Tag Archive | mourning

Another in Passing

Woke up this morning,
You on my mind,
Wondering how it is,
You left us behind.
There were conversations,
We still needed to say,
Questions to answer,
Prayers we’d be okay.
Wanted to talk with you,
Such a simple dialogue,
The void that’s there,
Like the heaviest of fogs.
Bittersweet your passing,
It’s painful to me,
How much more so,
For your sweet family?
Dearly we love you,
Though we do understand,
That God has us all,
In the palm of His hand.
           dfav 10/23/16

—Donna

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“…a time to weep…a time to mourn…”*

*Scripture reference: Ecclesiastes 3:4

It is difficult to know what to say to someone who endures any part of the bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday. To the families of the 3 who lost their lives in this senseless act there are no words to bring back their loved ones. Nothing one can do to allow them a final goodbye to the person they loved and not merely the body that held that person’s spirit.

What can one say to the still increasing number of injured? I especially identify with those who lost limbs being an amputee myself. How drastically their lives and the lives of their families and friends were changed in mere seconds when those bombs exploded! For what cause will these people live with for the rest of their lives missing a limb?

To those who were eyewitnesses to the carnage and the mayhem during and after the bombings what can one say? No words will ever erase those images, ever wipe away those memories.

As a nation we will again react and feel the shock waves of yesterday’s act of violence against innocent people. There will again be the hesitation where we pause and wonder “could it happen here?” The answer is yes, yes it could.

As individuals, especially those directly involved, there is no doubt the question of why did this happen is running through their minds? What motivated someone or more than one someone to do such a thing? Theories abound I’m sure. But even if we learn the truth, which is likely not to make sense to us, will it be enough? Is it ever?

There is a quote I wrote in my journal that came to my mind as I read the Scriptures yesterday and this morning. It was said by Maryanna, a character in The Guardian by Beverly Lewis, “I’ve learned that sometimes I have to give up my right to know and simply believe that God’s knowing is enough. Not that I don’t want to question. Ach I surely do.”

It is difficult to arrive at that point when the pain is so fresh and so deep. It is difficult to arrive at that point when the wounds are scarred over too.

Ephesians 3:16-21 reads, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge– that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.** Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask, or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (**emphasis is mine)

May this love of Christ indeed strengthen us in this time of mourning and of rebuilding lives. For the living must go on living for life does not stop for the rest of us when it ceases to be for an individual.

“Abba Father, You are Holy, You are Righteous, and You are Emmanuel. We need You now O Mighty God in this time of mourning and questioning. We need You now as lives are forever changed. We need Your Spirit to comfort and strengthen us. We need Your love to hold us up. Abba shield us from more pain and suffering if it is Your will as people recover. For each victim Abba I pray Your will to be accomplished and I know You do not will anyone to suffer from such acts of violence. For the person or persons responsible for such an act of carnage Lord we pray Your redemption of their soul and that Your justice will be done. Amen.”

-Faye

Oops! Jar

A few weeks ago my husband and I discussed some new family guidelines for our three member family. We were trying to find a way that would help all of us remember things to do to help us function sweeter together as a team. We came up with the Oops! Jar. After a family meeting where everyone got to have a say in the guidelines, reasons behind and solutions we implemented our plan.

Whenever one of us forgets to do something, like put dirty clothes in the laundry baskets or wipe the toothpaste off of the sink then we have to put a quarter into the Oops! Jar. Then when we go on a vacation we will use the funds to help pay for something we all want to do.

Since this is still “new” to us I won’t tell you how it’s working, although I will say we need a lot more quarters than usual around the house these days!

If I had an Oops! Jar for myself on this blog I would have quite a tidy sum of quarters jangling around inside. There are some “rules” of blogging I haven’t adhered to very well. So, although I won’t be depositing a physical quarter into fvbf’s
Oops! Jar
I will offer virtual ones to you my readers.

  • Sometimes I drop off the blogging field for days, even weeks at a time.
  • I am no computer whiz and when I had to purchase a new laptop unexpectedly with Windows 8 and upgraded Word products it threw me for quite a loop. Rather than deal with it, I’ve chosen to bury my head under the laptop and try to wish it to work like what I was familiar with.
  • No back-up! Yes, I know I should back-up my computer files and I was once regular at doing so but, I grew neglectful and when my old laptop crashed – yes, you got it, I lost work in process and that made me annoyed with myself so I just didn’t deal with it.
  • When I am blogging regularly I don’t post my blog before 9:00 a.m. like the “suggestive guidelines” tell me.
  • My writing will win me no grammar awards I am sure!
  • I’m sure there are others and ignorance isn’t bliss so for those I also offer an Oops! Jar contribution.

