Friday, July 10, 2009
It's the unspoken sadness that seems to have taken permanent residence in the eyes of my husband. It's friends who are no longer able to make eye contact with me. It's hearing my husband whistle, wondering who will inventory the pantry, who will kiss away each and every one of my little children's boo-boos. Its curling up in my chair while Lulea rubs my arms, smiles and says, "I wuv ou Mama." and knowing that she isn't old enough to remember me long term. Its that infernal racket that the leaf blower (big boy toy) makes when my husband uses it Saturdays.
It's the grin on my husband's face when he comes in with a grocery store bouquet of flowers for me. It's trying to hide my heart as my children turn to each other, guarding their own hearts against a future of pain that they realize awaits them. It's watching them cry themselves to sleep and knowing I can't fix it.
It's when my younger kids ask me about getting a part-time job when they're older and want to know what they can do? As I start to answer, I realize that I won't be here to help them decide. Or when one of my older girls dissolves into tears finally choking words through tears and tells me, "You won't be here to help me plan my wedding. Who's going to take me shopping for things for my dorm room? Daddy can't do that."
It's our tradition of biscuits on Saturday morning after which my heart takes a picture of my two older girls gripping each other's hands for strength across our broad kitchen table; one brown hand of fingers locked and lovingly blended with the white ones across the table. It's my heart pictures of an older child curled up on the sofa helping a younger sibling with schoolwork. It's building a fire in the fire bowl on the patio and making S'mores in the evenings on summer weekends. It's the realization that after 31 years of doing Thanksgiving for our families that I may very well have hosted my last. It's knowing that some of our favorite traditions will likely be broken, Grand Illumination to start the Christmas season in Williamsburg, baking Christmas cookies and handing out our tins of them throughout the neighborhood, our annual MOMYS retreat (there won't be a MOMYS in the house anymore), shopping trips to the outlets in Smithfield, family vacations of spring at the beach, summers in the mountains. It's knowing that I won't be able to do a hope chest for my younger girls like I have done with the older ones. It's knowing that likely my tradition of giving each child a meaningful Christmas ornament every year will likely be discontinued. It's wondering who will do a birthday celebration for my younger children - cake and ice cream at 7:00pm. What will they do with my violin?
It was that final stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street. It's trying to figure out real priorities of my pending projects; several scrapbooking albums in desperate need of finishing, updating photo albums for the kids, the cooking, cleaning, laundry, schooling, and a multitude of other items all vying for my time, attention and ever dwindling energy. It's the realization that my time is really limited.
How can I leave, how can I say goodbye? Then almost in direct response to my questions God lays on my heart a few simple sentences from a sermon I heard many years ago. When Howard and I first joined our church, Jarvis Memorial our associate pastor was David Fishler. He was not there for very long after we joined and I honestly do not remember anything else he may have said during that time. But I distinctly remember a portion of his sermon shortly before Christmas. He was talking about King Herrod and how sorry he felt for Herrod. David made the statement that Herrod was unwilling to give up what he had, even to have something better. How sad for Herrod that he clung so fiercely to the familiar and comfortable. He could have had so much more if only he had made a different decision for his life. David spoke with the authority of one who truly knows what he is talking about through personal experience. You see, David was Jewish, or at least he used to be. When he made a decision in his life for Christ he walked away from everything which he had ever known. He was literally dead in the eyes of his family. This man lost everything familiar and comfortable in his life when he, as Peter, bravely stepped out of his boat and onto the water to the outstretched hand of Christ.
Would I have chosen to leave my family prematurely had it been left to me? Fairly obviously no mother would chose to leave her little children or a wife to leave her husband so early in life. Over and over I have heard God quietly nudging my heart with a persistent question, "Do you love them more than me Cindy?" Honestly I have struggled with this question. Clearly scripture tells us that we must love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and first above all others. However, I am human and I have children as young as five. It has been so difficult to come to terms in my heart with God's question. Am I simply clinging to the abundant blessings I have even when being squarely confronted with the prospect of something even better awaiting me? Oh this is so hard!
Shortly after the auto accident in which three of my children were involved last fall I received an email from a very wise friend. She said that she felt God was showing me that He will take care of my children. I agree with her, as if I really should have needed anything more to know this. As the time progresses I see more and more evidence that He is calling me to release them to Him.
Yesterday I read a quote that has hung in mind:
"God uses the troubles of our lives, culminating in the inevitability of our own deaths, to pry our grips off this world and refocus our hearts on what lies ahead with Him." -- Rick Holland
This was hard to read, but timely. My journey is necessarily and not unhappily toward home. That home is not here on this earth. I am but a temporary resident renting space in a temporary dwelling (my earthly body). It is hard to leave them. My fears are for them. It hurts my heart to think of the pain they will endure. But yes, Lord, I love you best.
Posted by Cindy at 10:50 PM