Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dearest Theodore

Dearest Theodore,

By now you have met your lovely Grandi.   I am sure that he threw his arms around you and peppered you with a hundred kisses all over your face because he hasn’t been able to do that yet.  So it would be fitting even though you are 23 today.  And then maybe he growled in your ear a little bit - that playful growl he does when he is so happy to see someone.

He has talked about you lots.  I have heard him mention you in his sermons.  He has talked about how sometimes we go through really really hard times and we always have to run to Jesus in those deepest painful moments.  That we should never run AWAY from Jesus - but run TO him.  I was always proud when he mentioned you in sermons - sort of like a proud mom - like it was always special to get into one of his sermons. 

I don’t know how birthdays work in heaven.  Did he make you a cake?  I have always wondered every year on your birthday how they celebrate in heaven.  I have always wondered if Jesus baked you a cake - this year I have wondered if Grandi baked you a cake.

I am sure that he is sitting with you in his beautiful garden drinking a cup of tea and talking about his family, and talking about Mosaic - how it’s the best Church in the world to go to, or talking about Taiwan and his heart for China.  Or maybe he is just talking about his beautiful flowers in heaven; exquisite flowers and giant roses that he has never seen before.  I am sure it’s an amazing garden - so full of lovely, precious flowers and blooms. And there aren’t any dandelions at all.  And maybe he will take you fishing after he has had his cup of tea. 

You are 23 today.   Wow.  It seems so long ago - but only a moment ago that I held you in my arms and said good bye.  My heart is a little bit raw today.  But there is a little part that is comforted and warmed - knowing that you get to spend your first birthday with Grandi this year. 

I love you deeply.  My heart aches to my toes.   You will always be missed and our family will never be totally complete even though I know that you are with Jesus and you are happy.

Happy Birthday, my dearest Theodore.  I love you to Heaven and back.

With all my heart,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Not Enough Time

When Sean first heard that his grandi had gone to be with Jesus,  he cried,  “No!!  I only knew him for seven years.  That’s not enough time!”  Jer looked at him understandingly.  “I only knew him for 50 years and that’s not enough time either.”

We went to his house the other day and I wept. His slippers were by the fireplace - empty.  But I know he is walking and dancing and leaping  on streets of gold now.  His recliner chair sat empty, with some of his items on a coffee table beside it.  But he doesn't need his chair anymore because he is seated with Jesus in heavenly places and he is happy.   His clothes hung in the closet - empty.  Emptiness that is so full and so heartbreaking it takes your breath away.  But he doesn’t need clothes anymore because he is clothed with robes of righteousness, he is clothed in heavenly robes.  He walks and talks with the Master that he so fiercely loved.  And I know that he is fulfilled and he has no more pain and he has no more suffering.  But really -  as selfish as it is - I just want him here with us again.  I just want him holding Mum’s hand again.  I just want to be able to go to his house and ask him what he thinks about the refreshments on Saturday or ask him what he thinks about what kind of building we should get for the church.  Or I just want to ask him anything.  Anything at all - just one more conversation.  Because I didn’t have enough time with him. 

We admitted Dad into palliative care on the 11th, Wednesday.  I remember it well.  He was so tired; so depleted.   I looked at his room.  I knew that we were going to fill his room with pictures my son had taken of his garden for his last days.   There was another picture I was going to hang up - a picture of a cross.  Then the very next day,  Mum alerted us that if we wanted to hold another conversation with him,  that we should come because he was fading fast.  But we never got that last conversation.  We all came very quickly.  But it was too late.  He tried - he knew we were there.  He even tried at one point to sing with us.  But he was too sick.  We stayed by his bed constantly those last days.  He knew that he was loved and we knew that we were loved.  We had had many conversations with him in the last two months after the first time he almost died.  But we wanted one more conversation.   Just one more.  But let’s be honest - would one more have been enough?

 Spend time with the ones you love.  Walk with the ones that are dear to you. Set down your phones, and your ipads and your computers and your games and everything else that so easily distracts you and keeps you from listening to their heartbeat.   Carve out time in your busy schedule for them; invest and pursue and live life with intention never forgetting what is most important to you.  Because you never know when you will be breathing your last breath.  You never know when they will be breathing their last breath.   Grab the person next to you.  Hug them, link arms with them; hold their hands - hold them tightly and never let them go because those things are the only important things in this world.  Those things are the only meaning that this world gives.  The other things are shallow - they are meaningless.  Our fancy houses or our not so fancy houses - our cars- our lives here on this earth - they are nothing without those around us.  Let’s not forget that.   Our things........ none of that matters next to those people; our people; next to the ones that we walk this journey with.  Nothing. 

No matter what happens - there is never enough time.  Make memories and hold onto those moments like gold and never let them go until they are taken from you.
Because I promise you - it will be too soon that life or death will pry your fingers from the grip of the one you love. 

Life is like precious and fragile glass - you never know when it is going to break and shatter into a million pieces on the ground - never to be recovered again.  But some of us spend so much  of our lives occupying our minds with the wrong things - with the petty things; with the meaningless things.   And we waste moments and days and years - for nothing.

Don’t waste another moment,  not another beautiful second,  worrying about the future or regretting the past.  Time is far too short, it’s like a flash of lightening; a vapor.   Laugh with your family; your heart friends;  sing with them; dance with them; do silly things with them.

Because one day that moment will come when you will wish with all your mind, heart and soul,  you will wish more than anything else in the world for one more song, one more conversation, one more meal, one more day.

