…and my tradition has been to spend a part of this day grieving, and a part of the day counting my blessings and reflecting on how to make the most of the time I’ve got left.
I live in South Florida, and I feel very blessed and thankful to have been spared the wrath of hurricane Matthew. The winds were howling fiercely during the night, and when I ventured outside this afternoon the winds were still howling as Matthew was looming off the coast of northern Florida.
The lake behind my house is usually as still as glass, peaceful and silent except for birds chirping… As I listened to the wind, and saw the ducks in the water and heard the birds in the trees above, I remembered a bit of scripture from Matthew:
Do Not Worry
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?
Where have 28 years gone?? I’ve come to realize that grief never ends, it continues cyclically. Like the tide, the moon and the seasons, grief is just something I’ve learned to expect. Sometimes grief is like the undertow I remember so well from Jones Beach: even after 28 years it can still knock me off my feet if I’m not careful. Sometimes grief is like a brilliant full moon that catches me off guard, sets my nerves on edge and leaves me feeling unsettled. Other times grief is like a gloomy moon obscured by clouds, it’s not one sad memory but rather a longing for happy times.
And sometimes grief is like a cold blast of winter, when I feel the profound loss of my mom most acutely. I continually grieve that she didn’t get to see me through motherhood, she never got to be a grandma, she doesn’t get to know, much less spoil, my kids. We don’t get to bicker, reminisce, share recipes, gather for holidays, or ride out storms together.
For a long time I felt that grief was a bad thing, something to downplay or suppress so as not to burden others, but I realize now that even though it’s not fun or always welcome, it’s a part of the healing process. Grief will never end because something irreplaceable has been taken from me, and I will never be the same. But I’m getting stronger, worrying less and praying more, and I’m immensely grateful for the blessings I have each and every day.
And grief has made me more compassionate, better able to relate to the suffering I see in the world, and more willing and determined to do something about it. As difficult and traumatic as it was losing my mom so young, I have the luxury of happy memories and a few photographs and a roof over my head. Even when we lost my Mom, as hard as that was, we didn’t have to struggle to survive like our brothers and sisters in Haiti are struggling right now. And we have the luxury of grieving because we aren’t fighting for our lives.
So today when I thought about how I can make a difference, I decided to make an additional donation to Compassion International, to help those kids and families in such desperate need. Today I grieve for our brothers and sisters in Haiti, where the destruction is catastrophic and resources are so scarce.
Please join me in lifting up special prayers for the people of Haiti, for our Compassion child Jac and his family, and for everyone affected by hurricane Matthew.
To help the victims in Haiti, please consider COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL: http://www.compassion.com/haiti-hurricane-donation.htm
My mom was a nurse, and I know if she were here today she would also be pulling out her credit card to help those in desperate need, so in memory of my mom Sandy, I pray that the Lord will multiply our gifts, to bring healing and peace and hope and safety to our brothers and sisters in Haiti. I’m grateful for organizations like Compassion International that will venture into these areas to render aid that’s so desperately needed. I pray that their efforts will be blessed, their workers will be safe, and their impact will touch lives and hearts to restore safety, promote hope and healing, and allow the people of Haiti to grieve and heal. In Jesus’ name, Amen.