Surviving the Unknown World

August 1983
The cool air and the long rays of morning sun greeted the three of us as we traveled the long driveway. It took everything in me not to start crying.

“Today’s a great day!” I said, with too much pep in my voice. I wanted to make sure I told him all he needed to know for this special day. “You’ll meet new people and it’ll be terrific!”

We continued to walk, hand in hand as we always had in the past. He stopped, looked up into my eye, and with a sober voice, “It is a great day, right, Mommy?”

Little Sis skipped along singing Great day, It’s gonna be a great day … She had no idea the somberness of this moment. But how could she? How could she know what it felt like to lose a baby into an Unknown World?

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Listen for the Whispers

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11 – 12

Elijah—a powerhouse for God—experienced one of the greatest stories of the Old Testament. He was invited to see God. But he had to experience destruction before he heard God’s voice.

Isn’t that how Life turns for us? When life’s winds and storms fill our world, we call out to see the power of God. Somewhere in our heart we hope He’s greater than our current storm.

But sometimes the storm gets bigger. Continue reading

It’s a sad day … or is it?

Squirrel

Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s a sad day …

I put my flip flops toward the back of the closet. I stood for ten minutes looking at my closet, forcing myself to accept today’s brutal reality.

It’s time. I can’t put it off any longer. I reach into the closet—to an area I haven’t visited for months. My hand runs over the tops of the hangers positioned on the lower bar. I pause, stroking the fabric. Oh, how I hate this day.

Long pants … today I must wear long pants. I’ve been able to wear capris day after day, week after week because the warmth from the sun had caressed my legs and arms. Arms—I need to wear long sleeves, too! Ugh, can it get any worse?

Oh, this is a sad day.

Driving to work, I had to turn on the heat instead of the AC. I flipped on the defroster to dry the heavy due on the windows from the cool night air. Wipers wipe. Warm air bellows from the vents. And the need to turn on my car’s headlights makes it impossible for me to ignore it … summer is over.

Pulling into the parking at my job, a quick movement catches my eye in a grove of oak trees. Walking toward the trees, I stop, noting the movement is accompanied with chattering. Two—no three—squirrels were scampering around and around  tree at break-neck speed. They seemed oblivious to my presence. It was as if the cool morning air had invigorated these little fellas into a raucous game of tag. If I had walked any closer to the trees, I imagined I could see them smiling.

In that moment, I stopped, reflected over other cool mornings when Dad and I watched squirrels scamper through the woods. In a flash I remembered the smells, the feeling of the heady due, and the comfort of the long sleeves.

When had I become so enthralled with capris and flip flops?

No, today isn’t a sad day after all—it’s the first day of the season I wear long pants. And it’s the first time in a long time I’ve been blessed with a memory that reminded me of simpler times.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens Ecclesiastes 3 

The loss of a good friend

I remember the first time I ever saw Oreo. I promised my son a dog once we bought our house. It had been just the two of us for a few years and I wanted my son to have his own room; his own yard. That just lead to having his own dog.
We walked into the kennel and all the dogs started jumping with excitement. It was like the word was out, “Someone was going to leave the kennel with this little boy!”They all wanted to be chosen. They all tried to look their cutest. Except for the puppy in the cage all alone on the far left of the kennel.

She was so cute, but looked so sad. While all of the dogs were adorable, it was clear that this little girl needed a boy–as well as a boy’s mom–to love. We decided to take her home with us then and there, and quickly she became a member of the family. It didn’t take long for us to fall into a wonderful routine. She greeted me every day after work with stories of her day. She spoke her words with her eyes, a wag of her tail and a special ‘welcome home bark’; telling me how her day was filled with excitement. She was all about pointing out the activity in the neighborhood. “Really”, I’d say, “There’s a new kitty across the street? Let’s wait for her.” That’d be all it would take. We’d sit on the couch and look out the bay windowand wait for the newest tabby to venture into our yard. She lived for the excitement of it all. Or when time allowed, it was always a treat for both of us to curl up on that same couch and take a nap, me on one end and she on the other. She’d wrap herself into the folds of the blankets around my legs like a glove. We fit together so perfectly.Or she would hang her head when she was sad. I’d take my morning walk at 5:00 each morning and since she was a “sniffing” dog (she walks ten feet and needs to sniff) I’d leave her at home for my serious go around. She would be so sad when I left. I’d see her little face in the window at the same place every morning … waiting for me to turn the corner on the street and head back to her. She knew she’d get the last part of the walk. A shorter leg of the trip so she could have time doing what she liked to do best … sniff!

And she was an ever vigilant protector. She would not let anyone in the yard without first announcing their arrival. To make sure I was safe, she would always put herself between me and other dogs on our walks. Her sense of loyalty and responsibility was beyond measure. But it wasn’t just me. Once she knew you were part of the extended family, she watched your back, too. When my son’s friends spent Hour after hour at our house … the place where all the kids hung out … she became territorial over all of them. No one would ever attempt to cause these young boys harm. She was all about family.

But time passes and her ferociousness waned. She began to spend more and more of her days in her favorite chair, sleeping or just looking out the window. Even new kitties stopped exciting her. Life had slowed down for my friend. The only constant was that she still wanted to tell me about her day when I came in after work. Her news wasn’t as grand as it had been in years past, but she wanted to share everything with me.Then the day came when she no longer came to greet me. She stayed in her chair. She welcomed a scratch of the ear and a smile from those she loved, but without a word of warning, she entered her winter years of life.

Her chair is empty now.

On that sunny day in September, I thought it was a great idea to get a dog for my son. I wanted him to experience the joys and responsibilities of owning a dog. I had no idea she would forever have a place in my heart.