Because it’s never enough...

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I know all the "Sunday School" answers. (And I believe them as well.) I know God's mercy and His strength - I know that he will sustain me and I know that he is good all the time.

But mostly today,  I just feel really really sad.  And really empty - an emptiness that reaches down to my toes.

If I have learned anything in this season is that you should never go through life alone.  You should never live alone - isolated, in your own bubble,, with walls around you.  Because if you live alone, you will die alone.

When we first found out about Dad's cancer, I remember a sacred moment very well.  Dad was talking to Jeremy and he looked up at him,  eyes pleading,  "What are we going to do now?"  Jeremy took his Dad's tired hand in his and said,  "We will put one foot in front of the other, we will hold hands and make it through - step by step; just how we've weathered every other storm.  Together."
I applaud that.  Everything about Dad's life has been together - helping, strengthening, encouraging, building.  His life's passion is for others.

If you don't have someone to walk through life with - find someone.  Live your life with an open heart and outstretched hands.

The doctors say that Dad is dying.  If I am to be honest,  I don't know yet what Jesus says.  But I know what I see.  I see a man vulnerable, weak and tired - and really ready for this journey to be over - one way or the other.  But I will tell you what else I see.  I see a man who threw his whole entire life into the passions of Christ.  I see a man who knows who he is in God.  I see a man who knows his God well and knows His people very well too.

But mostly, I see a man who lived his whole life with arms outstretched, palms up - inviting one more person into his life - one more people group into his world - always building the bridge between man and God; his life's purpose.

So I don't have all the answers.  In fact, today, I don't feel I have any of the answers.  But the one thing I do know is that I don't want to live life alone.  I want to go through pain together.  I want to go through joy together.  I want to tear the walls down around me, to live my life poured out for others.  Because if I don't live alone,  I won't die alone.

I believe in community.  I believe in walking hand in hand with those around me; in sharing my tears and my deep fears.  I believe in linking arms and leaping or treading into the unknown. 

I believe in TOGETHER.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Leaving my baby behind...

Motion all around as I step into his classroom.  So much excitement - so much enthusiasm.  And I am leaving my baby behind.  All he wants to do is hug his teacher and get seated at his desk.  Expectancy pierces the air - anticipation wraps its arms around the classroom.  Smiles, squeals of delight, laughter.

I swallow the lump in my throat.  I am leaving my baby behind.  But he is not my baby anymore.  He isn't even a toddler.  He is a big boy now.  Remind me where the years have gone??? I thought it would be much easier by  now...

Hang his backpack up - say a few words to the teacher.

So many excited words are dancing in the air; worried parents are lingering behind.  He has hugged us now and runs off to meet some new friends.  He doesn't need us to stay any longer so we turn to leave.

But it is so hard to leave my baby behind...

Monday, September 2, 2013

I Am Not Ready

I feel like I am frantically running after summer, my arms flailing - screaming for it NOT to go;  pleading for it not to pass me by.  I am so not ready for it to be fall.  I am so not ready for Sean to go back to school.

I had so many hopes and plans for the summer; days of lazing in the sun; weekends away hiking up mountains and camping in tents underneath the starlit sky, nights of sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows and making up schmores.  The truth is,  I didn't do any of it.   And it was not any ONE thing or reason - it was a combination of all kinds of reasons why the summer didn't look like the one we started out with in our hearts.

In all honesty,  I am just not ready for all kinds of things that are currently happening in my life.

I am not ready to see my last child grow up.  I am not ready to see my parents aging or for my first grandchild to be so grown up;  I am certainly not ready to turn 50 in a few months.  I am so not ready.

There are so many things that I should have done by now.  There are so many things that I should have done this summer.

But I have found that it doesn't matter if I am not ready.  Time still comes and goes all too quickly.   It sizzles and dances and screeches past you and if you are not careful - if you are not really intentional with your life, you CAN miss it.  Or you can miss bits and pieces of it you wish that you hadn't. 

Days, weeks, months and even years soar by - boldly and unashamed - waiting for no one.  It's almost cruel actually.

Often I look at Sean who is seven and I have to pinch my arms and shake my head.  Where did those years go?  How did he grow up under my nose?  I remember it like it was just yesterday - holding this tiny human being in the crook of my arm - my heart so very full of gratitude.

I want to be intentional with my life.  I want to build memories and play and love life even in the pain, even in the really  hard parts of the journey,  because this day,  this moment will never be mine to live again.  It will never be mine to enjoy again.

I want to build my life - brick by brick and be proud of what I have built in the end.  I want my heart song to be that of hope and freedom and deliverance - even in the moments I feel hopeless and locked up.  Because those are the moments; those are the days I want to remember - the days I clung onto hope even when it looked bleak; the days I sang the song of triumph even when I felt my feet sinking.

I want to clear my mind of all the muckiness of negativity and worry and pain and anxiety that locks me into isolation.  I want to throw off every thought, every criticism, every insecurity that would bring  darkness to my day.  Those are all things that clutter up the mind;  make the day messy; inhibit me from capturing what I need to capture.   I want my heart clean and clear of all those things so that I can love deeply,  so that I can enjoy fully.

So,  I am not ready.  I am not ready for all of the changes going on around me but it's okay.  It's okay because I am going to put my head down and run as hard and fast and crazy as I can; I am going to run with purpose and intention and dignity.  And I am going to give this thing we call LIFE,  150%!

Ready or not...