While I stammer and struggle with feelings and words, my dear friend, Lori Roeleveld, has the ability to put life back in order for me. It’s like she strokes my hair with her calming touch, only she uses words. Lori’s words did it again. They gave me the permission to feel what I already felt but didn’t know how to put them into words. I need to allow myself to lament.
If we’re all honest, the Las Vegas Massacre devastated each one of us. Every last one of us was touched in one way or another. Allow yourself to lament, too.
Love you, Lori. My life is blessed because of your friendship and your words.
Every day counts and I’ve never felt that as poignantly as I did this past week.
I found out about the death of my cousin, Pastor Les Green of Nebo Crossing Church in Nebo, NC, on July 2 through social media. Les and I had drifted apart over the years. I can’t speak for Les, but I know I had become more involved with my life than the world I had left behind. Once I finally reconnected with Christ, too many bridges had been burned and it seemed almost impossible to reconnect with everyone from my past. Unfortunately, some of those bridges were with family. And one of the relationship casualties was with Les and Debbie.
The last time I saw Les and Debbie was briefly over thirty years ago at our Grandpa and Grandma Green’s house. I was coming in and they were leaving. A quick hello was all we shared. Then they were gone. Little did I know I’d miss out on some incredible life experiences.
J. G. Gilbert & Robin Gilbert Luftig at Lake Lavine, MI, Summer 1958
Even though my family of origin was pretty dysfunctional, one of my favorite pastimes when I’m feeling a bit low is to remember stories about my dad and how he honored my feelings and held them close to his heart.
I always jumped at the chance to be with Dad in his room—the Gun Room. It was a treat to steal away with him when he went upstairs to his room. He kept guns, cameras, family photos and film equipment, and special sentimental pieces from his childhood there. I am certain he kept us out for our own protection when it came to the guns. We were all told the only time we were allowed to go in there by ourselves was if the house was on fire and we could safely get the family’s 8mm films out and save them from being destroyed. Other than that, the Gun Room was strictly off limits. Whenever I saw him in there, I would beg to join him. And he always obliged. While he worked away on whatever project he was concentrating on, I looked around his private sanctuary with marvel. I would fold my arms behind my back holding tightly on to my wrists, just to make sure I did not touch anything. I did not want to run the risk of inadvertently grabbing for something and causing harm.
Those of you who know me know I have a heart for those who deal with various forms of brokenness. Most forms of brokenness come when Life veers from what’s perceived as normal. A year ago my path briefly crossed with Beth Saadati, and I counted the days until we could meet again.
What does being courageous look like to you? Enduring a painful divorce? Walking through a frightening diagnosis and illness? Facing the death of a loved one? Finally walking through the pain of your abusive past?
We all can claim our personal fears and imperfections. Finding a voice was one of my greatest struggles. As a child, I wasn’t given the opportunity to freely express my opinions, to disagree, or to ask questions. I was often told what I was supposed to think and given no opportunity to state my fears or defend myself against accusations.
Like many people, I learned to protect myself by pleasing others.
So as I moved through my adult years, one aspect of courage for me has been to learn to be comfortable being the perfectly imperfect me. What does this mean? First and foremost, I’m a child of God. Everything about me…