Thursday, May 31, 2012

Seeing Clearly

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
I Corinthians 13:12

I can't think of a time when this particular verse has been more real to me.  There are so many unanswered questions and there isn't any definitive answers this side of heaven.  Why did things happen the way they did?  Why is there so much sickness and disease? Why is there even such a thing as cancer?

Sure, I know the pat answers..  and it pretty much all boils down to Adam and Eve and a sly snake with some fresh fruit...  but there are times when that is simply not a good enough answer.  

Why?  It's the unanswerable question.  Anyone who has ever spent any time around a 3 year old can attest that there is no running out of the WHY.  For every answer to every WHY there is yet another WHY.   Sometimes even punctuated with a BUT WHY? 

Cheryl Pruitt Salem experienced the unthinkable.  She lost her daughter to a brain tumor.  I heard her speak after that and she said something that stuck with me.  I think of it often these days.  She said she went through her season of WHY?  And realized that every answer God could give her could be followed up with another WHY.  And soon she realized that even if God spelled it out for her, explained all that His plan was doing in her, in her family, in people she had never met...  even in her little girl who was enjoying Heaven... even if God gave her every detail and she saw clearly...  That answer would still not be good enough.  "But God, why??  Surely you could have found another way to accomplish all of that?"

I'm like Cheryl.  I cannot think of a good enough reason for Mom to not be with me, with us right now.  So I am left with the choice to trust Him.  Because I can't see.  As that scripture says, I can only see a part.  

Speaking of seeing, Daddy is seeing a little more clearly tonight.  Even if he is sporting quite the new age pirate eye patch.  We joke that he had a Cadillac removed from his eye today.. and as dense as his cataract was, that might not be too far from the truth.  

Even this afternoon, just a few hours after the surgery, and only able to peak out of the little holes in his eye patch, he was already amazed at how much bluer the sky was.  He was seeing a little more clearly.  As the days go on, I think he will be even more surprised at how much better he will see.  And more to the point, how little he WAS seeing... thinking he was seeing it all.

I read a quote by Johnny Depp tonight..  and although he probably isn't my go to philosopher, I did like this one:  

You can close your eye's to the things you don't want to see, but you can't close your heart to the things you don't want to feel.

And this afternoon, I could tell that even as Daddy was seeing things more clearly, his heart was feeling things a little more clearly too.

He was missing mom.  He had just had surgery and her absence was all the more noticeable.  

She would have been rushing around taking such good care of him.  She would have been filling out all the paperwork and asking all the right questions of the doctors and nurses.  She would have made him the perfect comfort food.  

But then again, she was sick.  She was the one that needed to be taken care of.  

Two or three times this afternoon..  Daddy would miss her.  Then he would realize that cancer had stolen so much from her, that she couldn't do what she would have wanted to do for him.  And then he would come to the painful realization that she was in a much better place, complete and whole and coaching us kids on what to do to make everything almost as good as she would have done it.    

He was seeing a little clearer.. but hurting a little more.  What ended up being best for her.. what delivered her from the pain of cancer, delivered all of us into a mess of pain that we are still working through.  

BUT, there is more to that scripture...  it says that we shall see face to face.  (Mom is now seeing face to face now.  She knows all the WHY's and she gets it....  To tell the truth, I think God had already shown her while she was still with us.. which is why she was so peaceful.)  It also says that we only know in part right now.  We only see a small piece of the puzzle.  We are basically looking through the holes in  daddy's snazzy white and silver eye patch.  We can't see the whole picture but we try to fill in the blanks as best we can.  Sometimes, most times, we are wrong..  But we keep trying.

And here's the good part...

Even though we only know a part right now...  when we are face to face we will know fully...  We will know everything there is to know.  We won't have to ask God all those questions we keep saying we are going to ask when we get to Heaven because We. Will. Just. Know.   And how will we know?  

We will know fully...  just like He fully knows us now.  He knows everything about us.  He knows how many hairs on our heads.  He knows what we can handle.   He knows us more completely than our parents, than our spouse..  He. Knows. Us.  is what I'm saying.  

I find that so comforting. Even as God had a plan for Mom, He also has a plan for me.. for Daddy, for my brothers, for her sisters, for her grandkids..  And he knows each of us better than we even know ourselves..  And He will work good in all situations..  Even in this most terrible and unbearable of situations.

We just can't see it yet...   maybe because we all have Cadillacs in our eyes. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rooster Days and Funnel Cake Tenacity

Mother's Day was certainly different this year.  But everything is different.  That's the new normal.

But this Mother's Day was exceptionally different.   This Mother's Day, we took my dad to Rooster Days.

For those that don't know, Rooster Days is festival that began in our little small town in the early 30's.  The idea at that time was to have a place for all the poultry farmers to come and sell their roosters.  This ensured that they had more unfertilized eggs, which kept longer and were more valuable.  On the first Rooster Day, two tons of Roosters were sold!  (Now, the only question I have is if all the poultry farmers were wanting to get rid of their excess roosters, WHO was actually buying the roosters!?)

Anyway, over time, Rooster Day turned into a fair of sorts, with rides, games, arts and crafts, live music.. even a beauty pageant... Miss Chick.  And of course, food!  Rooster Days is a veritable cornucopia of fried foods planted firmly on sticks.  This year I saw CheeseCake on a stick!  However, the main draw for my family is the funnel cake!  More on the funnel cake later....

