My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as to those who simply love to read. You will find snippets of things I am working on and special announcements here.
I listened to a song this morning that brought comfort. The song is entitled Never Saw Blue by Hayley Westenra (You can listen here if you like Never Saw Blue).The concept caused me to wonder if this might be my brother-in-law's response when he crossed into eternity this past week. My sister called with the news of his death, and the response for our family was like a black ribbon of sorrow that spooled through our lives. This was a man greatly loved and cherished by my sister, a man who deeply loved my sister in return. A man who loved his daughter. A man who loved God. When I heard the song, I wondered if perhaps this lovely man may have had a similar encounter when he entered the heavenly realm, a blue so pure that he felt awestruck. Blue in spiritual symbolism represents grace. Perhaps the vivid color and extravagant concept melded to create an overwhelming feeling of love and peace, his Kingdom inheritance.
Meanwhile we grieve his absence this side of heaven. We weep.
The pale Italian sky reflects my face, drained of rose and sun, twisted with sorrow. My ex-husband died yesterday after post-operative complications.
I skyped with my daughter--our daughter--and we wept together. She said he had "landed softly" and that she had a vision of him being welcomed by Jesus "and he felt so loved, the Lord so happy to see him, calling him friend," she said through hot tears that streaked her cheeks.
Death paradoxically characterized by joy in the certainty that "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus." Yet we are still here when the one who has left is in the near presence of the Lord.
I grieve for my children who are left without an earthly father. I mourn that I was not the wife my former husband needed me to be, that our marriage could not transcend the deep longings each of us held. My heart is broken for the wife he leaves behind. Fragments and splinters and slivers of sadness lay scattered at my feet.
Amid this grievous rubble, standng with me, is the One who also wept at His friend's grave, the high Priest who understands separation and loss. I pick up each shard of lament, each shred of disconsolation, and hand them over to Him. In return, He presses into my hands comfort and peace, the reality of His mercy and constancy in heaven and on earth.
Music, coffee, making lists--my antidotes for stress when I wrote in my journal, "I would like to step off the edge of this intensity and slow down. I need some space to unfold and breathe."
I continued reading journal entries for the last six weeks--the craving for stillness and silence underscored on almost every page. Yet other entries bobbed to the surface--all the ways God's kindness to guide and tutor me parallel my insecurities--the paradox of experiencing jubilation in the midst of circumstancial stressors.
I wrote, "I have stayed in the light. I have gotten close to the dark edges, but I have not moved out of His encircling presence. I have used my spiritual coping tools of 'saying no;' 'listening to empowering podcasts,' 'writing down insights,' and 'reading.' I must work to stay in the light and utilize every coping mechanism available. Keep it simple. Pray. Declare promises. Do not fret or worry. Be of good courage. Relax into the provision. God is good, and His heart is unchanging toward me."
I am learning peace. I am learning grace.
God intends refreshment.
I unfurl my faith.
Trust your happiness and the richness of your life at this moment. It is as true and as much yours as anything else that ever happened to you.~Katherine Anne Porter, Letters of Katherine Anne Porter
I stopped to look up into the sky, to see the cloud formations. I felt such peace watching them glide by, appreciating their pace. No hurry. I thought that clouds often seem like comforting companions to me. Diverse and artful. One morning this week at sunrise, a congregation of cloud layers seemed to descend upon me. Light poured through billowy tiers and blushed pink. I whispered to myself, "Oh, the beauty of this day."
Sometimes, though, I have such a struggle hanging onto the richness of life. I get easily sidetracked. My emotions flair, and I unravel in feelings of fatigue or anxiety, hopelessness or dread. And then images like cloud formations or giant oak trees or dawn breaking, snap my attention to more positive, powerful thinking.
One of the phrases that appears in Scripture is the exhortation to "Be strong." (Joshua 1:1-9) I've asked this question in prayer: God, how do I cultivate strength?
Sometimes I ponder what it takes for a person to be resilient--to sustain resiliency. My personality often does not yield itself to being resilient. I need more solitude and sleep than the average person. I require swaths of time to regroup after social interactions. Small talk drains me almost like nothing else. I could spend the whole weekend at home in my study, happy as a lark. Silence rejuvenates me. I bask in staying under the radar. Hidden. Yet this week I've grappled with my longing to be read--to be published. Such paradox. I believe my yearning was stirred when I received a rejection email from a literary journal in which I'd hoped my writing style would fit. I can be like a child playing "hide and seek." I'd like to be discovered, if only briefly.
My personaility, though, serves me well in other areas. I can be quite intuitive, picking up on moods of others--noticing non-verbal cues. Reading faces. I am an astute observer, noting fine details. I am an empathic listener. Curious. I realize these characteristics probably make me a better writer. And so it goes. It is helpful for me to embrace all the aspects of who I am. Hide and Seek. Black and White. Light and Dark.