I just had one of those moments where someone in my life, who is no longer living, has just reached out and pointedly pointed to the words I so desperately needed to read. And looking back at my previously written sentence one could assume that this happens often.
No. It really doesn't.
Now, before anyone starts thinking this is a ghost story and that my next paragraph will begin with a "dark and stormy night", let me just put those thoughts to rest. That is not how my next paragraph will start.
It will start like this;
I was laying in bed with an upset tummy, possibly a flu bug but more likely the result of all the Frank's Hot Sauce I decided to dump on my Christmas mac and cheese. I had just finished watching the most recent episode of Project Runway Allstars and was browsing through Instagram and Facebook and....., well, digital garbage really, when I started to feel a sense of unrest in the region I like to call my heart.
You see, every once in awhile I look at the walls that surround me in my well decorated condo and I feel stifled. Sometimes that just means I need to go for a walk. To move around. Get the blood flowing. And at other times it means that I am feeling just a wee bit hopeless about my future. I tend to be one of those overly sensitive people that feels alot, but can't always identify what it is that I am actually feeling.
I feel that I must cry so I do, but I can't guarantee that I'll know exactly why I am crying. This emotion-cum-action usually sends my also sensitive and very kind husband into a flurry of "what's the matter's?" and a "should I comfort or should I conscientiously back slowly out of the room with my hands up and leave her to her wanton tears" sort of indecision. I say this jokingly but I do realize that these tears I shed come from a deep place and they matter to the Lord.
And because I am not always so adept at knowing why I will feel such deep emotion, I often fall back on a list of sorts to help me identify what the matter might be that has caused such a reaction. Lately this list has included the following:
1. I'm tired because I'm not sleeping well at night
2. I'm stressed out because I started a new job and I want to do it really well so I'm going to stay up late and over-think how I can be amazing at everything I touch.
3. I miss my grandma Joy.
4. I miss her voice.
5. I wish people would stop dying.
6. Ugh, why does life have to include death?
7. I hope my health is getting better, I don't want to keep having health issues
8. I need to eat better. Starting tomorrow I'm never going to eat sugar or salty chips again! Bah! I'll never even see them again!
9. Will we ever get to have babies? Do we still want to have babies? How bad do we want to have babies? I should probably worry about how little or how much we want to have babies.
10. When is the last time I talked to God, and truly, when is the last time I listened to His heartbeat? When is the last time I asked Him to talk to me?
Which brings me back to my tummy ache. Ok. My hot sauce a la Mac N' Cheese tummy revolt.
I put my phone down and got out of my all too comfy bed and grabbed my great grandma's Bible, now my Bible.
I flipped to Jeremiah. Actually, I had to look Jeremiah up in the index because I really had no clue where exactly in the Old Testament it was.
I didn't make it to the beginning of Jeremiah because I accidentally over-reached and hit Jeremiah 17.
Aaaaaaaaaand here it comes.
The pointing finger from the grave.
Or maybe just my great grandma's scratchy cursive outlining a small passage and next to that passage a little notation with the following inscription written in her very spidery hand-writing;
"Hope for man"
You see, that really got me because not only had I never seen that inscription in this Bible before (which is a little insight into how often I had been reading Jeremiah), but I had just asked God to help me find something to read in His Word that would give me hope.
Commence goose bumps and awe.
This is what my great grandma Hart outlined in Jeremiah,
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in Him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
it's leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."
- Jeremiah 17:7-8
Today is Christmas. There's alot of people that I love that are no longer on this earth, and I really, really miss them. I wish my daughter was here. I wish I could call my grandma Joy up and wish her a Merry Christmas and hear her stories about the inmates in her loony bin (her fellow nursing home pals). I wish Grace was here and still singing and still making all who knew her laugh so hard they had to squeeze their legs together. I wish Matthew was alive and showing off his new bride or his little mini-me's. I wish my grandpa could be here and see that the family he loved so fiercely is doing alright. I wish I could hear my great grandma Hart word bantering with my dad and making us all laugh with her snappy come-backs.
I wish I knew how to express how much these people have changed me and impacted me and though they are gone, their lives have born the most beautiful fruit that keeps growing and keeps producing.
It's easy to let grief stand still and spread it's arms out wide so that it can encompass your whole heart. I don't think that's what any of those people I mentioned above would want to see happen in me. I think they would have wanted to leave this earth knowing that their impact on the lives around them was something really good. The sort of good that reminds us earthlings that God loved us so much that on this day (or somewhere, somewhat near this day) over two thousand years ago, He willingly brought His perfect, beautiful, son into the world to be our Hope.
Merry Christmas fellow earthlings.
*Photo: Me and my cousin Daniel eating the ultimate pizza at Chuck E. Cheese