Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Day 924

Dec. 9, 2015

Day 924


It's December and I am slogging through it.  It's  not that terrible, I guess - not like the last two Decembers.  But it's worse than the rest of the year.  I wonder if I will ever again have a holiday season where I actually enjoy and anticipate it?


Sunday marked 30 months - 2 1/2 years.  That seems sort of significant to me because it's half of five years.  And there's a part of me that has always thought, "At 5 years, I'll finally be ok."  Or,


"At 5 years, my life will be back on track."  And,


"I can survive anything for 5 years."


Maybe!  Although, 2 1/2 years from now I may shake my head and wonder what I thought was so special about hitting the five year mark.


Yesterday, I got his grave decorated for Christmas.  In Oct, his mother and sister had decorated the grave - with fresh produce (pumpkins, gourds).  They were still there, only not nearly so fresh anymore. What an icky mess.  Our cemetery is rural and because of that there really aren't any rules as far as what type of stone you can have and what kind of decorations you use.  Some people actually have garden fencing around their stones.  Some have planted peony bushes that are huge now.  The down side to this lack of policy is that nobody cleans up your grave, either!  They have a groundskeeper but if you have junk in front of the stone, he's not going to touch it in order to weed eat.


So guess who had to clean up the rotten pumpkin and gourds?




They had also left this poem they had printed onto some supposedly waterproof thing designed for graves.  It's one of those that makes me roll my eyeballs.  You see them all the time.  The poem is supposed to be from the perspective of the deceased and he's talking about how he's always with you and when you're crying at night he's right there with you (creepy).  He's talking about you shouldn't be sad because Heaven is so awesome so go ahead and live your life, but hurry up and die, too, so you can back together. 


I'm paraphrasing.  Is there a problem with drawing comfort from Scripture rather than cheesy poetry?


But, I understood this brought comfort to Paul's family so I wasn't going to remove it from his grave even though I certainly never would have put up something like that.  I left it up there yesterday when I decorated.  However, I discovered this "waterproof" case is not so much.  The sides are already beginning to separate.  I'll just leave it until it completely gives way, I guess.


I got done, rocked back on my heels to observe my work, and decided that there isn't a whole lot more sad in the world than decorating a grave for Christmas or a birthday, I don't think.  It's the only way you can spend time "with" your loved one and it's the only thing you can actually do for them.  But it's not what you would have preferred to be doing with and for them at these times of celebration.


Will got my storm door hung yesterday.  My contractor still has some things to do on the house and he told me in Oct. he'd be back in a few weeks to hang the door and do those final things.  I haven't heard a peep out of him since.  I finally got ahold of him a couple of weeks ago and he said he's waiting on his supplier.  Sigh...


But it's getting colder (well, not this week - it's actually unseasonably warm right now, but that won't last).  And I can't wait on some balky supplier to have a storm door when cold air is blowing into my house!  It ended up being a rather time consuming job and took Will several hours.  But it's all insulated and hung now. 


I ended up dreaming last night that my contractor said he needed more money from me and when he said he needed a check for over $10,000 I just started bawling.  But then I thought to myself in my dream, "I'm SO glad Will installed that door himself so I didn't have to pay for that, too!"


Speaking of dreams, I ended up dreaming about Paul last week.  That is a very rare occurrence anymore.  In the dream I was on the phone with a repairman who was going to do some work on my van.  For some reason he wanted to talk to a male before starting the work (sounds kind of sexist to me, as I think about it) so I wandered into the kitchen and handed the phone to Paul who talked with him.  Then he hung up and asked, "Why are we paying someone else to work on our vehicles?"    That is totally the way he would have phrased it, too!


I answered, "Because on June 6th, you're going to die."  Paul's eyebrows shot up and he looked very thoughtful.  And then I began to explain everything that would happen in the months following his death.  He nodded and wandered out of the room.  Obviously, time was a very fluid thing in my dream.  But it was interesting to me to recall it once I awoke.


Sam came home one day last week, very serious (he always is) and said, "Well, Mom, you  might think this is funny, but I have something to tell you."  He paused and then said,


"I have a girlfriend."


