Here is a story for you.
There once were two friends. They were the closest that any two friends could be. They did everything together, they shared every thing. There was nothing that these two friends did not know about each other. One day one of the friends was accused of a terrible crime. Because the two friends were together all the time and because they knew each other so well, the one friend knew without a doubt that the other friend could not have committed the crime. Things got crazy and somehow a trial began. The friend watched helplessly as a case was built against her accused friend. The entire case was built on obvious lies, and yet no one seemed to care or be interested in knowing the truth. The jury rapidly brought in a guilty verdict, the judge issued a death sentence. The accused friend was taken away to die. Many people knew that person did not commit the crime. Her best friend was overwhelmed with sadness.
My best friend was falsely accused of a crime and received the death sentence. It was all part of a bigger plan that God set into motion at the dawn of time. On Easter Sunday we will have close to 4 times the normal amount of people at our church than usually attend on any other given Sunday. Why are they coming? Why don't they come again the next Sunday or the next? What is so important about Easter Sunday? Is it because they heard that my dead friend would be there? One Sunday a year we have the greatest opportunity to tell non-believers the truth; they come right to us, by the thousands. They are looking for a dead guy. We need to tell them he is not there. He is alive. With so much press about the death of Christ, the time is right to tell the rest of the story.
Read the story for yourself. Please. Even if you have read it before. Luke 19:28 - 24:50. It is the most important story you will ever read. Prepare yourself. That is what the season of Lent is for. What is Lent anyway? Some churches begin the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday developed in early medieval times as a day of penitence (sorrow, apology, regret) to mark the beginning of Lent - the forty days of preparation for the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The ashes traditionally burned from the palm branches of the previous Palm Sunday were smeared on the forehead as a reminder of our mortality, that we are "created out of the dust of the earth " and that it is only by God's grace that we receive everlasting life. In addition to this definition there are other meanings and traditions woven into Ash Wednesday. The Biblical symbolism for the imposition of ashes can be found in 2 Samuel 1:2, Genesis 37:34, Nehemiah 9:1 and Jonah 3:6. You will notice in these references it is dirt not ashes. In each of these verses the dirt and sackcloth is used to symbolize someone grieving, usually upon the death of a loved one or someone of great importance. The penitence for us today can be a time of reviewing the things in our life that Christ paid with His life when He died on the cross. Ask yourself this question: What in my life did Christ die for on the cross? Have I asked for forgiveness for that sin? What change have I made in my life to prevent that sin from re-occurring? Have I accepted the forgiveness that Christ offers to me when I confess my sins?
Sin in our life has the potential to prevent us from telling our friends about Jesus. Once we are free from sin we can then help free others. Thousands of them will be at our churches on Easter Sunday. They come and most do not return because there was nothing exciting enough, real enough, truthful enough to make them come again. We know different. My best friend was accused of a crime that I committed called sin and he paid for it with His life, but that is not the end of the story. My friend died for me and then He came back to life. That is as exciting, as real, as truthful as anything I know. I just need to share it.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The one year anniversary of the beginning of David's eternal life. I don't have words for what it is like for me right now. So, I decided it is time to share one of those AMAZING stories from this journey. I think I will start with the end. Odd I know, but....
Many of you may already know this but here goes anyway. Somehow David knew when he was not going to be able to communicate anymore. His last words to me were "Get a Garmin, buy a beach house, I love you." For those of you who know me, I have absolutely no sense of direction. I think I may even have some kind of directional impairment. It was my habit to get lost often. Once cell phones became a part of normal life, I no longer had to stop and call David from a pay phone to ask how to get to where I needed to go or how to get home. It did not matter where I was, he could get me where I wanted to go. Even if I was in another city or state other than the one we were currently living in, David could help me figure out where I was and where I needed to go. Part of this skill had to due with the amount of travel he had done when he worked for American Golf Corporation. I merely had to spot a golf course, note the name and make the call. I honestly think he knew where every golf course in America was located. His directions NEVER failed me, not even once. Perhaps he had secretly implanted some kind of chip on me that enabled him to locate me no matter where I went. Seriously, how could he always know right where I was and how to get me to where I wanted to go. I bought a Garmin shortly after his last day on earth. Every time I use it I wish it was him giving me the directions. I guess in a way it is. True love is knowing someone so well and loving them so much that you tell it like it is, tell them what they need the most and seal it with love. I am so blessed to know for sure how much he loved me, not only the last day he spoke to me, but every single day of our days together.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I have avoided blogging recently. I don't want the world to see me as a sad person, but XXXXXX I am in PAIN. I am OK with anyone who wants to stop right here and not read on. Click away.
