The Lord will cover you with His feathers and under His Wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart
It’s been a while since I posted because I have been living in a maelstrom of moving from Boca Raton, FL to Oviedo, Fl. Packing up, moving, and unpacking have been my 24/7 purpose these last four weeks. Moving is organized chaos at best, but add the fact that it’s been 29 years since we last moved and I am that much older; my brain hurts from keeping track of the myriad of details and my body hurts from the long hours of packing and unpacking.
However, throughout this self-inflicted turmoil there have been angels who have come along side us to help us.
I walk the familiar streets of my neighborhood knowing there are precious few days left. I reminisce about block parties, impromptu neighbor visits under the shade of an oak tree enjoying a beer or a glass of wine after yard work, children playing basketball in the street, triumphs and losses. As I walk, I meet well familiar faces and stop to say a few last words, pet their dogs and feel the ache of a sore heart. I am already missing them.
“He who learns must suffer and even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart. In our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God” – Aeschylus, The father of Greek tragedy
I’m having a conversation with my friend. I tell her how happy I am for her in her recent move. That I know she behind all the troubles she has had. Her new place will give her the freedom from the physical, familial, and emotional pain she has withstood for so long.
I remind her how much she has given. She was active in the youth group encouraging young souls to trust in the Lord. She stepped in at the last minute on several occasions to serve on an Emmaus Weekend despite struggling with her own physical limitations. Her presence changed lives that weekend. While my friend did not have a great deal of money nor the trappings that society encourages us to procure; she gave more to her church, her neighbors and the waitress struggling to make ends meet than those with millions of dollars and time to spend.
I share with her how I much I learned from her while she was here. Throughout each adversity, she firmly placed her trust in the Lord. She persevered without complaint, filled with grace, humility, and faith in times when I know I would have turned angry, bitter, and given up. She has been an example of servanthood when despite her pain she continued to be the hands and feet of Christ. She leaves behind many whose lives were changed because she willingly chose to help, love, share and care for those in need.
Lynette passed away Monday, April 3, 2017 but her legacy is in the people she touched with her strength, patience, bravery and love. She left a little bit of herself in each of us. We have big shoes to fill but she has shown us the way. Her strength of faith resonates amongst us and because of her; we will continue to exemplify love, faith, grace and trust in the Lord.
Heaven has gained a beautiful angel who is smiling down on those she loved. While we mourned the inability to be with her, we relish the memories, and rejoice in her new life and home.
Lynette, I am so happy you are free from the confines of a crippling and diseased body and from the chains of this earthly life. Your spirit can truly fly and I know you are dancing in the arms of Jesus.
You are missed, but not forgotten, Lynette. Rest easy my friend.
Living with Dying
I’ve had a lot of time to think about dying. I experienced death at the early age of 5 with the loss of my first dog, then at 11 with my dad’s passing. Then there was my mom’s ten year battle with breast cancer, my husband’s two battles with cancer, my own breast cancer, and heart disease and our daughters fight with an eating disorder.
Sounds like Maxwell Klinger in the TV show MASH.
Colonel Henry Blake (pulling out Klinger’s file): Here we go. Father dying, right?
Klinger: Yes, sir.
Henry (going through letters in Klinger’s file): Father dying, last year. Mother dying, last year. Mother and father dying. Mother, father and older sister dying. Mother dying and older sister pregnant. Older sister dying and mother pregnant. Younger sister pregnant and older sister dying. Here’s an oldie but a goodie: half of the family dying, other half pregnant. (puts file down) Klinger aren’t you ashamed of yourself?
Klinger: Yes sir. I don’t deserve to be in the Army.
When did a nice catholic girl educated in parochial schools start cursing?
I believe it began after raising a child, being a caregiver for multiple family members, nine surgeries, and 62,000 miles on the body odometer. This realization came during a conversation with my son-in-love where I wanted to make sure he was okay with his in-laws moving 2 miles away from him. His response was both sweet and sour.
“We are all really excited about your move and look forward to having you spend more time with the grandchildren but I worry about your “potty mouth”.
Well, shut my mouth!
Besides feeling knee high to a grasshopper, I realized I had moved from being the light and salt of the earth as God calls us to be; to just being salty and not savory.
It was then that I decided to give up my “potty mouth” for Lent, for my grandchildren as well as for myself. Besides, I only use those words when I became upset, frustrated, or angry so I would work to keep myself calm no matter what.
It proved harder than I thought. To my chagrin, I didn’t realize how much I salt and peppered my daily conversation with these words – even when I’m not upset, frustrated or angry.
To make things worse, it felt as if the devil was doing a happy dance in anticipation of Lent. I was playing right into his hands with my poor speech. He was laughing as he put one problem after another in my path. First the air conditioner was cutting in and out, however, the A/C Company couldn’t figure out why. This went on for several weeks and as we have our home on the market, we prayed that it wouldn’t fail during a showing. Then the garage door spring sprung and it was two days before I could get my car out. When the cold water line bursts at the kitchen sink the night before another open house, I was close to losing it. And that was before the first day of Lent.
