The Way, there are other pilgrims who are walking also, not necessarily in company but there are others that you can see and perhaps even talk to about the journey.

Therein lies the rub for me today. I miss my companion. I miss having that one with whom I could share my thoughts and what the things that I'm reflecting on as I read and study.

Yet therein lies the rub (again) for if Florian were here I wouldn't be on the same journey and so wouldn't be needing/wanting to share these thoughts with him that have flooded my mind lately.

Maybe I'll add the Camino de Santiago to my bucket list...

Maybe I'll one day walk The Way...