Now, with those Oops! Jar confessions accounted for here are some for the personal blogging guidelines God and I hammered out when I began to publish my blogs that I’ve violated too.

  • I’m not always willing to give my readers “the rest of the story”. Especially since I was forced into taking disability. As a Christian I have wanted to handle it better, allowing God to show grace through me, to forgive and to push on to the rest of my life. I have struggled in ways I have no words to describe these last six months. I have chosen to hide away at home on Sunday’s so I could avoid admitting to my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ that my faith is taking a beating, that I have been asking “Why?” of God and not trusting. Now there are some who may comment that I’ve been way more forthcoming than they have desire to know. I respect that opinion if it is yours.
  • I need to forgive my father and his role he played in leading to my having an amputation AGAIN. That is difficult for me to admit but I’ve allowed resentment and bitterness to interfere and become a stumbling block AGAIN. This is on me, not him, for I am the one who forgives, leaves it at Jesus’ feet and picks it up again.

Finally let me remind myself and you my readers that I am no formally educated person in theology, doctrine, religious beliefs. The views I offer are of a layperson who is a female, a mother, a wife, an amputee with complications, a wrestler with depression and anxiety, a want-to-be writer, artistic painting dabbler and a flawed human being with a relationship with Jesus Christ that is not always what it should be because I can’t “surrender all”. I want this blog to be “real” and sometimes gritty revealing honest emotions, faith struggles and life lessons. Here I hope people read “real” and by doing so, find God to be real as well.

For now it is way past posting time and my coffee grows cold. Until next time dear readers and friends!

Faye

A Prayer

Hand ReachingAbba Father:

You are Holy and I praise Your name.

You are the I Am and I worship You for who You are.

You are the Shepherd and I seek You.

You are Abba Father and I need You.

You are the Author of our lives and the Creator of all that is good on earth and in Heaven and I long for You.

Allow me to humble myself in Your presence and praise You as one of Your children.  Grant me audience that You may speak to me, guide me, instruct me so my life is an honor and glory to You, Your power and Your might.

There are so many reasons to seek You Abba Father.  Prayer requests come from all sides every hour and second of our days.  Needs are great, evil is rampant but our hope and our help are in You.

Accept this prayer on behalf of those who are mourning the loss of fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, children and friends.  Comfort their hearts.  If they know You, if they have a personal relationship with You, draw them to You, cover them with Your wings and hold them in their sorrow.  Strengthen them in their pain.  Guide them through their valley.  If they don’t know You, if it is You they need most of all, then I pray that somehow, someway, someone will be Your instrument to show those mourning of an opportunity to know You as their God, their Creator, their Abba, and their Savior.

Hear this prayer on behalf of those struggling in pain, discomfort and even life and death in hospitals, homes, shelters and life’s pathways around the world.  Comfort them.  Heal them Lord in the way You find fit.  Impart to doctors, nurses, lab technicians, and all the hosts of other medical staff the knowledge You have allowed mankind to know so that it can be used to help these children of Yours in physical pain.  Soothe their fragmented emotions.  Calm their fears.  Intervene Father with miraculous healings if that is Your will.  And for those Father for who this is a time to come face to face with the end of their lives, wrap them in Your embrace, show to them Your love and mercy and guide them home.  For any Lord who are facing these moments whose relationship with You is non-existent or broken, I plea with You to have final mercies and give them one more chance before their souls leave this earth, this life and face eternity with their choice.

Father I call upon You to help us be better stewards of all You have given us.  Whether we are blessed with little or much Abba Father help us use our allotment to honor You.  Where there are needs in personal and family finances God I call upon You to be for us the God who provides.  Where needs exist in Your work, whether that be local ministries or foreign missions, across lines of denominations, race, gender, economic status or anything else, grant us the privilege of being Your hands to provide with, where You are working to woo people to You please allow us some way of helping, of being used for Your glory.  Grant us the opportunity and the wisdom to seize those opportunities to further Your kingdom.

Abba I pray for my country.  For the United States of America I plea.  Open our eyes Lord to the selfish and self-serving nation we have become.  Cleanse us of self-appointed pet projects and return us to the One upon who our country was founded, was blessed by and who waits for us as one people to call upon Your name.  Our leaders God who know You, who try to walk with You and in the ways You would have them walk I plea for their strength, I plea for their endurance, I plea that their voices will be heard in a din of noise that creates chaos and discontent.  For our leaders who are not Your servants, who lead us or try to lead us, in ways that bring dishonor to You, that shame us before You I pray Lord that these leaders will come face to face with the reality of Your existence and fall prostrate before You.  Raise up in our country Christian men and women to lead us.  Call upon all Your children to pray for our country, for our leaders and dear Jesus, to pray that the decline of our morality be slowed and even halted.

