Friday, April 10, 2009

with love, for a fellow alto

(In honor of Jill, her precious babies, and the two loves of her life—Jesus, and David…)

She said goodbye in the rain, under a gray, it’s-still-not-spring-in-Ohio sky, in the kind of cold that soaks into your bones and doesn’t leave until curled up hours later under layers of blankets with another warm body pressed up against your own. Who will that body be for her, this afternoon, when she is cold and weary to the bone?

High school sweethearts. Fresh-faced, bright-smiled, big-haired photos, dated back 23 years. Homecomings. Proms. Joyful wedding portraits, dated one week before my own. Family gatherings. First homes. Bringing home baby boys. Rejoicing over a baby girl. Vacationing with friends. Driving the ‘Vette. Easels full of smiles, smiles, and more smiles.

She still smiles, but it is a weary smile. A tired smile. A sad smile. I know a brighter smile will return—as will laughter, as will joy. But I know, too, that it will be bittersweet, as smiles always are for those who have lost much.

God is good, she reminds us. She raises her hands in exaltation. She reminds us to keep singing, when we “wonder if we’ll ever make it through.” I know her faith is strong. I know her God is big. But I know her heart is broken, and I know it won’t heal quickly.

Faith is an amazing, beautiful thing, and hers has been (and I’m sure she hates to hear this) an inspiration to many. It will carry her through, even when that very faith causes her to wrestle in the darkness with the one who gives and takes away. She will persevere, and she will overcome, all by the grace of God and the indelible spirit he placed within her.

But faith doesn’t spare her the cold, empty spot next to her in bed, the sight of the wheelchair in the corner of the garage, the driver-less Corvette parked in the driveway. It doesn’t spare her children the absence of their father or his parents the loss of a son. It doesn’t fill the empty seat at the dinner table or erase the smell of his cologne from his pillow or mow the lawn and take out the garbage. Faith doesn’t prevent the heart from aching, the soul from grieving, the tears from falling.

But what it does—oh, what that faith does. It receives into its soil every seed of hope—of healing, of mercy, of grace, of comfort, of peace—and it buries them inside its rich darkness, nurturing them with its life-giving, death-like silence. That faith protects each tiny seed—choking out the roots of resentment and bitterness, fighting off the crows that threaten to snatch up each deposit of life—and goes to work fertilizing, hydrating, compressing, forcing each and every one to burst open with determined life that presses up through the darkness and into the light, reaching higher and higher and higher until it opens wide and bears its fruit so that all may pick from its harvest and taste and see that the Lord is good.

God is good. Some days she will sing it. Some days she will shout it. Some days, it will be just a whisper. It will remain true, whether she professes it or not, but she will continue to profess it, nonetheless. Because she knows something about rainy days, and about pain, and about wondering if she’ll ever make it through—and she knows that all she can do is to keep on singing.

Keep Singing
by Mercy Me

Another rainy day
I can't recall having sunshine on my face
All I feel is pain
All I wanna do is walk out of this place
But when I am stuck and I can't move
When I don't know what I should do
When I wonder if I'll ever make it through

I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
You’re the one that's keeping my heart beating
I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
That's the only way that I'll find healing

Can I climb up in Your lap
I don't wanna leave
Jesus sing over me
I gotta keep singing

Can I climb up in Your lap
I don't wanna leave
Jesus sing over me
I gotta keep singing

Oh You're everything I need
And I gotta keep singing


Debbie said...

Wow, Lorie, I don't know how you put words around it, but you did it so well... Thank you so much for sharing with us to help us process as well. It really helped me to read your perspective.. Thanks so much. Love, deb

Anonymous said...

wow, girl that was well said....

Cindy said...

The paragraph about Faith not filling the cold empty spot next to her...brought tears. I will pray for your friend.