Monday, September 13, 2010

Tunnel Vision

I measure every Grief I meet (561)
by Emily Dickinson

I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes –
I wonder if It weighs like Mine –
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long –
Or did it just begin –
I could not tell the Date of Mine –
It feels so old a pain –

I wonder if it hurts to live –
And if They have to try –
And whether – could They choose between –
It would not be – to die –

I note that Some – gone patient long –
At length, renew their smile –
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil –

I wonder if when Years have piled –
Some Thousands – on the Harm –
That hurt them Early – such a lapse
Could give them any Balm –

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve –
Enlightened to a larger Pain –
In Contrast with the Love –

The Grieved – are many – I am told –
There is the various Cause –
Death – is but one – and comes but once –
And only nails the Eyes –

There's Grief of Want – and grief of Cold –
A sort they call "Despair" –
There's Banishment from native Eyes –
In sight of Native Air –

And though I may not guess the kind –
Correctly – yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary –

To note the fashions – of the Cross –
And how they're mostly worn –
Still fascinated to presume
That Some – are like my own – 

I often examine other's grief and wonder with my very own "probing eyes" what is the cause of their grief.  As I experience my own "grief" from time to time, I also see it "in contrast to the Love."  (PS. I love that she capitalizes "Love" in this poem).  The grief comes sometime in the letting go of things that I may have thought were important at one time, to have the realization that it meant nothing. I find the worldliness being cut from my life almost daily to force me to have tunnel vision on what is truly important:  my God.  Things that at one time I felt to be important are not; it simply becomes nonsense.  
As I may experience "banishment from native eyes, in sight of native air," I realize that my grief, again, comes from letting go of what others think and focus once again on truth, on Him.  Nothing else matters.  I am not here to please but to be purposeful in glorifying Him.  I've learned that sometimes this means extending grace even when I don't want to and simply moving on.  I often think that the grief comes in the transition of experiencing a wound and then it scarring over; it takes time for it to heal, reconcile, and feel the benefits of lessons learned when looking at that mark left behind.  I'm there, in the transition.
You and I may not agree on the prize, we may not even value the same prize, but my prize will not award me here on this earth.  My treasure is with Him, and I, like you, are going to have to work out this earthly presence.  Healing will come through nights like these; praying, pondering, reading, writing.   Healing will also come in the joys; teaching, laughing, growing, changing.
Again, the grief "in contrast to the Love," is little in God's great light. More than anything, I want to be able to stand in God's light and be able to magnify it more and more and more as each day passes.  This process is challenging and difficult, wherein lies the grief at times, but necessary, especially if your eye is on the same prize that my eyes are on.  So, I have to be thankful in times like this for the opportunity to experience what I've experienced and allow the wound to heal.  Just like Jesus' piercings, those wounds are what it's all about.  Without His wounds, ours would be meaningless.    

Monday, September 6, 2010

some thoughts

Our old neighbors down in Florida lost their beautiful 5 year old little girl yesterday afternoon.  A few weeks ago, I mentioned that our friends, Josh and Lisa, were going through a parent's worst nightmare:  their little girl, Ava, had a brain tumor that would maybe give them a year with her...she made it to 10 weeks.  I remember living in our house in Forest Edge, and Ava being born.  I remember being so excited for Josh and Lisa; they had a wonderful son, Noah, and now they were having a little girl.  I'm sure many of you do not know the Hunter family, but I encourage you to check out Josh's blog; he has documented this journey with Ava, and even left a post since her passing that brings so much to the forefront.
It reminds me that this life is not ours.  It is not about us.  It's about Him.  I believe that even in the midst of this tragedy, God is in control, He is being glorified in this moment.  Our children change us, even if they are with us for a brief amount of time.  They make a mark that makes us feel more deeply, care in a way that we never knew that we could, and get serious about the important stuff that we may have been putting off.
I remember when I discovered that I was pregnant with Alex.  I had this release of all this "stuff" that was weighing me down.  All of a sudden, it was clear what my priorities were more than ever and that nothing else mattered.  The past was no longer a heaviness in my heart; it was now transformed into this force to make me a better person for my baby and my husband.
Living my life as Alex's mom and Steve's wife has taught me how to be there, no matter what.  It has taught me to lighten up in some areas and get serious about others.  It's given me the opportunity to see what is truth, real truth, and to clear away nonsense and noise that so often can fill our lives if we aren't vigilant about it.  I can't imagine the person that I would be without them.  And now, we have TJ coming home soon, and still, I can't fathom how his beautiful life is going to change us.  Even now, I still feel like I haven't touched the ice burg on learning and growing to be a better servant for God.  Josh definitely talks about how Ava's life has done this for him, and I'm sure his words are much more significant than mine.
Steve and I are thankful for friends, family, and even those who may not like us so much.  I believe that God puts everyone in your life for a reason, and I refuse to believe that it's not for anything but to bring us closer to Him.  Yesterday, I spent the morning reading Romans 1 & 2 and just praying about some challenges that I've been facing, personally.  I went to Romans because Alex's memory verse last week was this:  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  (Romans 3:23)  That means you, me, your pastor, everybody.  My only question is, what are you doing as a result of that?  Are you continuing to just let hell go in a hand basket or are you making steps to rectify, to turn away from what you've done, and change into a person who is a vessel of blessing.  I realize that I will never stop messing up while I'm here on this earth, and therefore never stop rectifying, turning away from wrong doing, and ultimately never stop trying to be a better vessel of blessing.  I feel a responsibility to take that journey, to run that course until my last breath, and my daughter is huge part of my motivation.
I can't imagine what it would be like to lose her.  And now, I can't imagine what it would be like to not have the hope that TJ will be coming home and be in our lives, just like our crazy Alex!
I'm still working out how to be the best mom for Alex.  Especially right now, Steve and I are focused on learning more tools to be the best parents for Alex.  I believe we're going above and beyond to accomplish as much as one can in this moment before TJ is here.  This is our time to prepare her, to build her up, to correct as much as we can to help her grow and face future challenges.  Again, I can't imagine not having the opportunity to do this.
Please pray for the Hunter family.  Give everyone a hug in your house and ask yourself what it would be like if they weren't there.  Finally, be a blessing for them.