Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Surprises in the midst of life happening...


Surrounded by other blogger/writers, I came home from Jumping Tandem full of inspiration to write.  But words take time to simmer, a slow and savory marriage of verbs and nouns, adverbs and adjectives, blended with thought and emotion and experience and, hopefully, prayerfully, some godly wisdom and insight sprinkled in at the right time, in the right amounts.  Writing is no instant microwavable frozen entree.  

Life happens, they say, and perhaps those two simple words say it all.  Life, and death, does indeed happen, and sometimes they happen all at once.  I didn't have time to let the words simmer for weeks after I got home, and I thought that, perhaps, I'd lost the inspiration and forgotten the recipe.

Last night I fell asleep at nine o'clock and slept until seven o'clock this morning.  I slept for ten hours.  My husband commented that I've run on adrenaline all month long, and my body finally shut down.  Perhaps he's right.  It took three full days after our daughter's wedding, three full days away from church and ministry and responsibility, for my body to relax enough to sleep deeply and soundly.  Here in the juniper scented air,  in the warmth of the sun,  maybe I'll relax, and rest, and remember how to write word pictures that capture the beauty found in the midst of the way life happened in this wild and crazy month of May 2015.

Our youngest daughter got married on Saturday.  She was thirty two.  She's been independent and away from home for well over a decade.  That's why it surprised me when it happened.  Sunday afternoon I felt it.  I felt her detach from us and attach to him.  When I say I felt it, I mean just that, I mean it literally.  As surely as I've felt the Spirit of God work in me and through me, I felt a detaching from us as her covering, her protection, her safe place, and attach to him.  When it happened, I teared up, not out of sorrow, but simply because of the knowing that, in a real sense, our job was done.  The emotion of it surprised me then and surprises me now as I type these words.  I'm both so genuinely and completely happy and at peace that she will be well loved, and, yet, a bit raw and tender in my mother's heart at the same time.

I was surprised to experience another wave of grief over my mother's death as my daughter's wedding day drew near.  She was the first of our girls to not have any grandparents at her wedding.  On  a recent day, on my way to run yet another in a myriad of wedding errands, I drove by Mama's house.  It's always there, on the way to the bank, or the store,  and almost five years after her death, there is something inside of  me that always says, "Hi, Mama", when I drive by.  I know she's not there in that house with the big dogwood tree in the front, that she's not in that coffin in the ground at the cemetery, I know that she is enjoying eternal life with her Lord, I know all this, and yet, on that day running wedding errands, I had a whole conversation with her.  Let me assure you, it was totally one sided.  I'm not one to believe we should be conversing with the dead.  But, I told her what was on my heart, hoping Jesus would somehow get the message through to her.  I told her our girl was getting married.  I told her that the man she is marrying is good and kind and loves Jesus.  I told Mama that she would like him.  I told her about our baby grandson and youngest granddaughter that she never got to see in this life.  I told her I love her and miss her.

When she came to from the coma I was surprised.  She was forty years old.  Too young to be having her second heart mitral valve replacement.  The surgery was more complicated than expected.  She was in a coma and the doctors were pretty sure that there had been brain damage from a stroke that occurred during surgery.  We were all surprised when tests revealed no new brain damage.  Yet, the coma persisted for way too long.  Then, one day she woke up.  It was a miracle.  She began to talk, to eat, to walk.  The day before she was to be released from the hospital, she began to have shortness of breath.  Tests showed that there were leaks around the new mitral valve.  They were irreparable, inoperable.  Doctors told her,  bluntly, not mincing their words, that she was dying.  If there was anyone determined to live, it was her.  If there was anyone who had hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people praying for her, it was her.  Yet, she died.  It was a heart wrenching loss for her parents,  her husband, her daughters, her twin sister and other siblings, her loved ones, and her church family and to us, her pastors.  I believe God still heals today.  I want to see it happen with my own eyes,  in a case like this, when doctors say there is no hope.  I want to see God raise up someone off of their death bed, and for no one but God to get the glory for it.  One week before my daughter's wedding, we had her memorial service.  The service ended with a surprise to all of us.  Her sister had video taped her parting words to her husband, children, parents and siblings.  It was brave and amazing and profound and fearless.  She was, surprisingly, undaunted in the face of death.  

If you came to our daughter's wedding, you wouldn't have known that just a couple hours earlier I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off asking this person to put the linens on the tables, that person to put the tulips in the milk glass vases, this one to slice the pretzel buns for the bbq pork sliders, that one to make the lemonade. You wouldn't have known that the sound system didn't work until just before the ceremony was about to begin. When you saw our youngest grandson coming down the aisle, the cutest little ringbearer ever, perhaps you didn't know he'd just been released the evening before from the hospital, where he'd spent the previous two days, due to a respiratory virus.  I was surprised that, in spite of everything,  it all came together so beautifully, and that it was everything we had hoped it would be.

After the wedding, my siblings came over to our house, and we sat around eating leftover wedding cake and sipping coffee and visiting.  When they left, I was tired, but too wound up from all of the excitement to go to sleep.  So, I tidied up the kitchen and put away wedding decor that we had carted home with us.  When I did go to bed, I was surprised that I slept fitfully, my mind still on my girl.  It's because I knew that it wasn't the wedding that had been her heart's desire, it was the being married.  She had waited, waited in the way that is a rare and beautiful thing in today's culture.  Waited even when other Christians had told her, "God will understand if you don't wait, you're over thirty, you've waited long enough".  I lay there in bed and prayed for her, prayed for them, that God would bless them on this first night as man and wife, that He would make it special and sweet.  I was surprised to get a text from her in the wee hours of the morning telling me that they were up and getting ready to leave for their honeymoon trip and telling me that everything was perfect, with a smiley face emoticon following that short, simple sentence.

