Thursday, April 26, 2012
Monday, December 12, 2011
“Saying goodbye, why is it sad? Makes us remember the good times we’ve had.” - from The Muppets Take Manhattan
This month seems to be a month of saying goodbye. Already, I’ve had to say goodbye to two of my closest friends as they have moved away. And on Friday, I’ll say goodbye to another.
These aren’t just basic friends. These are people who have touched my life in a deep, sweet way. In fact, it seems shallow to call them friends – they aren’t friends any more. They’re family.
These are the friends that have been there for all of the big moments of my adulthood. We all had children at the same time and we figured out how to raise them (…not kill them) together. These are the friends who visit you in the hospital when you have a baby, come to all of your kids’ birthday parties (even when the Cowboys are playing), help you stay sane when your kid is up all night for weeks and celebrate every silly milestone you have as a parent.
These are the friends who study the Bible with you, pray with you, encourage you with the truth of Scripture and hold you accountable (even in messy, painful situations). They point you to Jesus – over and over again.
These are the friends who walk through the most painful situations of your life with you. They keep your kids for days while your husband is dying in the hospital, cry with you and pray with you in the middle of the night, celebrate all of those awkward and painful “first” holidays and anniversaries with you, sit with you while your child is in surgery, come home early from Christmas with their families when the doctor tells you your son has cancer and celebrate like crazy when the doctor calls back and says a mistake was made – there is no cancer.
These are the friends whose husbands love your family so much they agree to coach your kid’s soccer team, teach your son how to ride a bike, sell your car to protect you from creepy strangers, manage contractors so you don’t get taken advantage of and dress up in silly costumes so a bunch of five-year-old “super heroes” can attack them at a birthday party.
These are the people that God puts in your life to give you a glimpse of what His love for you is like.
This month I have to say goodbye to these special friends. And it is so sad. But with the tears that come with saying goodbye there is also overwhelming gratitude. I am so thankful for each precious moment God allowed me to share with them. I am thankful for how they have taught me and shaped me through all of the good and bad moments we have faced together. And above all, I am thankful that God loves and cares for me so much that He gave me these friends to share life with.
So, we say goodbye. We know that distance may separate bodies but it cannot separate hearts. We trust that God will provide new friends to encourage us and walk with us in this next stage of life. And we say “thank you” for the gift of friendship.
“Somehow I know we’ll meet again. Not sure quite where and I don’t know just when. You’re in my heart, so until then - it’s time for saying goodbye.”
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
My husband was a complex man. Most people only saw the public side of him: the preacher, counselor, church planter. He was passionate, worked hard and took his calling seriously. But behind that man was the funniest, sweetest man I have ever met. He made life fun. He was that guy you pull up next to who is singing to the radio at the top of his lungs. He was the guy who loved cheesy kid movies like Sky High and Because of Winn Dixie. He never failed to make me laugh – every single day. He enjoyed life and he showed me how to enjoy life.
Barry was also a man of habit. He liked certain things certain ways. One thing he was very particular about was the soap he used. He only used bar soap. No liquid soap. And it had to be Irish Spring. The good thing about bar soap is that it lasts a long time. A very long time … But every so often a beautiful thing would occur. Barry called it “New Soap Day.” It was the day you got to throw away that little cracked sliver of old soap and open a new box of Irish Spring. It was a glorious day. It did not matter what was happening that day – no matter how stressful or painful. Everything was going to be okay because it was new soap day. It sounds silly, but new soap day made him happy. He delighted in it. And it made me happy, because it was fun to watch him enjoy new soap day.
A couple of months ago, I came to an interesting realization. In the last 16 months, I have learned a lot in this new life I live. In regards to learning to walk in the land of the living (Psalm 116:9), I feel like I have done well. I’ve learned to manage our household and our family. I’ve taken big steps. God has been faithful and generous. But I realized that I have forgotten something vitally important. I have forgotten how to have fun. How to be playful. How to laugh – really laugh. And in talking through this with a friend, she asked me what I found delight in. Guess what? I didn’t really have an answer.
Don’t misunderstand. I am content. I am joyful. In fact, I think I have experienced a contentment and joy that most people don’t ever experience. Walking through the darkest of circumstances can show you how bright and good life really is in Jesus. But being content and joyful are different from having fun. And while fun is fleeting, the Bible tells us that God created us for delight. He wants us to enjoy life. He wants us to experience pleasure. He is the creator and giver of those things. And while suffering and grief are a part of life, they are not the only part. They don’t overtake everything. I can still have fun. I can still be silly. I can still laugh so hard I cry. So, while I have temporarily forgotten how to have fun, I am on a quest to relearn the art.
So, here’s to finding my equivalent to “New Soap Day.” To finding delight in the little things. To enjoying the life that God has given me – not surviving it, but really enjoying it. What God has given is so good – may my attitude and actions reflect it.