Saturday, November 29, 2014

TEMPORARY RESIDENCE




The other day, I stumbled onto the name of a record label that gave me pause for thought...

                                          "Temporary Residence"

This led me to a stream of thoughts about our own "temporary residence"…Earth.

I looked up the dictionary meaning of "temporary"-just for the heck of it. Apparently it's from the Latin word for "time"...huh… Words that are listed as being synonyms of "temporary",  include the likes of:

"brief", "interim","limited", "makeshift", "momentary", "transitory", "impermanent"," 
"make-do", "mortal", "passing", "perishable", "shifting", "short", "transient", "volatile" (!) "Band-Aid" (!) "changeable", "fleeting", "slapdash", "unfixed", and "unstable".

The list of words which are opposites of "temporary," was very short!  Only "lengthy", "long-lived", "permanent", "long" and "unabridged." That contrast, was interesting in and of itself!

One of the main changes I've encountered over the many years of being on this bereavement journey, is how I felt about being "here" vs. "there"…Or of being in my "temporary residence"  vs.  my "permanent residence". 

Although I did feel "left behind" when my family instantly transitioned to Heaven without me…I never wanted to leave this planet. I wanted to be physically alive on this planet, and glad that I was. There was some guilt in feeling relieved that I, too, had not died in the wreck. Even though a Christian, I still felt deep down that at least I knew exactly what this earthly existence is all about. I did feel confidently, that Heaven was a wonderful place, but I was fine just staying here and waiting for Reunion when God called me Home, too, thank you! This planet seemed more permanent than temporary, back then. Although I was completely shattered by my family's (physical deaths), I did not want to also (physically) die…Back then I had to get the prejudiced idea out of my mind, that death was darkness…and not the bright light- that I truly believe it is, now...

I was all about the physical back then. Maybe because the physical was so fresh in my mind, and the lack so keenly felt in my arms. Every belonging of theirs was like gold to be guarded. I was paranoid that one of the nurses would carelessly take up my hospital sheets -with Lisa's new portrait photos still on the bed. My father in law brought them to the hospital, the JCPenney portrait photos we'd taken before the wreck. When he said he was bringing them over, I was worried, as he wasn't the most gentle of men. And sure enough, he had rumpled one of the 8X10's…and I felt devastated.

When I returned home the first time after being discharged, I found one of the kid's photo frames up on the fireplace mantel was now broken.  My mother had crocheted around the frame, making a little keepsake -one for Michael and one for Lisa.  The little plastic stand on the back of Michael's was now broken. Who did it? How could they have done this? I went into a tailspin! These things were the only physical links I had to my children…to mar one of those was akin to harming their body. Completely focusing on such things, probably meant I didn't have to focus on what really happened to their bodies.

We had wildfires last Spring, that necessitated me picking and choosing what to take in the limited amount of space in my son's car. Important documents took up so much room! The "necessities" of living life on this planet...I  did not feel panic stricken, at the thought of having to leave so much "memory" material behind. Like their baby books…To me it now seems like remnants (although still of great sentimental value to me) of a past age-now progressed from horse and buggy to rockets….


Over much time, and with God's help, I've come to the conclusion that I know just a fraction of what they're really like-now that they're in Heaven- with God. So very many things we mortals focus on, seem of so very little ultimate importance- in the grand scheme of things. Everything here is just temporary. How we look. How they look. Our possessions… Their possessions...Our temporary residence.

Nowadays,  I feel that photos, are only a passing moment in time. They have moved on! They have progressed on in an incredibly accelerated rate…! It's a photo of how they used to be…not what they are now…It's a rendition of their temporary appearance….It is nice to look and and remember, but I no longer clutch onto a photo with panicky hands. That to me, would be as if my mother looked at my baby photo…and remained thinking that's how I still am, (or that's all I am)...even though I'm now in my late 50's and have grown in all ways since that second in time. Photos are nice to look at, but I remember they're not really that indicative of how (perfect) they are now! They're now so advanced…they can even go through walls!

All things are temporary here. Scientists tell us that what we see isn't really even solid-but merely consisting of non-solid, molecular energy. (Don't quote me on that lol.) 

In the areas I've lived in, "renters" are liked less than "homeowners" as the HOA's don't allow short term house rentals. This is because it is thought, that those who are only "temporary"- will not care that much about things! Maybe we mortals should remember that Earth is only our temporary residence,  throw a party or two, enjoying this moment in time, remembering that our loved ones are with us even now in Spirit, but also remembering this isn't really our true home. Our true Home is where our beloveds already are…In light-with Jesus-and ready to welcome us inside, into their loving arms with a forever-embrace. We have so much to look forward to!
