Abba Father lift me beyond myself, above my circumstances, out of my situations into Your ways, Your paths, Your presence.  I am Your child and You are my God and help me cling to these facts in this world that seems to have gone mad.  Grant to my sisters and brothers in Christ the same.  Collect us together so that we might draw strength from You and one another.  Gather us from the far corners of this world under Your arm and hold us in the night and daytime hours of our fears, our needs and our work.

Amen

…a time to tear down and a time to build…Ecclesiastes 3:3b N.I.V.

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Yesterday my grief and depression teamed up to go to battle with another team within me, grit and determination, before the morning light filtered through the window shades.  Despite my intentions I forfeited to team number one.  By doing so when I picked up our daughter from school I had spent the last five hours either asleep curled up under the covers or silently naming things that began with the letters of the alphabet backwards until sleep would claim me again.  Being awake was too painful.

Yet as I backed out of our garage I managed a genuine smile as the continual promised gray skies have yielded to surprise sunshine, driving the grayness of the outside away.  My smile wasn’t plastered on so our daughter wouldn’t know I was hiding my feelings from her and the ignition of the homework routine wasn’t a battle for me, even the math.  While I didn’t manage to accomplish much on my “to do” list, having given into my despair, it helped.  Though I must promise myself not to allow many days like yesterday.  Grief has to be worked through and I have to be careful not to pity myself into a break with reality.

Today, as I didn’t start on the portion of my list of tasks yesterday, I have only one major task to accomplish:  the farewell steps of leaving my professional career.  It has to be today for I have no other choice now.  I’ve waited for a reprieve and none has arrived.  I’ve prayed for a miracle either a miracle of healing or of changed minds and attitudes but it hasn’t been granted.  Today I will:

  • Pack up 13 years of my professional life.  Give away what I do not want and bring the rest home to either incorporate into our home’s décor or go to a local mission thrift shop tomorrow.
  • Type up and turn in my withheld letter of resignation because I have yet to accept, yes even now, that this is happening.
  • Turn in my “wad of keys”, ID badge, parking decal, Wal-Mart credit card and Sam’s Membership Card to Human Resources.
  • Drive toward home no longer employed, no longer able to identify myself as what I do for a living and tasting the bitterness of knowing I am now a case number with the long term disability insurance company and soon, with Social Security.

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I am struck suddenly, with the realization of how familiar the feelings I am having now mirror the ones I had before my amputation.  Feelings of being herded into a decision I didn’t want to make but had to.  Realizing I’ve used up my last options.  Knowing the hour is fast approaching when I will have those last moments to stop this door from opening and closing behind me.

Really, I could and I feel the urge to do so like I felt the urge to yell, “No, I’ve changed my mind!” when I was being wheeled towards the operating room to have my leg amputated.  Legally my job is mine until the last minute of my F.M.L.A. runs out on January 10.  I could have my doctor fax over a release to return to work and wheel in on the 9th ready to work an eight hour day or a ten hour one.

But I know I won’t.  At least I don’t imagine I will.  Just like I didn’t change my mind about the amputation because the reality is what the reality is for I can’t work four to five eight to twelve hour days anymore.  My body just won’t take the pressure or the stress.  I risk my life to keep working, for the next time the blood clot could kill me.  How many times has God dodged that bullet for me?  Or the next infection which my body doesn’t even fight on its own anymore, will be so out of control by the time I get to help it will have progressed to far to save my life.

The door is opening, my own hand is on the knob and the weight of me and my power chair are propelling it to yield to us…

Behind me are the ruins of a time of my life in which I’ve felt successful, useful, needed, respected…

The time to tear down has for the time being, reached a final phase.  I can’t see what is on the other side of this doorway but I know, “I never walk alone.”

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“…a time to mourn and a time to dance,…” Ecclesiastes 3:4b (N.I.V.)

 (As I am neither a Biblical scholar or in any way knowledgeable concerning the languages used to write the original scriptures I cannot incorporate the scripture into my life based on what I do not know or understand.  That is why as I read and pray about scripture I depend on the Holy Spirit to counsel me and take the English translation as it is written, with the notes in my N.I.V. Study Bible and whatever books I have read on the particular passage.

Having witnessed, in person, the danger of following someone’s instruction or interpretation of the scripture based on an unsound foundation; I would never advocate someone to base their spiritual live on how I believe the scripture reads.  I urge each person to seek their answers for themselves.  Never except for truth what you cannot find solid basis for in the scripture for yourself along with the leadership of the Holy Spirit and the teaching of someone with knowledge of the languages and background of the Bible you may lack.)

