Thursday, January 17, 2013

A life lived well.

What we are called to?
This weekend, on Saturday,
my Great-Aunt Marion passed from this earth.
She was 99 years old.
I remember when my grandmother passed, at the age of 92,
many well-intentioned folks made mention that 92 years was
"at least a long, full life."
The thing is,
it's just never long enough.
92 years is not long enough when you have to say goodbye to a
grandmother whose soft lips you will never feel give you a kiss again.
It's not long enough when you find yourself having to really focus
and remember the sound of your grandmother's laugh.
It's just never, never long enough.
It's always too soon to say goodbye to a loved one.
There are always things you wish you'd have said,
There are still things you wish you could have learned from them.
Stories you wished you'd have asked them to tell.
Crochet hooks that you long for them to show you to hold.
You know?
Death comes too soon.
God knows.
He knows that for us death is a thief,
coming at an hour unknown and always unwanted.
Jesus experienced the death of the-one-he-loved, Lazarus.
Seeing the grief of Lazarus' family and friends,
He wept.
The God-Man who had come from heaven and was here with us,
on this broken-twisted-grieving-planet:
Immanuel--He wept.
He knew his friend Lazarus was in heaven.
Still, He wept.
He knew that He would raise Lazarus within minutes.
To God's great glory, to prove the Truth of Himself.
Still, He wept.
He wept,
and then He up and raised Lazarus.
A beautiful reminder that there is grief in the mourning of this moment,
but joy in the temporal state of death's earthly goodbye.
Jesus later laid down His life, nailed to a cross.
And ripped the sting right out of death.
In our honor.
Death is now but a waiting.
Sometimes a long waiting.
But I'll take waiting.
I'll take waiting to hear her throw-back-her-head-and-laugh again,
over a forever goodbye grave.

These are not just words I hold to, for comfort.
I am a realist.
I believe that the evidence for Jesus
is astounding.
And if you always have thought Jesus a fairytale,
a "nice story" that the weak hold to,
to explain the profound and the sad ~
I assure you that Christ followers of history are not weak,
but crazy-life-giving-fanatics who died for what they saw.
If you want to weigh the evidence for yourself,
Here's a link to one of my all-time fav podcasts/blogs,
weighing the evidence for this
grave-defeating Jesus.

The Please Convince Me podcast is by a former athiest: 
Jim Wallace.
He thought Christians to be simple minded goofs,
until one day he studied the evidence for Jesus.
And turned his life right inside out.
He is a cold case homicide detective who found the truth of Jesus
to be overhwhelmingly accurate, able to stand trial,
and he started this ministry to
point others toward the truth of Jesus.
He accepts zero donations.
It's all heart, and his own personal donated time.
His ministry is funded entirely by himself and a few friends
who believe in His mission.
He approachs Christ as a cold-case detective, zero fluff.
I love it.

When I read Great-Aunt Marion's obituary, I sobbed like a child.
Huge, water droplets spilling from my face onto the keyboard,
onto my chin.
Onto my sweatshirt.
I was transported to my own death.
To the overwhelming place of overviewing one's own life.
Every minute and hour spent,
and what would be said of the sum total.
Great Aunt Marion married when she was 35.
She had one son, and it filled her with joy.
She poured her life into her family.
Her obituary says that she NEVER raised her voice.
If someone read that in my eulogy, I'm pretty sure that Quinn
would stand straight up in his pew and raise his hand to correct the typo.
I remember my Great Aunt with fondness.
She was always smiling.  Always.
A truly gentle, loving soul.
Smiling, and laughing.
I am thinking about my week,
about my month.
How it has all been covered in laughter.
In smiling.
And I wonder if that laughter runs-in-my-ancestoral-veins?
Laughter covers our homeschool.
Literally, if it does not make us laugh --
we just find a way to learn, that WILL.
We play and laugh our way right through our days.
(and yes, the laughter fades at times, and we fatigue,
but in an overarching way, laughter and joy mark our days
and carry us right through the hard places, and heal us.)
I was at a dinner gathering not long ago,
and the moms were gathered up, chatting.
Suddenly a dear mom just opened her soul and shared:
"I just have been loving time with my kids this week.
I just love being with them.
I love the time that we've spent and I'm thankful."
And I was touched, deep.
Because I feel that, too.
The thankfulness of gathering my kids around me
and doing life with them.
Touched also at how quickly I forget this.
Just that day I had YELLED (in my yelling voice?)
at my husband for not giving me UN-interrupted
workout time without my kids.
The baby was crying, which I could hear during my workout,
and I was distracted and unfocused and angry that
Out of breath, in-a-crank,
I came barrelling up the stairs and just unleashed a nasty sentence
upon my resting husband.
My hard-working, resting husband.
I get tired, I get cranky,
and I forget:  what it IS that I am called to?
Motherhood is the grandest journey of turning one's soul inside out.
Of pouring out.
How quickly I forget the joy of it.
Forget to laugh.
I get mySELF right up in front and am blinded by MEaness.
And then I am asking forgiveness,
and tucking it around healing laughter.
Hoping and praying that the laughter
outweighs all my shortcomings.
Smothers my lack of mother-nice.
Thankful that God's mercies are new every morning MINUTE.
I am blessed by those who have gone before me,
who have done this "life" thing well.
My Great-Aunt Marion's life-story is tucked securely
in the back of my Bible.
Her picture there, smiling still.
The words "her husband won the prize for best wife,"
reverberating in my soul.
A reminder of what I aspire to.
A reminder not to chasten the little laugh lines that creep
up in the laughter places upon my face.
But to welcome them as time-worn marks of
a life lived smiling, in laughter.
A reminder that I am not called to "perfection,"
but to aspire after holiness.
That maybe God gave us laughter,
knowing we would need a glorious blanket
to cover our shortcomings with.
A reminder that this Bible book holds my map.
Pour in more of you, Jesus?
And empty me right out.

In honor of a great lady, Great Aunt Marion.
I invite you to read her obituary, it will warm you on this chilly January morn!
Her spirit will be missed here.

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