Sunday, November 23, 2014

THE HOLIDAY BLUES




This is the time of year, that most of us bereaved moms struggle with the most. Too much to do, on top of not feeling "up"…it just all gets to be too much (understatement of the year)…

Newly bereaved moms-don't expect too much from yourself. You've been shattered. You've suffered the worst blow to the human body and soul that is possible. It's going to take time to heal, to eventually bounce back. (Yes, it is possible to bounce back- in time.) It's not going to be easy, but we have One who has suffered as we have, who understands human weakness and suffering and sorrow.  He's especially close to us when we feel the most alone and in the most distress. Even if we don't "feel it"-He is there with us in the trenches...

That phone call from a friend you just received- that you hadn't heard from for so long? Influence of the Holy Spirit, prompting her/him to call. That card in the mailbox that took you by surprise? That finding on the sales rack of one size left (and it's your size!)-Encouragement from the Holy Spirit. Yes, I truly believe that even such things as surprise finds on the Clearance Rack, are given to us, as encouragements from Above. To help us continue the race. He knows our energy reserves are low and we're faltering…These little kindnesses from Above, are highly individualized, also...

Even minute amounts of water and light, help sustain a plant that's struggling.

When I look back over 30 years (this Dec. 22), I see how my early grief contrasts so sharply to my mindset now. I'm all about keeping a positive mindset, now. Seeing that glass as half full. Focusing on our upcoming Reunion…gain and not loss. Not letting myself "go there" because nothing good ever comes when I'm feeling blue and then "go there".

Back then, all I knew was pain. It was not possible to even "feel" for anyone else's pain. I was so completely saturated-every pore contained pain pain and nothing but pain. I simply could not contain any more. 

Similarly to an infant getting inoculated-the baby knows nothing except IT HURTS…Wails of protest will erupt, and rightfully so! No one would think to tell that baby, "That's enough now! Stop crying!" (As I was reprimanded by a night nurse, shortly after the wreck.)  The child is comforted and dealt patiently with... for as long as it is necessary. We are all God's children.

It's also beyond the child's comprehension, to understand the "Why?"…Acceptance that there is a reason for this pain, isn't understood until much, much later...  Pain starting to subside is what finally makes the infant stop crying. And there's usually some lingering residual of whimpering at the shock, the indignity and the awful unfairness of it all…

I wonder why some people feel the need to "tell us" why they think our child has died? So many things said to me early on, didn't fall so much on "deaf" ears, but on "numb" ears. I put up with many people trying to play God, and trying to tell me "why" the wreck happened. And some answers really felt like a whipping, to me…

"You had something you needed to learn!" I was told. And I've been questioned several times over the years, as to whether I was a Christian before the wreck happened or only after… I saw a lot of smugness among Christians... I often felt tiny, while some "helpers" towered over me as I lay "recovering" in my hospital bed …I did learn a valuable lesson…the most helpful response to me was "I don't know what to say,  just that I'm sorry…" Less said- spoke more to me.

We need Jesus' help before, during and after all troubles that befall us…When time provided enough of a scab and the numbing effect was gone-I had to call on God's grace- to help me not respond angrily toward those who continued to know "exactly" what I was going through…With the numbness gone, I was able though, to "feel" more for those who had also suffered child bereavement-or any loss, for that matter. I was able to be fed, and I grew.

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (Hebrews 10:36)

"Endurance" has been "the" keyword for me, all of the many years since my bereavement.  "Patient" endurance…like we're called on to have in Scripture, is something that has to be worked at…it does not come automatically just because we desire it. Not anymore than being successful at anything, comes just because we "want" it…Being so-called "successful" at surviving child bereavement, involves like anything else, "practice, practice, practice"…

Calling on Jesus to help us, is the best singular thing we can do, to help us get through anything-especially the upcoming, perilous holidays. And keeping a reserve of energy, by saying "No!" to anything that will completely deplete us, or even hints at it...helps too. There will, God willing, be many years ahead of service to our families and our Lord… For now, others will need to practice giving us bereaved moms the gift of kindness, patience and compassion.  "Rest awhile"…it's not possible- nor even smart-to run uphill with a broken leg. Give yourself time to heal first! And time-coupled with Jesus' helping us- really does help us toward restoration.







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