Lots of people have asked me to blog about my feelings. I try to highlight the funny or the deep or the thoughtful, but February is nothin but pain. God (and I do mean God) I miss him so much. February 25th will be one year of life without the love of my life. Valentine's Day will be my last first. In grief recovery (oxymoron by the way - there is no recovery) we talk about all the 1st you have to face after a loved one dies - the 1st Christmas, the first wedding anniversary, the 1st time the loved ones birthday rolls around. My last first will be Valentine's Day. Please put me in a comma that day! In fact just put me in a comma now. I walked the mall for exercise last night and stupid pink and red stuff is everywhere. Over and over my heart was attacked and bashed to pieces. I am not going back to the mall to walk again until March.
Here is one of the things I am facing for the first time in my life, OK one of the millions of things I am forced to face for the first time in my life. I have a prayer I know God will say "NO" to. I prayed it last night, cried it for hours last night. You may be saying to yourself "Oh Robi God might say "Yes" or "wait." No, he won't. I begged God last night ( and many nights before) to bring David back. I just want him back. But, I know that is not going to happen. David is gone and his body is now just ash. Please don't try and tell me, "Well you will see him again someday." I know that, but I want him now, like I have never wanted anything in my life. I hurt, all over, all the time. Sure I put on a good face, keep busy, try to be nice to everyone, but inside I am as raw or maybe even more raw than the day he died. I loved him for over 25 years and frankly one stinkin year doesn't begin to make it any better.
Let me say at this point to my readers - no worries. I am safe. I have surrounded myself with friends and professionals who are looking out for me. Really, I am safe. But trust me safe does not always mean OK or doing OK or pain free.
Anyway. I wrote on David's facebook while I was at the beach not too long ago, "Missing you at the beach. Missing you everywhere I go. Twenty-five years of marriage was not nearly enough. Eternity in heaven will make up the difference. Meet you by the gate. Bring JP (our dog who died a few months after David.)
I am not OK. I will survive. I am in pain. I will feel better another day.
There are so many wonderful things God has blessed me with in the past year. He is not going to answer my prayer and bring David back. There are wonderful things to come. Today, the truth is I loved someone with all my heart and when he died, my heart ..... I can't even put words to it, but it hurts, bad. Deep pain can be evidence of deep love.
Believe it or not, I still recommend you love deeply.
My Valentine's request. If you love someone, make sure you have a will and life insurance. If you are a man married to a woman and you don't - you do not truly love her. Nobody knows the number of days God has in store for them. The death of a husband is horrible enough. I can't imagine, but I have witnessed, what happens when a husband dies without a will or life insurance. Please, take care of the ones you might leave behind. The pain alone will be enough to deal with and survive.
Happy Deep Love Day. Consider the true meaning of love on February 14th, not just the colors, flowers and candy.
Monday, January 18, 2010
The season of Inbetween has arrived. For the month of January I have been in between Florida and Tennessee. I have been in between the Fall, J-term and Spring term. I kind of like in between. The motion of it suits me. Back and forth, up and down like I am being rocked in a cosmic rocking chair. OK, sounds good, but I am only trying to fool myself. I like a schedule, OK I like being entirely in control of my schedule and keeping it simple. Once school starts February 8th I will be on a schedule again. I love school. I even loved my intensive course on Law and Ethics. It was Law and Ethics for licensed mental health counselors. I wonder if loving a law and ethics class has a mental health diagnosis?
We are all in an in between time in a way. We are between life and death. No matter who you are the moment you are born the count down to heaven begins and you live between life and death. I find this so weird because we ignore this undeniable fact in the choices we make every moment of every day.
The moment David found out he had the worst cancer possible our lives changed. What had seemed huge became minucia and the menucia became huge. It is a different way to live.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I do not like the cold. I distinctly remember (almost impossible for an ADHD person like me so it must have been big) watching the weather from my childhood home in Tulsa Oklahoma. The weather man was going on and on about how the cold and ice would be around for several more days. I asked my mom or dad (can't remember which) "Why does the weather man always stand in front Florida (OK I really said to the far right of the map. I was terrible at geography) when he is doing his report?" My dad said, (the answer sounds like him now that I think about it) "Because if everyone realized how warm and sunny it is year round in Florida, everyone would move there." Even at the tender age of really young I remember thinking "That is where I want to live."
