Thursday, May 14, 2015

Her Story

I've been thinking about stories today. Specifically, I've been thinking about the story each of us has of our own lives. There's a starting place, a birth date, time, parents. There are childhood events, siblings, significant traumas, perhaps, teachers who shaped us, experiences that changed us. There are the struggles of adolescence, some so severe they forever mold our character. Each of us has the story we have and we share those stories or we don't. I think of how our birthplace trails us around forever. For example, I was born in San Pedro, California, though I don't remember it. My father was in the navy and got his orders to transfer to the Bremerton, Washington shipyard just before I was born. I flew for the first time when I was three weeks old. But despite the fact that I'm a Washingtonian, I have to put San Pedro, California on every official document. That's part of my story.

When Grampie died, I wrote up his story as well as I could, just as I'd done for my mother. It was placed in various papers and read at Grampie's memorial as the sum of his life. And today, I'm thinking about another life's story must be written in the same way. A dear, dear friend died Tuesday. I won't be the one to write her story but I'm thinking of it, nevertheless. I'm thinking what I know of her story, what I know of her character, who I know her to be. These are a few of the things I know, and they aren't about facts (though I know her birthdate, her birthplace, her parents' names, etc):
  • She loved to have conversation. That's how she always said it, not conversations--plural--but conversation, like it was one, ongoing deep-reaching interaction between people.
  • She loved to laugh. She had a really witty, goofy side and a strong sense of the ridiculous (in the best sense) and her laugh was inimitable
  • She was always at the disposal of any who needed her nursing care
  • She was deeply transparent, willing to admit her flaws, talk about her worries, face her fears
  • She was wickedly competitive at games--practically impossible to beat, especially when she got a certain glint (and wink) in her eye
  • She had an ease in everything she did, from cooking to taking care of sprinklers to knitting to playing Sudoku on her Nook
  • She loved to take naps
  • She made everyone around her feel they were the most cared for-person in the room
  • She gave long, tight hugs
  • She was practical, calm, wise and tender
  • She adored her husband and family more than anything on this earth
So these are some of the myriad things that make up my friend's story. And I have been feeling very sad that her obituary has to be written. Of course. There's a giant hole where she was that won't be filled. The first time it caught me was when her husband wrote an email that said, "The kids and I will be fine..." I met this woman on my wedding day because she was married to one of Beve's closest friends, and in all that time I've never heard our friend (her husband) use the personal pronoun  in relation to his family life. That single I breaks my heart so deeply I can't even speak around the lump in my throat.

So I wait a moment and when I can think here's what I know about my friend's story:
It isn't over. She lives. She has stepped through a stable door (as The Last Battle puts it) into something much bigger and more beautiful than is on this side. I can't imagine how beautiful it is there, but SHE can. She knows now. She's there. For us, for her beloved grieving family, it feels like the end, but it's only the end of this part. And I do not, DARE NOT, mitigate how difficult the road ahead for them (for me too, in a different way). I told her last week I would pray for her children. She knows I will. I have lost a beloved parent. That part I know. It's gruelingly hard work.

But I sit here, where I have sat with her and prayed for them, and thank God that she is. That though we cannot know it, she lives and breathes and has her being just through the stable door in His throne Room.
Hallelujah.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Light and darkness

It's May. Tomorrow's my middle sister's birthday and I'm thinking of her, as I always do about now. May's a busy month for my family of origin. Three of them, plus Mother's day plus (and this is no small thing) the 31st anniversary of this two-become-life I live with the Beve. So it's always like a celebration. The only month that comes as close for my own family is July, where we squish 3 birthdays in one short week (my youngest sister has a month like that too--February).

Anyway, today is also Random Journal Link-up day in my corner of the blogosphere. I didn't participate last month. The Finns had just arrived and, without a lap-top of my own at the moment, it was hard to find time to use Beve's. Too many of us were clamoring for it at the only time of the day we weren't entertaining. So I come with joy to this day, glad to be back in the saddle with all these other journal-keepers. Please check them out--there are crazy-creative people who invite us into their lives for this one day, and it's like magic (in the best sense) to have that peek here.

So what to share tonight?
Hmm, I find a bit about my sister hidden in the pages of 1995.  Gritty and true, and still true 20 years later.
Talking to LD. In a perfect world she'd live next door. When I say, "Here I am, this is me," she answers, "I knew that. I have always known that." She said she chose to be weird, in her brightness, that she embraced the label (even at an early age) to the brainy ones. She allowed it to govern her individuality. Her distinctiveness is what reels me in; it's so clear and certain. I don't want to ever be other than who she is...And yet my heart longs with a broken-hearted love for her to commit her uniqueness to Jesus Christ. I lean back through all the years of sharing a room, toys, imaginative games with her and can hardly tolerate her distance from Him. How can I love SO MUCH one who is not my Father's child? She's my sister, my own LD.
Exactly how the Father tolerates it. He hates the distance and loves anyway. He feels for each who are strangers to Him exactly what I feel for my own beloved Dump. I CAN have fellowship with her. I am the light in her darkness, even though sometimes I feel like that light is just shy of illuminating because she doesn't recognize that it's there. She chooses darkness.
And yet, I love her. I don't stop talking to her about what's real in my life--WHO is real in my life--and she listens, not because she agrees but because she loves me. I don't stop listening to her either. I don't try to convert her or preach to her, but simply love and accept her life as it is. It's easy to do that because I love her. Right now, today, no matter what.

But I pray.

[I] pray this so that the Name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ."      1 Thessalonians 1:12