Tag Archives: mourning

Still, That Guy: Part IV

The Passover is past. The men who died on the crosses are buried. Yet, the numbers of people that seem to think and feel the same as I do is remarkable. Even if it isn’t apparent on their faces, in their countenance, all morning I heard them say so.

In the marketplace one man exclaimed to the group he was with, “…ever since I heard things Jesus said around the village and especially at the temple I see things differently. I can’t explain it, but I feel more hopeful.”

I wanted to ask him more, but that’s none of my business.

Still, I overheard similar comments all over town. “He taught like someone much older,” “…more experienced,” “wise…”

People were confused by the Jesus guy calling out the priests and scribes, how they live as compared to how Jesus lived – and died:

– The priests plotted to kill Jesus’ friend in Bethany, the man Jesus raised four days after he died.
– The priests questioned and threatened the man Jesus gave sight and his parents, the man that was born blind.
– The priests demanded Jesus’ death and freed a known felon.
– Herod actually wanted nothing to do with the Jesus trial – washing his hands of innocent blood when Jesus would not defend himself.
– One of Jesus’ own betrayed him for money, told where and when the Temple Guards would find him – and then hanged himself.
– Jesus’ last words were cries to The Almighty to forgive his accusers, saying they didn’t know what they had done.
– In his life this Jesus fulfilled the prophesies about the Messiah.

Above all, one statement I heard in particular keeps coming to mind. One woman that seemed quite sound and especially wise mentioned that Jesus said to the priests, “…destroy this temple and I shall resurrect it in three days…” She repeated how she somehow knew Jesus wasn’t referring to the building that took 46 years to build.

I wandered the streets with all these thoughts and images on my mind, still hoping to find my friend. I could have started my journey home, but I felt as if I should linger. Surely something important must have come up that we still hadn’t found one another.

While walking I came upon a man. His head bowed, he seemed positively miserable. With all my concerns, the man seemed far worse off than I. For reasons I can’t explain, I wished him a good day. He responded that the day couldn’t be worse, that all he believed in was lost. I don’t know why I didn’t keep walking, but I stopped and listened. And the man kept talking.

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He had been one of those guys that traveled with Jesus. Listening to him I became so captivated with his story I couldn’t leave. We sat, he talked and I listened. His stories about that Jesus guy were amazing. I sensed they weren’t mere stories, but facts. But then he came around to his agony today. He said he hid as his friend died; he had denied he even knew Jesus. The night before, hours after the Master had washed his feet, before the soldiers came, Jesus had told him that he would.

“But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.” John 13:37 (NLT)

Image courtesy Pixabay

Originally posted on Whats Next 2016 March 26

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Two Joys

During the winter months, with firing up the wood stove, ashes, muddy floors and extra hours of darkness there are always additional tasks and chores waiting. I probably like a clean house a little more than is healthy, so I can easily dig myself into a rut indoors.

Still, when the calendar tells me spring is near I force myself outdoors every day, regardless of the weather.

Today my reward has been two-fold:

I found buds on the bulbs that began shooting up weeks ago – a very welcome addition of color to neutral winter shades.

Then I stopped to feel the sunshine warm me deeply. This is huge for me – normally I can quickly feel anxious being still – especially in the yards.

But over the winter God daily urged me to rest and let Him do His job (running the universe). As the sun rose over the treetops illuming the bulb bed the words from our predawn time together resounded through my soul:

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30:11, 12 (NLT)

After a while I skipped down the driveway singing aloud. No first responders were involved.

Be blessed and pray it forward!

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This Autumn’s Observance

As the day began I felt somehow comforted that John Lennon would have been 75 today. That lifted me to consider how to take on the day.

While the seemingly endless weeks of Texas summer weather refuse to pass, I looked forward to enjoying yard work when autumn finally falls. That’s when the fruit of my labors remain evident far longer than in spring or summer. What’s more, now that all my siblings are beyond life’s halfway mark, comparing this season of our generation to autumn seems almost right. Almost, but its still unsettling.

Though simple yard maintenance tasks took longer to accomplish today, I enjoyed myself so much that I nearly forgot an appointment this morning.

In all fairness, back up a bit: The whole story; unable to take my usual walk first thing today – again, I’d reached my threshold for drama in our home early on and sought refuge outdoors. Once immersed in work and praying for the loved ones at the top of my concerns list, I slipped into pleasant oblivion long enough to need to brush all vanity aside and rush – your essential down-shift.

And even further back: As the first female I’m the trailblazer of the human aging process for this generation of our family. Our previous generations suddenly slipped away from us before we had the foresight to note statistics we’d all disregarded. Genetically speaking, aging is clearly challenging enough, but more so without a road map. This month the baby of our family got slammed with lumbar problems at about the same age I was when an injury also pointed out that time was marching across my back.

Three weeks into her treatment phase, I heard more often than I want (for now), “I don’t know how you lived through this for so long. Why don’t you just have the surgery?” She forgets how we already concluded (repeatedly), that “every body is different.” Excuse the pause – rolling my eyes makes me dizzy these days.

Several times over the past weeks I’ve heroically resisted the impulse to fire off expletives that would shock those outside our family circle – solely to jerk her attention from her genuine pain long enough to realize, 1. she’s not alone; and that matters, and 2. I’m close enough to catch her if she falls. Not that she may (or if she did, after recovery we’d humorously embellish the story for years), but because experientially I know enough about her specifically, her condition AND the medications her doctor prescribed. Therefore, I pay close attention to Ms. Feistily Independent while she’s up and moving about. I also try to imagine her away at work while she’s settled safely in her bed with her laptop. Until this morning.

My most profound observations today: When we were quite young, my siblings and I all grew up taking some beatings, mentally, emotionally and physically. We all learned early on to regard degrees of pain as momentary nuisances to consider later, the severity, source and time being subjective.

But as we age, and we all indeed have, we’re wiser to that “press through the pain,” philosophy our late brother Seagh impressed upon us while we were young survivors and somewhat reckless. It isn’t always a great practice, and as we ‘progress’ the pain gets stronger remarkably faster. Yeah, this is more about missing Brother’s unique input, a “what would Seagh do” moment.

Though we once considered extreme degrees of discomfort a challenge, we all learned that ignoring relentless, elevated pain will most likely cause more severe hurting and possibly other complications. Seagh’s short lifespan is now a good example. While we remember him fondly and longingly with each new pang, Roan is now coming to terms with the reality life forced upon me over a decade ago, though it served us well long ago, ignoring pain isn’t necessarily wise throughout our lives.

As we continue to pursue new levels of debase mockery over our deteriorating bodies (our preferred method of coping), I prefer to practice a new phrase Seagh never had time to consider; I now “brace for the next blow.”

We’re still listening. We miss ya, Bro.

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.” 1 Peter 1:6 (NLT)

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