Growing up I hated "car coats (short heavy jackets with a cumbersome hood)", stirrup pants (required if you were wearing boots), rubber boots ( mine were the most disgusting shade of brown ever. My mom bought them 2 sizes too big so the humiliation would last more than one winter), knit hats, and my all time least favorite - idiot mittens. You know the kind; the mittens with a string connecting both mittens so you don't loose one. I had never heard them referred to as idiot mittens until I heard a Bill Cosby comedy album recording (geeze that dates me) entitled "Why is there air?" Cosby describes idiot mittens as the kind where if someone comes up and pulls your left mitten real hard, your forced to sock yourself in the face with the right. Anyway, you have to put the mittens on first to make the whole equation work. Starting with mittens does not work. Without fingers, you can't zip anything, you can't pull on your boots (they are made entirely of plastic and mittens slip on plastic and you can't latch the little loopy, tightening, button thingy with no fingers), pulling a knit hat on with mittens on your hands causes static electricity in your hair (poof, hair clinging to your face and reaching up towards the top of the hat), and of course there is the inevitable problem that the minute you get everything on you then need to pee. I won't go into the details of mittens and uuummm toilet paper issues. Oh my gosh! I just had a flash back to the most horrible and funny childhood memory! This may be TMI for some people. OK, at the home where I grew up we had an electric heater. It was built into the bathroom wall - really! On cold nights my mom would turn the heater on just before I got out of the bathtub. That thing could cook the entire bathroom in about 5 minutes, so timing was imperative. One cold night I jumped out of the tub, ran dripping wet to stand in front of the heater, lost my balance and backed up into it bare butt'ed. It had a metal grill-like front cover. It had been on at least five minutes. I "ended up" with a grill like pattern burned on my back end. I slept on my stomach for two weeks. Ouch, that was miserable. I hated that heater after that. Back to the mittens. Oh forget the mittens, the point is I hate everything related to winter or being cold. Now that I think about it, maybe the third degree burn stripe scares on my ... are at the root of my problem with winter. Ha, winter was literally a pain in the ...
So, fast forward 40 something years. I am triumphantly sitting in my room in Florida. A childhood dream come true. Except I have on three layers of clothes, long sock, house shoes and I am huddled under three blankets because it is 37 degrees with a predicted low of 27 tonight. I'm watching the weather tonight to see where the weather man is standing now!
PS: Don't worry about me. The hot flashes in the middle of the night are like a short vacation to something akin to a Tropical Rain forest with temperatures to rival the Sahara desert. Toasty and wet.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I spent New Years eve in a place I had never been before. Now that I type that I realize it has more than one meaning. I spent New Years eve in a suburb of Atlanta Georgia with Dale's girlfriend's family the Sisco's. I wanted to be someplace unfamiliar. Strange, when is the last time you wanted to be someplace unfamiliar? I was avoiding the memories, afraid of the memories actually. Memories are still so raw and painful despite my best efforts to either re frame them or just let them wash over me rather than fight or suppress them. As I already knew, you can't hide from grief, it is a companion. I do not remember anything about New Years eve last year, except that I knew it would be my last with David. My last New Years kiss with the one I thought I would spend forever with.
Instead, I watched my son have his first New Years kiss with the one I think he will spend the rest of his life with. I spent New Years knowing Penelope Drew Lipscomb was welcoming in her first new year. I spent New Years knowing DJ rang in a new year as a dad and Amanda as a mom. I was in a place I had never been before.
When I went to bed on New Years eve I thought about all the amazing blessings God had provided in 2009. I silently wondered if because I had, in my opinion, received more than my fair share of blessings in 2009 that his blessings would end as 2010 began. I am so thankful for all God did that I was content with the abundance I had already experienced.
I woke up on January 1 and welcomed in the first day of 2010 with a slice of spinach quiche. The evening before a friend of Sisco's had dropped off the quiche. I love spinach quiche, but never make it since I am the only one in my family that likes it (which of course now that I said that one of my sons will adamantly deny). I consider spinach quiche a personal treat! A blessing. Then I wondered, are there really more blessings or has something changed in me that just helps me recognize and claim blessings in a way that I did not before? Who cares! I got spinach quiche and I am counting it as the first blessing of the new year!