Last weekend I went to see old friends who have walked with me through thick and thin for over 20 years. We drove around through the countryside surrounding their rural home and just enjoyed looking at creeks that were overflowing and ancient churches that dotted the countryside. I went to bed in their guestroom filled with peace and realizing I had not been sad for an entire day. Giant step.
The next morning I got up early to drive to Fort Worth to see D's oldest daughter. She is in seminary and interning at an Episcopal church there. The metroplex had been slammed with ten inches of snow. To my delight, the roads were clear but the yards were still full of that white stuff we don't see very often in my part of Texas. The liturgical service was unfamiliar to me with my Baptist background, but so full of the Spirit that it was beautiful and rich. And I heard God speak to my heart, just a few words: "Stop being so hard on yourself." Words I pondered the entire drive home, following a wonderful birthday lunch with H.
On the three hour drive home, I think I shed many layers of my grief. I realized that I continue to think and over think the road cancer took us down for seven years. And I realized that I blame myself for a lot of things that don't really belong to me. I remembered the verse, "This then is how we know that we belong to the Truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence: whenever our hearts condemn us, for God is GREATER than our hearts." (I John 3:19-20) Time to just stop that endless looping of mental condemnation. But, Lord, what do I replace it with? The words of Philippians 1:3 "I thank God everytime I remember you." And those nagging, condemning thoughts? They've become joyfully happy ones this week. Freedom.
Monday was President's Day; a school holiday. I've gotten in the habit of making an early morning list of 3 things to do that day. This serves two purposes: I don't feel overwhelmed, and I can actually see progress by the end of the day. A great accomplishment for one who has had mashed potatoes for brains over the past 7 months. Monday's list: Pay bills. Pick up kitchen. HAVE FUN. Fun? You mean the thing that never makes the list because there are too many things ahead of it? You betcha. Went shopping, saw a movie, ate out and thoroughly enjoyed my own company and newly sweet memories of D.
Heard from Married Daughter in Pennsylvania: the snow continues, but she loves her new home. I'm going there for Spring Break and can't wait. She lives only minutes from D's brother and sister, and in a wonderful turn of events H will be there at the same time. We'll all have a little reunion in D's hometown; a place I've never been before.
Heard from Young Son: he and his girlfriend met me at a coffeehouse (they don't do Starbucks and The Man) so I could give her a birthday gift. Just love listening to those two dream about their futures. So brave and so open to where life will take them.
Met with two precious girlfriends afterschool on Wednesday (we do Starbucks and The Man) to celebrate M's birthday and 35 years of friendship. We're talking about a trip to the coast together this summer...
A great week, right? But wait, there's more. After D died, I found an envelope of money that with a note that told me to use it for a trip to Italy. I've saved it and pondered it, and decided I want to go to Ireland. One of the ladies I teach with lived in Ireland for years, and Thursday we bought our tickets for a 9 day trip to the Emerald Isle the week after school is out!
I got an email from my Quality Friend Connie that our last installment for our New York City trip in April is now due. What? I haven't mentioned that? We are going to be chaperones for a choir trip taken by a school I used to teach at. The high schoolers going were formerly in my kindergarten class. I love watching children grow up well in the Lord and cannot wait to spend time with the older versions. In New York City, no less.
Facebook reconnected me with several members of my college sorority; three who live very near. The four of us are meeting in the bustling metropolis of McGregor (down the road from Crawford) for lunch at a local cafe. I've dug out all the pictures of our younger selves, and cannot wait to find where the road of life has led them all.
But, before I leave this morning? I am getting J and his crew set up to repaint the den, dining room and kitchen, and to finish staining the newly built bookcases and finished trim work.
Sometimes, we just let the waters of life flow past us. In reflecting on this week, I feel like refreshing waters have rolled over me in a cleansing way. Here's to new beginnings.