Life happens.  Death happens,  It's a wild and crazy ride full of surprises.  Sometimes it helps to try to put it in words.


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32 comments:

  1. That was so beautifully written, only from a mom's heart could you share these tender series of moments. Yes you are tired for many reasons. Rest well knowing it is all taken care of and God has blessed you with beautiful moments.

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  2. I got married in my 40's. Hearing your daughter's story put a big smile on my face. -- It's amazing how our bodies respond to the rollercoaster of life. I've had those tossing and turning nights when rest is a stranger. I should just get up and pray, but I lay there in bed thinking about how crazy it is that I can't sleep when I know I need to.

    Much love to you, Mother of the Bride. Your girl is hitched, and now we can get on with praying about the next thing (and hopefully sleeping more!)

    xo

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    1. Lyli, the way Gid gave my girl the desire of her heart is so amazing. I'd like to hear your love story sometime!

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  3. What a month of May. Full of excitement, joy, letting go, and grieve. It truly is life and death. I was just at a funeral this morning and thinking some of these similar things. thanks for the encouraging words. (Stopping by from Holley's place) :)

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    1. I'm so glad we are neighbors at Holley's! What a blessing!

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  4. I'm so thankful for your willingness to share your heart. So many of your posts minister to me. I pray you find rest from your whirlwind of busyness.

    Blessings...
    Sherri

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  5. as i've said more than a few times, "..and then life happens."
    i appreciate your thoughts today as they speak deep to my heart.
    blessings,
    sherry

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  6. What an absolutely beautiful post and what an amazing month you have had. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us at Good Morning Mondays. You are so right life and death happens but putting it into words helps, I so agree and I am so thankful that you were able to put this journey into words for us. Blessings to you

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    1. Thank you, Terri, for being such an encouragement to me.

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  7. First of all...this: "Writing is no instant microwavable frozen entrée" Yes, yes and amen!

    And then your heart on the page. Your daughter, your mother, seamlessly tied to your heart with words strung together to the page.

    Thank you for sharing your heart!

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    1. Thank YOU! Your post about writing was fabulous!

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  8. Oh Elizabeth. What a beautiful blog! I felt like I was along on this ride with you as I followed on IG, FB. God Bless you my sweet friend & thank you for sharing your beautiful life with us. Hugs n Love

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    1. Thank you, Carol, for being such a sweet online friend and encouragement to me!

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  9. So many emotions! But, now you can "exhale"! Just breath in all the goodness God has shown you these past few weeks. He is good in all things. So glad we have a Savior like that! Rest up, my friend. I love your talent for words. Thank you for sharing your life with us!
    Blessings to you and your family,
    Cindy~

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    1. These days away have been exactly what I needed after the highs and lows and busyness of this month. I wish we could stay a bit longer. We head back home tomorrow.

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  10. Hi Elizabeth! I'm so glad you were able to get that long sleep...maybe you could even use another long stretch. What a tumble of events and emotions. And these are HUGE life events. All the things you had to do to get the wedding off the ground, all the while mourning the passing of your mother... I can't imagine.

    God blessed you with a beautiful family, and great reasons to celebrate. I know your Mom was there with you, with her arms around your shoulders holding you up. I know you are grateful, but you are also so blessed. God is good.
    Ceil

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    1. Ceil, Mama died almost five years ago, but my daughter's wedding brought a fresh wave of grief since she was at my older daughters' weddings, but not here for our youngest daughter's.
      God is so good, though, and it really was a blessed and beautiful day. I am truly grateful to God.

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  11. Elizabeth,
    Wonderful post!!! You truly have a gift of expressing yourself in the written word. I teared up when reading of the all the different emotions of your month of May. Especially beautiful is the "waiting" your daughter continued, until the Lord was faithful to her desire. Beautiful. God will truly bless their marriage.
    Addie
    ps....I can't believe Christians told her it's, "okay"......????

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    1. Addie, God is so good. Just yesterday my daughter texted me how happy she is and how thankful that she waited for the right one. God knows what He's doing!

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    2. I would add....your daughter knows what she is doing also!!!

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  12. This one simmered to perfection, Elizabeth. ReJOYcing with you in your blessings, and grieving your losses. I pray June is a restful month for you. Blessings,

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    1. Thank you so much, June. And yes, I hope the month of June is more relaxing, too!

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  13. Thank you for writing this blog with so much openess! The extremes of life have an impact on body and mind. l am glad and thankful you have get that good sleep! "Just following Jesus ... in your real life."
    God bless you.

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    1. Yes, this blog is all about real like, with it's highs and lows, and about following Jesus through it all. I'm so thankful for His care and love and guidance and presence through it all!

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  14. Elizabeth, my eyes are filled with tears as I read words of your last month. The sorrow wound with the joy. Your mama's heart and your missing of your own mama. So much life and death, the fulfillment of heaven and the joining of two to become one. I'm so struck with all this and with love for you as I read. Thank you for putting your fingers to the keys for a while. This blessed me mightily. xo
    -Ashley

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    1. Oh, Ashley, what a sweet blessing your words are to me. I look forward to catching up with each other soon.

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  15. Such a special post, Elizabeth.

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  16. Such a special post, Elizabeth.

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