To my credit, I did not laugh.  Instead, I asked him what it was that he liked about this particular classmate (named, "Sky" of all things!).  But on the inside I was thinking, "Seriously?...and then, "I hate public schools...").  I was reminded of a conversation I overheard the night of parent/teacher conferences.  Two moms were talking and they were commenting how one of the lower elementary classes seemed to be "pairing up" awfully fast as in, "boyfriend/girlfriend" stuff.  At the time it made me inwardly roll my eyeballs.  It never occurred to me my own kids might get sucked into that.

Later I did talk to Sam about the importance of saving the words, "I love you" for someone really, really special and for when he's a lot older.  He seemed to take that to heart.


The next night we went to the elementary Christmas concert.  Now, that was a real disappointment to me.  I've always appreciated Ben's Christmas concerts at the high school level because there is always a selection of sacred holiday music used.  They've always been really good concerts, as a result.  I mentioned that to his old music teacher and she commented that the parents and the community at large seem especially enthusiastic about including songs about Baby Jesus so she always made sure to do that.  In contrast, I remember the joke of a Christmas concert we attended at the Missouri Valley school when Ben was in kindergarten.  It was held a couple of weeks before Christmas but was called a "Winter concert."  Every single song was about Santa Claus.  I homeschooled for the next 7 years, but found Pleasantville's Christmas concerts, once Ben was back in school, to be very refreshing.


So imagine how disappointed I was last Thursday  night when I got to the school and was handed a program entitled, "Holiday Concert."  And then  these elementary kids all got up on stage and began singing songs about Santa and getting lots of presents.  Sigh...


Fortunately, intermission came after the 2nd graders performed so we were able to leave at that point, rather than having to sit through three more grade levels of similar performances.


As we were leaving, Sam pointed out a father/daughter duo and excitedly told me, "That's Sky, Mom!"  Sky is a good six inches taller than Sam, which made me smile.


Tomorrow night is Ellie's preschool Christmas concert (or "Holiday" concert?) so I will be curious to see what they do.  The preschool is held in the basement of the Methodist church and the program is in the church auditorium, so surely they will have some sacred selections - right?



It's sunny out today.  The weathermen are saying to not count on having a white Christmas this year, in fact.  I guess that's ok.  We've had quite a few white ones in recent years.  It seemed like it rained non-stop the last two weeks of November.  I just remembered the other day an experience that I wanted to share.


So it was one of those rainy mornings and I was heading north on Highway 5 after dropping Ellie off at preschool.  I needed to go to Des Moines, as I recall.  All of a sudden, I noticed this pretty rainbow.  As I drove closer, the clouds dissipated and I had to reach for my sunglasses.  The brilliance of the sun and rainbow was simply astounding.  My first thought was to wonder if there are rainbows in Heaven.  And then it occurred to me that maybe what I was experiencing, this sudden brightness and explosion of color, was just a taste of Heaven sent down for our pleasure.   I sat in my van while passing under the sun and rainbows and felt warm from the inside out. 


As I looked in my rearview mirror I could still see the gray clouds behind me.  And after just a few miles, I found myself removing my sunglasses as I drove into more clouds and rain began once again spattering the windshield.  It occurred to me that life is a lot like this highway (I think Rascal Flatts recorded a song by that title, in fact). 


So much of life is just plain hard.  And it seems like problems seem to multiply when you're already in the midst of one.  Or as the adage says, "Trouble comes in threes!"  But every so often in the midst of of sludging through one heartache and trial after another, a bit of sunshine and happiness slips in.  God clears the skies for a little bit and you get to experience a gorgeous rainbow and sunshine in the form of some unexpected happiness.


It won't last.  We know that in this sin-sick, rotting world, nothing good can.  But for a little while, that happiness is enough to infuse our weary souls with enough hope to shoulder through the next round of clouds and rain.



























What I have learned in two years of widowhood:

• God is good - so, so good
• I am loved far more than I ever knew
• I have amazing, resilient children (I am reaping what Paul sowed into their lives)
• Darkness eventually gives way to light
• Strength and wisdom are mine for the asking
• I don't have to have all the answers
• God delights in carefully and tenderly mending torn-apart hearts

Psalm 73:26: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.































1 comment:

  1. That dream was so vivid and interesting. Do you usually remember your dreams that clearly? Does a dream like that bring any comfort? God bless you! (Laraba)