But, reader, there is no comfort in the word “farewell,” even if you say it in French. “Farewell” is a word that, in any language, is full of sorrow. (from The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo)
Broken July 12, 2012
All living things have a heart. And the heart of any living thing can be broken. (from The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo)
Two months ago I had a baby girl and on the same day a friend of mine had a baby boy. June and Ezra–we called them birthday buddies. It was so much fun to compare notes on everything, to be next door hospital room neighbors, to see so many similarities between our sweet babies. On Tuesday afternoon, Ezra passed away suddenly. I can’t really write about it but I can’t really think about anything else. It’s like lightening striking the house next door–so close to home I can feel the heat and the shock and smell the burning wood. Yesterday I went to see my friend, Ezra’s mommy, and I saw a home full of broken hearts. If you pray, reader, will you pray for them?
An ordinary person January 31, 2012
Annemarie admitted to herself, snuggling there in the dark, that she was glad to be an ordinary person who would never be called upon for courage. (from Number The Stars by Lois Lowry)
I want to say something about this quote but the words won’t come. I want to say something about how it came to mind when I watched a mama walk into her son’s memorial service, how all I could think was, “How can they bear it?” Sometimes I think about how people look in their wedding pictures–so happy and hopeful and full of love–and how when they promise their lives for better or worse, they do it at a time when they can’t even conceive of the worst. No one thinks on that day that someday they might be the ones who have to face cancer or betrayal or loss. Or death. But I also think that on that blissful day, it’s impossible to predict the best of the times you will have. How can you know beforehand the joy beyond words of a child that is part of yourself? How can you understand that your love for each other can grow and grow as you earn the type of love together that you never dreamed existed? You can’t know ahead of time what joy and love the picture slide-show of your life will show. And you can’t know ahead of time if that slide-show of the best of times will play to give you comfort at the epoch of your worst of times. I know this is a babbling post. I hope you will forgive me. It is even more jumbled in my mind. The truth is we are all ordinary people. And the truth is we will all be called upon for courage. It is when someone answers the call for courage that she becomes remarkable. It takes courage just to live and to love and to risk loss. In Each Little Bird That Sings, we are told that “It takes courage to look life in the eye and say yes to the messy glory.”
An awfully big adventure January 18, 2012
Next moment he was standing erect on the rock again, with that smile on his face and a drum beating within him. It was saying, “To die will be an awfully big adventure.” (from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie)
One thing we left behind August 18, 2010
…one thing we left behind us on the harandra: fear. And with fear, murder and rebellion. The weakest of my people does not fear death. It is the Bent One, the lord or your world, who wastes your lives and befouls them with flying from what you know will overtake you in the end. If you were subjects of Maleldil, you would have peace. (from Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis)
The first scoop of ice cream July 29, 2010
“I expect I’m always going to miss my daddy. He loved us to pieces, didn’t he?”
Ruby gave herself over to memory. “He always let me have the first scoop of ice cream when we made it ourselves.” (from Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles)
This post is for all of my friends who have lost their daddies in the recent past: Amber, Candy, Connie, Peggy, Brent. I read this quote in Love, Ruby Lavender and immediately felt the urge to pray for all of you, that your memories of your fathers would be full of the joy of growing up loved, and not the pain of watching them die. There are so many ways you know that your daddies loved you I rejoice with you that you had that joy in this life. Just remember today that he gave you the first scoop of ice cream, built you that playhouse or those kitchen cabinets, taught you the scriptures, walked you down the aisle, helped you achieve your dreams, bounced your children on his knee. Remember that he loved you and that his love for you could never compare to the love of God in whose presence your daddy now glories forever. I love you.
You served July 2, 2010
“You served,” said Mama quietly. “You did what needed to be done. That’s what it means, Comfort. You did the right thing even when, somewhere deep inside you, you didn’t want to. Because you knew, somewhere even deeper, that it was the right thing to do. And…by doing the right thing, you saved yourself as well.” (from Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles)
Precious things June 15, 2010
Faith and affection and loyalty are precious things wherever they are found. That little dog’s love is a treasure, Jem. (from Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery)
For Shanna and family who had to put down their dog Stain today. I’m so sorry.
The True Master of Death June 6, 2010
You are the true master of death, because the true master does not seek to run away from Death. He accepts that he must die, and understands that there are far, far worse things in the living world than dying. (from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling)
Yesterday I attended the memorial service for my friend Gail’s father, Ray. Ray lived a long, full life, and was healthy right up until the last couple of months. I will always remember that his blue eyes twinkled when he smiled, which happened a lot, and that he was the kind of person who was always concerned with others. Even as the end drew near, I got the sense that he was not a man who had unwillingly resigned himself to the inevitable, but instead one who accepted the reality of death with dignity, peace, and faith. As we sat through the memorial service, I kept thinking of Rich Mullins’ song “Elijah,” the chorus of which says, “When I leave, I want to go out like Elijah / With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire / And when I look back on the stars / It’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park / And it won’t break my heart to say goodbye.” I’m sure that Ray hadn’t expected his time to come so soon, or so rapidly, but I’m even more certain that it didn’t break his heart to say goodbye.
Death is hard. But our culture seems so obsessed with evading death, with living forever, with being young forever. We act as if death is not natural, when really our attitude about it is what’s not natural. I guess I just hope that I can live my life with dignity and peace and faith, like Ray did, so that when the end comes, I’ll be a master of death, and it won’t break my heart to say goodbye.
[P.S.–sorry for not posting yesterday. By the time we got home from the funeral, I plum forgot.]