Remember the movie staring Julia Roberts, entitled, “Eat, Pray, Love?” The scenery, and traveling in this movie entices me, but also her journey of exploration, and self awareness after going through loss in her life. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that occurred in this film, but I found her search for herself enlightening.
I have realized over the last few weeks that I no longer have a routine in my life. As a result, I think I kept feeling as if life was simply just happening to me, and that I had no say in it. I’ve been attending a “Grief Worshop” at our church every Monday evening, and one of the phrases our facilitator gave us is that if we wait to when we “feel” like doing something, that may never occur, and so we can get stuck in our feelings, but if we act first, kinda forcing ourselves to embrace a new habit, then the feelings will follow. I found this to be profound. There certainly have been days when I’ve wanted to hide under my bed, and wanted to just cower in the dark, and hide from humanity. I’m sure that in the days to come, I may want to take up permanent residence, and camp out under my bed, but what Im realizing, is that I can be intentional with my decisions , even in the midst of my deep sorrow. My actions don’t just happen to me, I choose them. I choose how I will react to situations, nobody else does. So ….I thought…I’m going to choose to find a new routine for my life. For 17 years I have been doing Bianca’s routine, so somewhere in the mix…I did not really have my own, only her routine that we moved through conjoined throughout our day. It’s almost as if we were one person…Mother and daughter. Of course I joined my routine to hers, firstly out of love, but secondly out of pure necessity. It was with determination and joy that we moved through our day, and we would often go for walks throughout the neighborhood, up and around the lake, and over to see her beloved horses at the nearby horse farm. I had not realized how sacred these experiences were to me, until I started to redefine a new routine for myself. ….I decided on Monday morning that it was time to venture out on a brisk walk with my faithful beagles at my side. I had realized that one of the major reasons that I hadn’t been walking of late is that was something special that Bianca and I used to do. It just hurt, to walk without her, her wheelchair, and the doggies… It was gone….over..our walks together…just an empty wheelchair where for so long she had been placed….Even the dogs look around and feel incomplete without their beloved girl to watch over and protect….I know exactly how they feel…just lost…undone.
There is a lovely lake close to our home, and so we began our new “mourning routine.” Yes..I intended to write it that way, because what I discovered as my shoes plodded along the dirt path is that my tears began to flow..they were unstoppable. Apparently they needed to come out, and be shed, and my face grew wet with them. My heart poured out and my grief mingled with the smell of dirt beneath my feet, and the sound of birds chirping all around me. It was cleansing, and therapeudic to remember her with love and incredible missing in this place of ours. I suppose it’s natural to cry out in your mind..why?..why did you have to leave me..why were you born this way, and why oh why did you never get to speak even one word to me? Then..the thankfulness came…I am so grateful that she was my daughter,,and that I was able to love her and care for her these 17 years. What a precious and unique bond we shared, one that will never go away or be diminished with time. I began to pray as I walked…I cried out to the heavens to take care of her, and keep her safe until I was able to be with her again some day. This space in between that separates us seems so vast, and silent, and I’m so lonely without our shared routine. I will walk on my dear girl, and remember you with grace and deep admiration for your life that you shared with us. I will never be the same…. I buried a big chunk of my heart when we gave you back to the earth, and I can’t imagine that it will ever be whole, until I hold you in my arms again. The lake was still, and calm as a piece of glass, and the distant quacking of a few ducks created a gentle ripple afar off on the other side. The other side…I pondered that…what did the other side of my life look like? I did not know. I suppose, in truth, none of us really can fathom what the next part of our life looks like, but as I gazed at the snow tipped mountains in the horizon, I knew that it could only be found in my next steps. I needed to push ahead, to look beyond the right here and right now, and hope with courage I would find a new way…. From “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young…for today…quite fitting, and comforting…
“So with you, Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22
Sometimes the steps we take into the next part of our lives are the very scariest kinds. We will stumble, we will fall. There will be days when we feel like conquerors, and days, probably a lot of them, when we seem to wander in circles. If I can remember to look up, to the one who gave me life, and remember that He has a purpose for me, for my life, and that He has promised to be with me on this walk of life, through the calm waters, and still with me when the waters are churning, and the mighty waves roll, He is my calm in the storm, only him….just Jesus. He makes still my heart, even when I feel the earth give way beneath me, He will not fail me. He who promised is able, and His promises can be counted on…I have seen it, and I will testify that His love is enduring, and it encompasses my being and fills me with fresh hope…and so I look forward to the soon coming celebration of Easter, and with it will remember that my savior, Jesus Christ, died that “Good Friday” to set me free, and I say a huge thank you for my freedom….the greatest love I have ever known.