On the first of Lent as I prepared to get up out of bed, Thad informed me that the special order water line to repair the kitchen faucet would be delayed another two days. Two more days of schlepping the dishes into the laundry room while trying to keep the floors clean for a possible showing? As I threw the covers aside and bounded out of bed I started the day with “You have got to be (@#$%&*) kidding me!” Horrified by what I just said I caught myself with another salty expletive! Ouch!
It was a difficult day to say the least. I felt like I had failed God before I even started.
But the beauty in this is that God never fails us. He never leaves our side no matter how much of a potty mouth we have. And He tells us how to be the true seasoning in the world.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. (Matthew 5:13 The Message Bible).
Now that’s the salt I want to be for my grandchildren! I want to be the seasoning that brings out the God-flavors. I want my family to see clearly the road to follow by my example and not a garbage truck filled with nastiness.
The first day of Lent was difficult but eye opening, nevertheless each day since has brought awareness. While I sometimes stop and start my sentences like water sputtering from a line that has been turned off for a long time; choosing my words with care has helped to curb my frustration and anger.
Come, Holy Spirit fill my heart,
Come, my Savior, Jesus put your arm around me and your hand over my mouth.
Come Abba Father guide my speech that it may glorify you.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit grant me peace.
The devil may try to wreak havoc but it is the Lord’s strength that is invincible.
Lent gives us the opportunity to face our human condition, open our hearts and understand our Lord a little bit more. How are you preparing for the grace that God offers us at Easter and beyond? Please share so we who are the body of Christ might encourage one another.
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Today I am not writing about overcoming medical adversity; but about loss. For I have lost someone very dear to me.
Heidi came to us having been a puppy mill dog that had been bred 10 times in 5 years. Scared and scarred from abuse, she nevertheless learned how to be potty trained,walk on a leash and most of all that she was loved and that people could be loving. While she didn’t quite understand toys and playing with other dogs, she did enjoy her noon time chew stick and cuddling on the couch between Thad and I. She was to be Thad’s dog but because of her history, she was never very comfortable with him or men in general. She became my side-kick and I adored her.
She was with us for 9 years and at 14, we had to make the decision that everyone who loves their dog hates to make – continue to fight off the bladder tumors and the congestive heart failure or allow her to go to greener pastures. In the last week eating had become an effort and going outside required a herculean effort and a long nap after. You could hear and see her labored breathing and her coughing told us she was drowning in fluid. But most of all she was trying to live her life for me.
And while making the decision to let her go is causing such pain right now, I know that true loves means letting your loved one go so they no longer suffer. But it’s hard. And because we lost our other senior citizen dog in October, the scab has just been ripped off and the hole feels even larger.
Oh, how it hurts. But it hurt even more to watch how she was suffering.
I can still hear her dog tags clanging and her tiny paws on the tile and wood floors. I still look to make sure there is water in the water bowl even though I have taken it away. I look for her in her bed by the couch and her bed by my desk even as I know those items have gone on to serve those dogs in need. I long to just rub her satin ears and warm belly.
I miss how she would get in her little bed by my desk and “Doxie-power” my blog. I loved how she followed me where ever I went and even sat in the bathroom while I showered or did my business. OK, that was a bit annoying, mildly creepy and smacks of voyeurism but now it seems cute. I loved how she waited patiently until I finished my bowl of cereal or yogurt or whatever and then gave me the death stare till I let her lick it out.
I miss how she would join us in bed at 5:30 am to crawl under the covers for some “big bed time”. I even miss how one mini dachshund could take up so much space that two of us were hugging the edge of the mattress.
I remember when she chewed on the computer cable lines and we wondered why the printer wasn’t working (It’s amazing she didn’t get electrocuted).
Or how when she was excited and happy she would get on our bed and run around in circles, sometimes narrowly miss falling off the bed. One time she was doing this and ran full throttle into my hand causing her to be stunned for a moment or two (with a “what did you do that for?” look) and sending me to the walk in clinic for a sprain.
How she never quite overcame her fear of Thad -“Shrek” but would only walk around the entire block if he was along as her “bodyguard”
How excited she always was when we came home from being out and how the house felt more like a home because of her.
The silence is deafening.
I could mourn her and wallow in what I have lost. Or I can choose to live with the memories to see them as gifts of time spent together. I choose the memories – the wonderful, funny, wacky, sometimes frustrating and challenging times that would never have happened if she had not been a part of our lives.
I truly believe that one day, when the good Lord says its time, I will join Heidi and all the dogs and cats we have loved and have loved us; welcoming me “home”. For this, to me, would be Heaven.
And it is this thought that gives me comfort: that I will see her again. And she will be well. And so will I.