Searching

Poetry and other random thoughts from a wandering mind and a searching heart!


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When joy and sorrow collide.


I don’t’ remember another time in my life when extreme joy and profound sadness occupied my heart and soul simultaneously with such intensity.  I have known my share of grief in life.  My first experience with the death of someone I cared about came in my teens.  As the years have passed and I have lost other people in my life to death, I find that grief seems to multiply and that each new reason to grieve seems to resurrect all the others.

This time my grief is because I lost a friend, someone very dear to me. But death did not claim this friend.  The relationship ended for the reason many relationships end, the evil one, Satan, found a way to use his lies to destroy what was once a loving, caring, fun friendship. Because we were not only friends, but sisters in Christ, I believed this one would last forever.  The friendship had survived so many ups and downs across better than a decade and a half.  The pain I feel has no words I know how to express and my heart is broken. Right now it feels like it will hurt forever.

At the same time I approach a new freedom, a dream come true, a totally new adventure.  I will retire at the end of this year and I am filled with such joy, such peace, such hope.  I count down the days and as the time gets closer my excitement grows.  I find myself giddy over the prospect of no longer having to work.

If all of that were not enough I am experiencing God’s transforming power in ways that are filling me with awe.  I feel God’s presence and power working in me, guiding, providing.  I truly believe that my best years are yet to come.  I know that he has a purpose and a plan for my life and I wait with great anticipation to discover what it is.

There are moments when my heart is filled with joy and wonder.  In those moments I cannot keep from smiling and my eyes shine bright with the excitement I feel.  There are other moments when my heart is heavy with grief and sorrow.  At those times I cannot keep the tears from falling and it feels like my heart will never be able to withstand the depth of this pain.  But what has left me in awe of this God, this creator of mine, is that there are moments when my heart holds both in equal measure, when I feel both the depth of sorrow and the height of joy and I cannot figure out whether to laugh or cry. I do not understand how that can happen but it leaves me in awe of the one who created me.  I know that both of those emotions are real.  I know that he catches every tear I cry.  I know that he already knows what the future holds and I know He is in control.

So I embrace the pain as I embrace the joy. I give thanks for all He is doing in my world and I face the future with hope. For the first time in my life the past is not a chain and the future looks bright. But I still miss my friend.

joy and sorrow


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Enjoy or Endure


The holidays are here.  What emotion does that evoke for you?

I confess that I have a love/hate relationship with this time of the year.  When I was a child Christmas was a magical time.   Most of my fond memories of childhood are of Christmas.   It was the only time of the year that my whole family came together.  We all lived in the same small town, but it took the celebration of Christmas to bring us all together.  For several days family was in and out, food was eaten and gifts opened.   As a child I loved all of it but it took becoming an adult and the benefit of hindsight for me to realize it was the family coming together that had been what was really important to me.

I won’t pretend that all of those “family events” were peaceful, that we all got along, that everyone minded their manners….but still somehow it was just important to me that we were together.  I waited all year for those few days.   On Christmas Eve my anticipation and excitement reached higher than the stars and I was dressed and ready hours before the first person would arrive, standing at the door, waiting.   No matter what bad thing happened, or what argument marred the joy of the moment, somehow my memories were always of it being a special time.

My father died when I was 19 and the family slowly fell apart.  He was the glue that held us together.  The once magical Christmases ceased to exist and so began my battle with the holidays.   There is still so much I love about this time of the year.  I start playing Christmas music long before it is politically correct to do so and in my good years I put up as many as 5 trees.  The lights bring a joyful peace to me and I am positively ridiculous about matching tree ornaments with wall color.  And then of course wrapping paper and ribbons have to match the tree they reside under.   I find great joy in buying gifts for the people I love, in baking and sharing food, in humble attempts to share with those who have less than I do, in the wonder and delight of children, in the laughter and warmth and beauty of the season.   There is so much to love about this season when love is in the air.

There is also so much I hate about the holidays.   I hate the feeling of not belonging, the loneliness, the not having a good answer to the question “what are you doing for the holidays? I hate the empty tree on Christmas morning and the pain and sadness that always come with the joy and laughter.   And so there is the battle between finding such joy in this season and trying to endure the other emotions.

I know I am not alone with this struggle and so my challenge to all of us is to look around you as we enter into this season of celebration.   If you are with friends and family, embrace those moments, be present and patient and engaged.  Value the time you have, even with the people that may not be your favorite family member.    Look around you and be aware of those who do not have strong family ties, those who may be in need or those who may be far away from their families this holiday season.  Some are fighting life threatening illness, others may be going through the first holiday since losing a significant person in their life.   When God puts one of these people in your path, ask Him how you can help, how you can make this season a little brighter for them, how He might use you to bring joy to them even in the midst of all your busy and joyous holiday preparation and celebrating.

The truth is that this is the season of love.  We celebrate because someone loved us enough to send His son, born of a virgin, to be our savior.  And while historically this is probably not the right time of year for the birth of Jesus, it is the time the world has chosen to celebrate His birth.  For this period of time in our year, the focus is on Jesus, the baby born in a manager.   What an opportunity for us to share our faith, to talk to those who might not otherwise listen and to show the love He has shown us, to reach out and be love to those who might be hurting.    In all our shopping, decorating, cooking and being together let us remember to reflect the one who gave us the greatest gift of all….Life and a home with Him forever!

May your travels be safe, your visits be loving and your joy be full!