Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MICHAEL'S BIRTHDAY


Today Michael would have been a whopping "32" years old! In the photo above, he is all of 10 months old…

I remember that day well. I had a box of hair ribbons on my bedroom dresser, that I thought he might enjoy looking at. I was pleasantly surprised how "into" the tactile aspect of this play, he seemed to be. As he pulled ribbon after ribbon out of the box,  he seemed almost mesmerized- kind of like- when a magician brings one, seemingly endless chiffon scarf after another, out of a container.

It was a warm day, as evidenced by his spartan clothing, and the fact that there's no bedspread on the master bedroom double bed. As for the ribbons...I think Michael enjoyed those ribbons, more than some of the pricey toys he had! I think he had an artistic bent to him, as he really seemed to enjoy anything "artsy"…

That's part of the dilemma of having a child transition so young…I'm left with forever wondering what Michael (and Lisa) "preferred"! What talents would they have gone on to possess and enjoy? I can only conjecture from what evidence I had of 27 months of living with my Michael-and 9 1/2 months of living with my Lisa. Since I believe they are "complete" in this new life they live, I presume they have normal likes and dislikes, too…but... what are they?

I miss this little angel…Someone told me recently, a Catholic woman well versed in such matters, that Michael (and Lisa) occupied the highest tier in Heaven (apparently there's "3" tiers). Children that die before the age of "reason" are gathered at the feet of Jesus, and have the highest place in Heaven, she told me, because they are "sinless", having died before they were capable of committing conscious sin. Once I got past my being flummoxed ("There's…exclusivity in Heaven?"-not exactly) I found some comfort in the fact that they are "gifts" to God, up in Heaven- as well as to me, down here.

A Catholic nun told me shortly after the tragedy, with a big smile, that I, "Have given gifts to God!" "Two gifts!" and how it wasn't often, that people are able to give God gifts…
All I could think of at the time, was how much of an "indian giver" I felt like... (to use the archaic term-no offense meant to Native Americans. )

There's a Scripture verse I find I really like. When I feel sad, I think of it often…here are several versions of Psalm 43:5-courtesy of Bible Hub (biblehub.com). For brevity, just read your favorite Bible version's one...

New International Version
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
New Living Translation
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again--my Savior and my God!
English Standard Version
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
New American Standard Bible 
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
King James Bible
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God. 
International Standard Version
Why are you in despair, my soul? Why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, because I will praise him once again, since his presence saves me and he is my God.
NET Bible
Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention. 
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Why have you agitated me, my soul, and why have you perplexed me? Look for God, because I shall again praise him, The Savior of my entire being, and my God. 
GOD'S WORD® Translation
Why are you discouraged, my soul? Why are you so restless? Put your hope in God, because I will still praise him. He is my savior and my God.
Jubilee Bible 2000
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Wait for God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the saving health of my countenance and my God.
King James 2000 Bible
Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disturbed within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
American King James Version
Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
American Standard Version
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God. 
Douay-Rheims Bible
To thee, O God my God, I will give praise upon the harp : why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me? Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him : the salvation of my countenance, and my God. 
Darby Bible Translation
Why art thou cast down, my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God; for I shall yet praise him, [who is] the health of my countenance, and my God.
English Revised Version
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
Webster's Bible Translation
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
World English Bible
Why are you in despair, my soul? Why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God! For I shall still praise him: my Savior, my helper, and my God. For the Chief Musician. By the sons of Korah. A contemplative psalm.
Young's Literal Translation
What! bowest thou thyself, O my soul? And what! art thou troubled within me? Wait for God, for still I confess Him, The salvation of my countenance, and my God!

My favorite is the very first one, the New International Version…

Even though Michael (and Lisa) died too young for the world to know their greatness, God knows. And that's all that really matters. To God alone, do one's worth and value matter. "Endings"- in my humble opinion, aren't as important as "New Beginnings"...I look at a Crucifix, and find more than ample verification of this idea! Just as Christ's story didn't end at His death...so do Michael and Lisa now experience new, and abundantly joyful, life in Paradise…playing at the feet of Jesus, just like my friend said…And I "will yet praise Him"…when I again, snuggle into their arms at our Reunion! I love you Michael Mouse (and your little sister Lisa Leprechaun too) Give your Dad a kiss for me! Nite!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

PATIENT ENDURANCE


I've been thinking about being reunited in Heaven with my family, for close to 30 years now...And 2 Cor. 4:18 is a favorite of mine:

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."



For bereaved moms…this may seem like topsy-turvy thinking here…It seems to be saying that those in Heaven, are more truly alive than those on earth! They are never ending- whereas down here- we're all subject to decline and decay. I almost feel as if I should rejoice that my children are fully alive in Heaven…and mourn for those of us (including children) now dying a slow, painful physical death here on this planet

But of course... it did take "awhile" to come to the realization that my children have, in essence, won the Lottery…
I had to gradually relinquish Michael and Lisa (and Tim) to Our Father, before He restored them back to me- through a deepened Faith. I feel much closer to them now- than I did right after it seemed like they'd been yanked right out of my mothering arms. It is nice to be able to look at photos and see so much more in them. And to not let bother me what I used to see…like an undarned hole in Michael's sock-glaringly evident to me…once...

All our earthly joy, as great as it is, is still merely temporary. It doesn't hold a candle to the joy that can never be ripped away from us, in Heaven. Even the word "temporal" as in "all temporal joy" has its roots in the Latin word for "time", which is "tempus". 


After my bereavement, for years, I thought deeply on the verse's meaning ( cited earlier). I concluded- there was really no way I could ever believe, any of us gets "cheated", by going to Heaven early. Contrary to popular and frequently stated opinion, I was not the fortunate one to be left behind…My being a survivor was yet to be realized...


I believe recovery from child bereavement for a Christian, really does comes down to one word…TRUST. If I call myself a Christian, I hold to certain beliefs as truths. And in times of trouble, that's when I really need to trust in those beliefs.  I have always felt it's a "make it or break it" time- when push comes to shove after a beloved's death... and it's time to turn on the faith engine, rev it up with Trust... and get going…But first the car has to start…and that may take a bit of time to restore...

Lately, I see an area where I can improve my faith life. I've been so super-focused, for years, on the topic of life in Heaven for my children/ for myself. I realize that I have neglected to abandon my usual "knee- jerk" response, in regard to the daily stressors of life down here. I have the utmost faith in the next life being suburb. I'm going to try to stop worrying so much down here, and to "enjoy the ride" more! I will start asking Jesus to help me with that. God assures us, that "For everyone who asks, receives." Matthew 7:8 Thanks be to God!


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