Yesterday, Veteran's Day, my family spent the day remembering, honoring and saying goodbye to my sister's father-in-law. It was a fitting day for it as he was a WWII vet.
His grandchildren - my niece and nephew - had never been to a funeral before so the whole experience was new to them, and in typical fashion, they handled it with grace and much humor.
One such moment came when they were with my sister buying what they came to refer to as "funeral clothes". My sister was talking to them about the funeral and happened to mention that our parents have made arrangements to be cremated. She said, "I've already told Nana that we are NOT keeping her in an urn on the mantle!" to which my niece replied, "Let's put her in a mason jar and put her on the couch everyday so she can watch Jeopardy!"
Moments of belly-laughing joy in the midst of sadness. Isn't God good!
I should explain that Jeopardy was my grandmother's favorite show - along with Wheel of Fortune. She watched religiously every day. We like to say that grandmother didn't really die, she just moved into my mother's body.
Oh, and for the record, Papa wants to watch NCIS from his mason jar. It's good to plan ahead.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
No matter how much pain it causes him to look...
Morning walks are a great
way to be still before God. If you leave the phone at home or in the car and simply set out on a journey - even a familiar route - the newness of each day draws you to the Father.
Sometimes the strangest things pop into my head when I'm walking. I tend to alternate between daydreaming about story plots or scenes in the book I'm working on, and praying. It's a nice way to spend the morning.
Sometimes the things that pop in have nothing to do with the current themes running around in my head, but they can be so profound - and simple.
Today as I walked I watched a man with a beautiful German shepherd walking ahead of me. I've seen him there before. The dog is never on a lease but is so well behaved and content with his master I know that he is well loved. I've seen the man stop walking just so he can reach down and love on his pet. It's beautiful.
A moment later my mind flashed to those late night commercials about animals that are abused and neglected. I can't stand to watch them - ever. I react physically and emotionally to those commercials - which I guess is the point, to the extent that I can be emotionally affected for hours afterwards. I change the channel every time, without fail.
My next thought was how God never does that. Every second of every day somewhere in the world an elderly person or a child or an animal is being neglected or abused. They are scared and without hope. Most of those we will never know about. Sometimes that thought is overwhelming to me and I ask God how he can stand it.
He sees it all. He feels it all. Whatever is done to "the least of these" is done to him - good and bad. He never flinches. He is there in the suffering and the fear and the pain bearing it with us.
I know there is an entire theology on suffering. I'm in no way qualified to explain it or understand it. I'm just so thankful for the reminder today that God never leaves us to struggle alone. Not ever.
It doesn't matter what your struggle is or how it compares to someone else's. Whatever is happening to you know that God is there. He may be silent for now, but he will never leave you. His love and strength will take you moment by moment until he brings you through it.
Praying for you today,