Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Message To My Sister

Tonight we went to our favorite local theatre and watched "The Sound of Music."  

First time in several years...
Considering my youngest daughters had the script and songs memorized by the time they were four years old, this fact catches me by surprise.

To be honest, this bit of information isn't of any monumental value...
What does makes it significant is that it's Memorial Day and we just learned that our brother-in-law, Steve, surrendered in his battle to cancer. 

Both my Southern Gentleman and I were crushed...especially for Lynn, Steve's bride and my Southern Gentleman's sister.  

To lose the man of your dreams, the one who gave your life back to you, who filled your days and nights with adventure and excitement, who brought a fullness to your family...who was your very heart and soul.  

For just a moment, I tried to imagine life without my Southern Gentleman...and as my heart relented to the possibility, I felt–for just a split second–a twinge into the depth of undoing that undoubtedly was buffeting my dear sister-in-law's mind, body, and soul.

So here we were, watching a movie about hope, dreams longed for, dreams fulfilled, dreams lost, and new beginnings.

I couldn't get my mind off Lynn, even in the midst of this musical memoir.  Interrupting my thoughts, these lyrics began floating from the screen down into the audience and into my heart...


"Climb every mountain,
Search high and low,
Follow every highway,
Every path you know.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
'Till you find your dream.

A dream that will need
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life
For as long as you live...."


All I could think about was that her dreams were designed with Steve right there by her side–being her knight in shining armor while flashing that contagious smile which always reassured her and made her laugh–and the realization that those dreams built a lifetime of memories. He was indeed her dream fulfilled.

"A dream that will need
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life,
For as long as you live."

I couldn't get those words out of my head, and I knew there must be something more there than just words.

...One day.
There will come a day.  

She will be able to dream again, and she will be able to dare to create a new dream.  

One that will require all the love she has burning inside to share.  
One that will consume her days with the same passion she once felt~~
And it will make her smile again.
And it will give her reason to live fully again. 

And you know what?  Steve will be the one pushing her on, leading her into a new calling~~a merging of the past into the present to create a new future~~one in which she will thrive once again.

Until that day, my heart will break for her as she searches for how life without Steve is supposed to unfold...as she struggles to create something new while clinging to the old, and she mourns what was with the reality of what is, daring to dream of what could be.

My prayer is that we will be able to walk alongside her as she navigates the ocean of changes and that we will be able to lavish so much love on her that she will remember what it means to have her a cup overflow... 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Diamonds from Deep Desperate Desires

Having a transparent moment. 

There are 41 and counting ladies signed up for m2m--largest count since we began. It's been a long and hard road at times & it's not about the number, but it's what He is doing in the heart of these precious moms that gets me.

Girls, they get it, just like us, 20 years ago. In their eyes I see us & it brings me to my knees every time. They are desperately digging for Him, a place to belong and sweet friendships that last in joy & tears. Just like us! My heart is overwhelmed & I have the biggest lump in my throat. The moms are bringing 1-2-3 friends. I'm blown away by these sweet moms--they are on fire and my heart overflows.

Just trying to stay out of His way & let Him have His way, the only way!

Sorry, didn't mean to rant but really needed to share my deepest heart and joy. I'm humbled by His grace right now. Praying I can keep it together on Wednesday when I speak.

I know you'd understand without judgment. I do this every first day, ugh...enough already!

Love you!
Mindy"

The text came through earlier in the day, but it wasn't until evening before i had a chance to read it...and i just wept.  Her words swept over me sending me into a river of remembrance that indeed was so long ago.

We had heard about  a teacher who used scripture as a foundation to teach mommies how to be better.
There were five of us.
We all had babies.
I was the oldest.
The bible study teacher had teenagers.
So did i.

Lord knows I needed to learn how to do this thing better. With 14 years between my teens and my babies, I knew I was failing miserably.

The first day we sat down in the pew together and pulled out our notebooks and pens, I knew God had drawn me here for such a time as this.

Tears tried to sneak out past my eyelids more than a thousand times in that one hour for the next ten years. Each time i left, I was walking just a little bit lighter.  I knew that I'd found my hope again and that I could do this thing~~and not just survive, but thrive.  And those 4 kindred spirits surrounding me were walking it out with me~~all with one hope:  we could be Godly mommas and there was a "reality" that we could learn how to "train up a child in the way he should go...[so that] he would not depart from it." 

Our hearts desire.

How did i respond?  With sheer, utter delight to confirm my friend, my sister in the faith:
"Ohmygoodnessgraciousalive!!!  My heart just melted all over the floor with the memories that just welled up and boiled over!  Oh the gifts of the heart!  Oh the joy of the Lord! Oh the sweetness of kindred spirits given directly from the Hand of God to move us from yesterday through today and into tomorrow!
Thank you my sista for sharing your heart and taking us to those alters of remembrance! I love y'all!"
Friends are just another reason my cup overflows! 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Vintage Highway

It is the beginning of Fall; and like the struggle of Summer giving way to a new season, I find the same tug-of-war in letting go of "motherhood."

Maybe that is what is spurring on this state of melancholy recollections.

I returned to the workforce in April~~It started as a simple box office job in an old renovated theatre...but not just any theatre~~The Franklin Theatre~~an old movie house reclaimed by the local preservation foundation and brought back to, and beyond, its former glory.  It now boasts an $8.1 new wardrobe and hosts concerts, live theatre, comedians, fundraisers, community events, as well as movies. It's pretty obvious, I very much enjoy working here, and my days are filled with much variety and opportunities. Taking the position was a bold move on my part, for many reasons. The one that stands out most is the passing of motherhood as I once knew it and stepping out into the unknown by myself.

One of the privileges of this job is being able to have my "office" in the box office, which looks out over downtown Franklin's Main Street...its quaint ambience gives an air of vintage times; and on warm days like today, the bustling of people takes me on my own memory walk.

It's in those days, that I fall into this state of melancholy recollections.  As I watch people of all ages and stages walk by, it's like watching my life~~past, present, and future~~walk back and forth in front of me.

Today, there was a very pregnant lady strolling, and it took me back to my pregnancies.  Then my thoughts took a path right down my own vintage highway...the realization that I will never be pregnant again, and there's no chance of me becoming pregnant again...that i'll never have a growing child inside of me, reminding me of the life inside of me with its kicks, flutters, and hiccups...that I will never nurse again, never look at my child for the first time and wonder and marvel and the miracle of life that came from me.

There was also the plethora of women with strollers out for morning walks with their friends...Oh my! How my girls loved to be outside and go!  They collected things...rocks, frogs, worms, shiny items...you name it, and it was a new treasure.  And the many heartfelt conversations with those friends, not only about our daily "momness" but spiritual~~the growth we were experiencing as believers and how God was using our roles as mommies to grow us in His word, His truth, and His life and His relationship with us.  And it dawned on me, I never took note of the very last time I took Hannah and Rebeka strolling, knowing this would be the last time for that daily ritual.

Or how about the many times the young women jet past on their morning run, and there was never the thought in my mind that "this will be the last time I am able to finish this 5 mile trek" before the disease stole away my physical abilities.

Last week, a young couple walked past, then stopped and asked if there were any tickets left for the performance~~and bought them at the last minute!  I remembered a time when Keith and I would spontaneously do things like that.

All these things are remembrances of everyday life that we never stop, while we are in the midst of that moment, to consider that we may never pass this way again.  The strange thing is that I DID indeed cherish those moments with Hannah and Rebeka much more than with Jessica and Melanie, experiencing first-hand how fleeting that time slips through the fingers.  Yet, here I stand with the first job I've had in twenty years, and my cup still overflows!