Friday, June 30, 2017

GRADUATIONS







Graduations are proud affairs. They represent so much hard work, sacrifice, money, separation, maturing, and growth in a myriad of areas - and I am not just talking about the student! So when a young person graduates, the ones who have cheered them on and sacrificed in different arenas on their journey, love to gather to celebrate with them.

Besides their parents, there is no one on earth who influenced Dani and Jordan's lives more than their sister. So when they both celebrated distinct graduations this June, I was overcome with missing Jenna. She should have been there, smiling and radiant, pride unabashedly revealed, yelling "Guapa!!"  "Guapo!!" as they walked forward. It was a time for family and she was missing.

Sometimes I imagine her watching from heaven.  Other days I am unsure that once in such a spectacular place will there be any interest in looking back at earth. I waver between my thoughts about how much love God has and how much he has given to us for each other especially in family...how could that not be eternally enduring and capable of transcending heaven and earth? Why would Jenna still not track with us when there has been so much love between us? There are so many things I do not know.

I do know that while we all keep moving forward in life, there are many days when there is an unexpected catch in our breath at a memory, a photo, a note, a song, an event. There are tears because there has been love. It will always be so. She is still so very present in our decisions and thoughts, in our celebrations and hard times. Sometimes I yearn for her advice with a sibling. Sometimes I long for her easy company in the kitchen. Sometimes I can't stand the thought of a root beer float without her! Sometimes I need to have a long, deep talk with her. Sometimes I am overcome at the privilege of having given birth to such a spectacular human being.

I am proud of Dani and Jordan and who they are becoming. Jenna would be, too. Surely she is their #1 fan in heaven, cheering them on as part of their "cloud of witnesses." 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

YOU SAY (A REALIST'S WALK THROUGH PSALM 91)




























Lord, you say you are a refuge and a fortress,
that you will save me from snares and pestilence.
But life does not feel safe.
Pitfalls and illness have definitely touched me,
they have assaulted me.
They have confused and hurt me.
Where is the refuge?

Lord, you say you will cover me,
that your faithfulness will be my shield and rampart.
But painful things have come.
The shield and rampart did not stop them
There is an ugly hole where they exploded wildly and penetrated.
I am wounded and vulnerable.
Where is the covering?

Lord, you say a thousand may fall,
that even ten thousand may fall, but not come near me.
But it has come near me.
Crises have come like insistent, crashing waves.
Things are falling all around me!
I am felled, drowned.
Where is the standing?

Lord, you say if I make the Most High my dwelling,
that no harm will overtake me, no disaster come near.
But loss has shadowed me.
The High dwelling is invisible to me;
It has not sheltered me from many things.
I am overwhelmed and overcome.
Where is the haven?

Lord, there is too much mystery for me today.
I do not understand your words.
I do not understand your ways.
Will it take eternity to rest in these paradoxes?
Will it take eternity to help me understand?
Will it take eternity to understand your version of safety?

Lord, you say if I love you, you will rescue me.
That if I acknowledge your name, you will protect me.
I need this reality today.
I need this mysterious blending of love and rescue,
of acknowledgement and protection.
Please meet me in my hesitant yet earnest cry.
For there is no other refuge,
there are no other safe arms,
no other feathered wings,
on this earth for me
apart from you.

Lord, you say...so many things.
Help me in my unbelief.
Walk me gently through the polarities, the dichotomies, the antitheses, the enigmas, the complexities of spiritual life on this earth.
Guard me tenderly and with compassion -
for you know my humanity,
and understand my fragility,
and you say you will be with me.

You say you will show me salvation.
Open my eyes to what this looks like to you.
Reveal the contours of your versions and visions of deliverance...
And I will rest there.
I will cover myself with that fresh understanding...
For in your rendition of refuge there is certainly a covering for me.