Another interesting tidbit of information, which makes our Mother's Day activities seem so ironic, is that I've always firmly held the belief that my dad hates the fair, and all other fair-like events.  Rooster Day certainly qualifies as fair-like. 

Many years ago when I was just a little girl in elementary school, my dad had made plans to come and pick me up one warm fall afternoon and take me to the County Fair.  But as I stood on the sidewalk outside of the school, it was my mom who arrived to pick me up.. not my dad.  My mom explained that Daddy had been injured playing football and had to have knee surgery.  And even as I saw the worry in her eyes (my mom had turned worrying into an art form.. but that is another post altogether) I was positive that he had injured himself on purpose so that he would not have to take me to the fair.  Yes, I truly thought the world revolved around me and I wasn't afraid to be irrational about it.

And yet, all these years later, my dad actually WANTED to go to Rooster Days.  To be fair, it is THE EVENT in this small town and he has never been.  He is a relatively recent transplant from the big city next door, so I guess before he can call himself a true citizen, he must go through this right of passage.

So we set off to Rooster Days with visions of corn dogs and lemonade dancing in our heads.  We consumed the food on a stick and then ordered the funnel cake.   We were told it would be a few minutes because they make it fresh to order.  Daddy went and found a table near the bandstand and I waited on the funnel cake.

It was a lovely day!  It wasn't too crowded, lines weren't terribly long and the music was pretty good!  And the funnel cake..  Oh, my!  It was delightful!

And it was at this point that I made a realization...

Eating a hot, fresh out of the oil. funnel cake requires quite a bit of tenacity.  There is no waiting until the cake cools off..  that would be silly.  There is searing pain as you  burn off your fingerprints grabbing the powder dusted confection!  There is the awkward face as you simultaneously chew while opening your mouth attempting to let the heat escape.  And it's not just pain..  there is mess too!  Powdered sugar is everywhere.  Shirt, pants, chin, hair, the lady at the next table.  Between wincing in pain as you pinch a piece of cake, to chewing, mouth all agape attempting to blow on your food in reverse, to being covered with a fine white powder..  all appearances are thrown out the window.  You don't care what you look like.. you are singularly focused on enjoying your funnel cake and you will never give up.. you will never surrender.

If only I had that same tenacity about, oh I don't know... cleaning, or dieting, or even on some days.. just getting out of bed.  The past few months have shown me how painful life can be.. and how messy it can be.  And all too often, it just gets too hard.  But if I could only approach it as I did that funnel cake.  Pain - No Matter!  Mess - Who cares!  There is something greater than the pain and the mess, something better on the other side of the pain and mess.

Admittedly, the funnel cake has an immediate payoff, so there's that.  Sometimes, the reason for enduring pain and mess isn't so obvious, but I know it's there.

This is the kind of thing I used to talk to mom about.  I would find life lessons in random objects and she would listen to me, saying "I never thought of it that way before."    But she certainly lived this one.  Pain and Mess.  She endured with such grace, and her payoff is that now she is with her Healer.

And I can't help but wonder if there is funnel cake in Heaven.

Of this I am certain.. there are no lines.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

My world changed on December 16, 2011. Permanently. It began changing earlier - in October - as my boys and I were taking a stroll down Main Street. I paused right outside the Main Street Tavern to answer a call from Daddy. He wanted to let me know that he had taken Mom to the Emergency Room because she wasn't feeling well. Mom wanted to assure me it probably wasn't any big deal and the only reason he had called was because Mom and I had plans to go shopping that afternoon. 

 As it turned out, it was a big deal and Mom and I never did get to take that shopping trip. 

Diagnosed with a second cancer diagnosis, (She had fought Multiple Myeloma a few years earlier) she fought for a bit, but was ultimately at peace that her victory was to come a different way this time. 

 She was completely and totally healed and resting in the arms of her Savior on the evening of December 16th. And there are no words to adequately state how much she is missed. 

I spent the last 40-mumble years of my life telling my mom everything. If anything happened that was any degree of interesting I would call her. And let's be honest, sometimes I would call to talk about things that had no interest value at all. I just loved to talk to her. Now, it seems that desire to call her is pure instinct. My hand reaches for the phone, before my brain can even reason that she is not there to answer. This happens daily. 

After experiencing this "instinct" a few hundred times, I got an idea... an inspiration from her.

You see, she loved my writing. She was always encouraging me to write more, and I always told her I would.. so I am. 

When something happens that I feel like I need to tell my mom about, this blog will be my outlet. 

When something happens that my mom would have been proud of, this blog will be my brag.  

When I remember something about my mom that I do not want to forget again, this blog will be the rock that keeps the memory mist from flying away. 

But fear not.. this blog is not going to be a sad, outpouring of daily grief. No way. This blog will be a joyful look back and a hopeful look forward. 

It's a Mommy blog with a twist. 

I invite you to join me on this journey and comment and share your own memories, or leave messages for your mom, or other loved one you can't reach my phone anymore. 

I have a feeling Mom will see and she will relay all messages. 

I  am counting on it because this is the only way I have to tell her Happy Mother's Day! 

Happy Mother's Day, Momma! I love you!