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This series of blogs began fermenting last month with a weird and disturbing dream I had.  This is the dream:

I am watching the funeral procession of Abraham Lincoln as it comes down a long brick paved avenue.  The horse-drawn wagon with the flag draped coffin of the President is approaching a circular part of the road and in the center of that circle is a fountain surrounded by flowers.  Then I am in the wagon, holding on for dear life to the coffin containing President Lincoln, fighting against the bumpy road and the jarring of his coffin that seems to be about to cause the coffin to end up in the road.  Suddenly the axle or wheel breaks on the “rear passenger side” of the wagon as it hits an unseen pothole in the roadway.  The wagon falls.  Now I am attempting against an even greater pull of gravity and laws of nature, to keep Lincoln’s coffin from sliding to the ground and perhaps his body tumbling out.

I can feel my muscles straining, feel the coffin slipping from my hand holds and I go from thinking, “I can’t let this happen!” to thinking, “Wait this isn’t really happening!”  It occurs to me that what I am taking part of has any basis in the history I’ve read about.  People are yelling at me, no one is helping me, and I am now too yelling, “This isn’t real, right?  This can’t be real!”

Then I woke up, just as I am sure Lincoln’s body tumbles from the coffin but whether Lincoln’s coffin and/or his body falls out of the wagon I do not know although had I stayed asleep long enough I am certain both would have.  It was disturbing and rather creepy.  I posted the dream on my Facebook page.

A few days later an old friend of mine from high school who is now a minister told me he was no dream interpreter but that he had seen a lot of symbolism in my dream.  Having caused my interest to peak I asked him about it and privately he emailed me what he felt was an interpretation of my dream given to him by our God.  My friend, Fred*, wasn’t sure I’d accept what he had to say as a message inspired by God.  He was also unsure whether I would be offended or whether I was in a place to hear what he had to say.

But I was ready, for the first uneasiness caused by my dream had passed and all the wise cracks about what food I had eaten or changes in my medication had occurred.  What Fred didn’t know was what God would remind and show to me when I took what Fred had said and God and I “talked it over” during my quiet time with Him.  When it all came together I was left having to acknowledge that my dream was filled with symbolism of my life now.

Fred went on to tell me, in the love of God and of old and tried friendship, what I needed to do to move on with my life.  I haven’t embraced that revelation as willingly as I have the interpretation of my dream itself.  Fred told me to do so much I knew had to be done and that I so DON’T WANT TO DO.

As the year 2012 drew to a close and 2013 began I found myself acknowledging many things.  The post I made at midnight New Year’s Day spoke of winter being for me, an odd time to celebrate new life for things are dormant instead of bursting with new life.  But winter affords us the time to PREPARE for new life.  It is the time we stay closer to home and hearth and family.  It is the time farmers repair equipment, merchants plan the stocking of new wares for spring, heartier soups and stews are prepared, the sun rises later and fades sooner, past times of reading, studying and crossword puzzles seem perfect activities.  It is a when one has time to think.  It is often a time when travel is more risky and one has to think of how to deal with ice, sleet, snow, wind and low temperatures.

It is not a time I am accustom to taking a vacation or journey.  Yet here I am on this journey.  I am straining against reality.  I am fighting to uphold a way of life I held dear and against the loss of it for it means dependence on others that my earlier life taught me was dangerous.  I’ve known this day was coming; I just never could stomach the realities of it.  Now, I have no choice.  Without a doubt the axle/wheel is broken for my left leg is gone from above the knee down and in trying to keep “what was” on the wagon on it there has been a tremendous physical strain on me.  I cannot accept on my deepest levels, that what is happening is happening, that it is real.  I am as much confused by my own thoughts and feelings as I am by those outside of me yelling at me so loudly I cannot hear what they are saying.

I am entering the “winter” of this time for me, both by the calendar and in my life.  I have to take the time to prepare for new life, sort through what needs to be mended or let go of, do the mending or the cleaning out and readying for spring.  Part of that is going to be rejoicing as the new spring arrives and part of that is going to be mourning what is dead and of no longer use to me.

I’m not sure how one “mourns” the loss of a limb or observes the end of one way of life while readying for the start of another.  I am sure of this though, it is going to be painful and it is going to be challenging.  It is going to be exciting and it is going to be an affirmation of life.  It is going to be covered with the fingerprints of God.

It is also my hope that others who are in a time of mourning for whatever loss in this winter season will find a light to help them find the pathway through.  It doesn’t matter if where you are it is 101 or -31 degrees outside for this winter season is here for you as it is for me regardless of what the calendar reads.  The time of mourning arrives with the death of what we will mourn.

Will you join me in whatever way you can during this winter of my life?

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